Joe Giglio Late Hits: Florida State Seminoles still No. 1

Florida State has won all four of its games, including one without its star quarterback, but it has lost 30 first-place votes in The Associated Press Top 25.

The Seminoles still are No. 1, after coming from behind Saturday to win 56-41 at N.C. State, but their voting support is down to 27 first-place votes this week after close calls to Oklahoma State, Clemson and the Wolfpack.

Oregon and Alabama both received 13 first-place votes this week. Oklahoma, the team that really is the best in the country, got seven and is fourth in the media poll.

Alabama, which didn’t play Saturday and has had its own problems this season, actually jumped Florida State in the coaches’ poll, although the Seminoles still have the most first-place votes (26) in that poll.

Since 1936, in one way or another, the polls have determined the national champion – or in some years, the national champions. With the advent of the College Football Playoff, neither poll will be a factor this season, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see the opinion of the 2013 national champions take a hit.

The Seminoles obviously are not the same team they were a year ago. Pick a stat, any stat really, and you can draw that conclusion. But here’s the thing: As long as Florida State keeps winning, it will be in the four-team playoff bracket.

Coaches can’t afford to look ahead on the schedule, neither can the players, but we can. And here’s Florida State’s next eight games: Wake Forest, at Syracuse, Notre Dame, at Louisville, Virginia, at Miami, Boston College and Florida.

Can you find the loss?

As some of my followers pointed out on Twitter, if quarterback Jameis Winston pulls any more stunts and gets another suspension, there likely will be one. But otherwise, the path is pretty clear for the Noles.

Notre Dame, No. 9 in the AP poll, is the only ranked opponent left on the schedule. The Fighting Irish certainly have a history of big wins and upsets, notably against the best team in Florida State history in 1993, but that game was in South Bend, Ind.

Florida State has some serious questions on the offensive line and in the secondary, but the best news for the Seminoles is they don’t have to play the 2013 version of Florida State; they just have to deal with being compared with them.