|1. Can the ‘Noles exorcise their Winston-Salem demons?|
The ‘Noles are have lost four the last seven to Wake Forest.
As crazy as it may sound considering that Florida State is 24-6-1 all time against Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons have won four of the last seven meetings in this series that dates back to 1956.
Included in those four victories are triumphs by Wake Forest in two of FSU’s last three trips to BB&T Field. Needless to say, the Seminoles — despite being No. 2 in the nation and in the hunt for a national championship — are well aware that taking Wake Forest lightly will derail their season.
"That’s the biggest thing, just remember what it felt like; remember that we came from this and learned from this," Telvin Smith said. "Don’t repeat that. We learned from our history. That’s what I feel this team has done the best job of, is learning and moving on."
|2. Will FSU get caught up in the national-championship chatter?|
The eyes of college football were on Palo Alto, Calif. Thursday night when No. 5 Stanford upset No. 3 Oregon. Despite taking place clear across the country, the Cardinal’s victory over the Ducks had a direct connection to the ‘Noles, who are now clearly in the driver’s seat on the quest to a potential national championship berth.
The Seminoles are now in position to win the remainder of their games and punch their ticket to Pasadena.
Despite the increased implications of each contest, though, FSU’s players are continuing to focus one game at a time.
"We not even worried about that," Telvin Smith said. "We taking it one game at a time and trying to be as consistent as possible and going out to practice making sure that happens."
A win Saturday afternoon would lock up the Atlantic Division title for the ‘Noles in the ACC, meaning FSU would five more games before reaching the title contest.
|3. Will the ‘Noles have the same success following an emotional win?|
Winston and the ‘Noles are focused on moving past the Miami win.
FSU has already shown an ability this season to find victory against a team that had recently caused them heartberak when they blasted NC State last month.
Like that game against the Wolfpack, Florida State is coming off a top-10 win over a rival (the Seminoles beat NC State a week after beating Clemson). To keep their national championship chances alive, the ‘Noles will need the same outcome this Saturday.
In order to do that, the Seminoles have to move past the triumph over the Hurricanes — a contest that was viewed by the college football world and a school-record 84,409 fans at Doak Campbell Stadium — and be focused on beating Wake Forest in a small stadium without much fanfare.
“Our mindset is the same every week," Winston said. "We’re going to prepare the same. We’re going to practice the same and hopefully be better as the week goes on. It’s just going to be the same week for us.”
|4. Will the Seminoles continue to take the football away in pairs?|
Ronald Darby has been part of the takeover party in recent weeks.
Florida State has been extremely opportunistic on defense of late, displaying a sustained ability to cause turnovers.
Not only have the Seminoles been taking the football away from opponents consistently, they’ve been doing it more than once per game.
Consider this: In each of the last three games — wins over Clemson, NC State and Miami — Florida State defenders have registered at least two turnovers. Against the Tigers, it was Lamarcus Joyner and Ronald Darby. A week later, it was Terrence Brooks and Darby again. Then, last week against the ‘Canes, P.J. Williams got in on the action along with true freshman Nate Andrews.
The playmaking ability of FSU’s defense is nothing to scoff at. A season ago, the Seminoles had 11 interceptions in 14 games. With six games likely still to play in 2013, the ‘Noles already have 12 interceptions.
"We wanted to do a better job of getting takeways coming into the year," Williams said. "And we have done that. We just have to keep focused and making plays when we can."