Smoke Signals

As expected, <b>Florida State </b> remained in national title contention Monday when the Seminoles were ranked No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. The difference between last week's standings, however, was at the No. 2 slot, where <b>Southern Cal </b> replaced the <b>Miami Hurricanes </b> behind top-ranked <b>Oklahoma. </b> UM fell to fourth behind FSU following its defeat at Virginia Tech Saturday night.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden, whose Seminoles (8-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) began preparations for Saturday's pivotal road game at struggling Clemson (5-4, 3-3 ACC), says he's not worried about the BCS shuffle.

"There's no telling how it will shift the next three games for everybody," Bowden said following Monday night's practice.

"There will be some more upsets somewhere. Somebody will get upset. All we all can do is try to take care of business and that's to get ready for the game that's immediately ahead of you. … we just have to play as hard as we can and try to win the next ballgame and go from there. It's going to be very intriguing this year, whatever happens. I know this -- we can't start thinking ahead."

Of course, family ties take on greater meaning Saturday when Bobby Bowden squares off against son Tommy, the head coach at Clemson who has come under fire for the Tigers' struggles. Wake Forest pounded the Tigers 45-17 last Saturday.

A win against his dad would greatly improve Tommy Bowden's job security at Clemson, but the Seminoles remain in the national title hunt.

"Looking at Clemson, you watch them play Virginia and they look about as good as anybody. Then you watch them play Georgia Tech -- they really beat the heck out of Georgia Tech and we struggled for the whole game," Bowden said.

"And they've kind of played good and bad, good and bad. It's time for good probably. I imagine we will catch the same intensity that we caught in ‘99 when we went up there with our undefeated football team and had to fight our for lives. What jumps out at me is I know what we are in for and we must get that message across to our players.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Terry Bowden, a studio analyst for ABC, has oft-repeated that he doesn't believe FSU can win a national championship -- this season or next -- with Chris Rix at quarterback.

Younger brother Jeff Bowden, the Seminoles' offensive coordinator, disagrees.

"I think he's wrong personally," Jeff Bowden said.

"That (comment) sells. It gets viewers. His ratings drop too much he's out of a job. So, you say things that draw attention. He has his opinion. I don't agree with it. We are not out of this one yet. If, we get in it then we have to win it. We will prove it. If we don't, we'll give it a shot next year."

NOT A BIG DEAL

Tailback Lorenzo Booker, who selected the Seminoles over Notre Dame, thought historic Notre Dame Stadium and Irish fans would be a tad more vocal.

"You could feel it wasn't your ordinary college football stadium but we kind of made it seem like that real quick," Booker said and smiled.

"To tell you the truth, it wasn't as loud as I thought it would be. I thought Virginia was louder, North Carolina louder. That was probably quietest place on the road I think we've played at other than Duke."

HONORS

Leroy Smith was named the ACC's Defensive Back of the Week following his performance at Notre Dame. Smith made his second start of the season and had a 90-yard interception for a touchdown in the Seminoles' 37-0 win . Smith, from Quincy, Fla., finished with two tackles (one solo), two pass break-ups and a third down stop.

INJURIES

Kendyll Pope returned to practice and is cleared to play against Clemson after missing the past two games with a right knee sprain.

QUICK HITTERS

FSU is currently second in the nation in scoring defense (10.8), 12th in total defense (284.7 ypg) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (92.5).

The Seminole defense leads the ACC in total defense, scoring defense and turnovers forced (25).Clemson has the nation's 21st rated passing offense (280.3) and the 20th rated passing defense (187.4 ypg).

This will be the 17th meeting between FSU and Clemson.

FSU has won 11 in a row since joining the ACC in 1992 and leads the all-time series 14-2. The last win for the Tigers came in 1989 when the Seminoles fell to Clemson 34-23. The Seminoles have never lost in Clemson, but there have been many tight ball games. Since 1992 there have been three games decided by a touchdown or less played in the series at Clemson.

Florida State defeated the Tigers last season by a score of 48-31 as Greg Jones scored three touchdowns while rushing for 165 yards on 22 carries. Wake Forest running back Tarence Williams ran for 149 yards on 19 carries to lead all rushers.

THE SPORTS AUTHORITIES

For FSU fans living in Tally, our radio show Tuesday -- The Sports Authorities, WTAL 1450 AM) -- will feature these guests -- llinebackers coach Kevin Steele, linebacker A.J. Nicholson and reserve quarterback Wyatt Sexton. The show, which airs from 1 to 2 p.m., is co-hosted by Steve Ellis of the Tallahassee Democrat and Jim Henry of TheTerritory.org.


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