BCS: Noles close gap on Alabama

Off the field, it was a dizzying week of distractions for No. 2 Florida State, with quarterback Jameis Winston's potential role in an alleged sexual assault the topic of numerous news stories. On the field, however, Florida State’s claims to a berth in the BCS Championship Game only got stronger.

The Seminoles routed Syracuse 59-3, their second straight win over a conference foe by that identical score. No team in the country has been so emphatically dominant on both sides of the ball (at least 59 points scored and no more than three allowed) in consecutive games since 1988, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Seminoles rank in the top eight nationally in total offense, total defense, scoring offense and scoring defense, and FSU has an average margin of victory in its 10 games of 42 points. Each win has been by at least two touchdowns.

In other words, for all the criticism of Florida State’s mediocre schedule, its performances have been nothing short of spectacular. Accordingly, FSU added two more first-place votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and moved into a tie with Alabama atop the computer averages. Overall, Florida State closed the gap on No. 1 Alabama to a mere .0253 points.

While the Seminoles solidified their position near the top of the BCS standings, Duke crept into the bottom of the Coaches Poll with a win over Miami that has the Blue Devils poised to earn a berth in the ACC title game if they win out. Duke is now ranked for the first time since 1994, but it wasn't enough to crack the top 25 in the BCS standings. In reality, Duke would likely need a win over Florida State in the ACC championship game to have any shot at a BCS bowl, but the Blue Devils have already pulled off their share of surprises this season.

The ACC’s best shot at a second BCS bid comes from No. 7 Clemson, which continues to chug along without a hint of national spotlight. The air came out of the Tigers’ balloon with a midseason loss to FSU, but Clemson is 3-0 since that game (and 9-1 on the season), including last week’s 55-31 win over Georgia Tech. South Carolina looms in the regular-season finale, and a win at home against their in-state rivals would likely punch a ticket to a BCS game for the Tigers.