TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chaos has become the norm at Florida State.
There seems to be constant stream of off-field issues swirling around the Seminoles, who just keep winning games and championships amid the turmoil.
This week is no different. Quarterback Jameis Winston has spent part of the week participating in a university hearing to determine if violated the student code of conduct. The undefeated Seminoles were dropped in the College Football Rankings despite winning their 28th straight game.
Through it all, the Seminoles are preparing to take on No. 11 Georgia Tech in Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference title game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Our team keeps looking forward," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We are achieving, getting better and doing things we have to do."
One thing Fisher did this week was move practice Tuesday to the evening which allowed Winston to participate after five hours at the closed-door student conduct code disciplinary hearing that continued Wednesday. The woman who said Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012 is also participating in the hearing, which is to determine whether Winston violated any or all of four sections of the code of conduct — two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment.
In addition to the hearing this week, the College Playoff committee dropped Florida State — the nation's only major college unbeaten team — to No. 4 on Tuesday. That would set up a matchup with Alabama if the rankings remain intact after all the conference championships are settled this weekend. The Seminoles had already fallen behind Alabama in weekly Top 25 poll announced Sunday.
Fisher questions how winning can be devalued regardless of style points or game control.
"We're turning into figure skaters," he said in reference to the new playoff selection process. "We're judging."
While there seems to be question about Florida State's close victories, Fisher sees the wins as the reigning national champions passing every test they've faced.
The Seminoles were down 21-0 at Louisville and won 42-31, trailed North Carolina State 24-7 and won 56-41, got behind at Miami 16-0 and won 30-26. Archrival Florida took a 9-0 lead last week before the Seminoles prevailed 24-19. Then there were the home wins against Notre Dame and Boston College as time ran out.
"These guys have been able to battle through and achieve," Fisher said. "I want them to understand how tough they really are, how mentally tough they are. How they've been able to overcome a lot of those things. It's hard to go back-to-back seasons undefeated."
They defeated Clemson, now ranked 19th, 23-17 with Winston watching from the sideline as he served a one-game suspension for an obscene outburst on campus. The defense and sophomore backup quarterback Sean Maguire got it done against the Tigers. Maguire passed for 304 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate start.
Florida State has run roughshod over its ACC brethren the last three. Since an early season three-game losing streak in 2011, Florida State has won 45 of 48 games, including 23 in a row in the ACC.
They're need another one Saturday against the Yellow Jackets to get a shot at winning back-to-back national titles.