Substituting has worked, even against the Seminoles' toughest opponents. Excluding Georgia Tech's and Virginia's final possessions against Florida State's scrubs, the Yellow Jackets and the Cavaliers combined to gain 79 yards and commit six turnovers in their second halves against the Seminoles. After halftime in its loss, Florida gained 64 yards, 33 of them on one pass, and turned the ball over twice. None of these teams scored in the second half, enabling Florida State to turn close games into decisive victories.
If defense alone isn't sufficient, the Seminoles can turn to kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who set an Atlantic Coast Conference record with 27 field goals and put about 60% of his kickoffs so deep they couldn't be returned. It seems strange that defense and, of all things, kicking have put Florida State on the verge of winning its second national championship, but it's no stranger than the turn of events that got the Seminoles to the Fiesta Bowl in the first place. "We needed two teams to lose, and two teams lost," says cornerback Mario Edwards, referring to Kansas State and UCLA. "It must be Florida State's time to be national champion. Do you agree?"
Without a shadow of a doubt.