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January 8, 2014

Can Florida State stay on top?

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says winning the national championship was the culmination of a four-year process that began when he replaced Bobby Bowden as the head of the program in 2010. The next challenge is to sustain that success.

Fisher now finds himself in Bowden’s old shoes where titles will be expected from a passionate fan base. Florida State beat Auburn 34-31 Monday night to win its first crown since 1999.

“You’ve got to go back to ground zero and you can’t worry about expectations,” Fisher said Tuesday. “That’s the thing, once expectations get so high, is to not let complacency set in.”

“It’s human nature, you take winning for granted. You take success for granted,” he said.

A quick glance at the roster shows why Florida State (14-0) will enter 2014 as the favorite.

The Seminoles return Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston for his sophomore season and lose just three senior offensive starters. Florida State must replace four senior defensive starters and Fisher said he thinks there are up to three underclassmen who have decisions to make about a possible move to the NFL.

“The future is bright,” freshman cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “We know what it takes now. We know how it feels. We don’t be disappointed next year from not being here.

“We want to make this thing a dynasty. Florida State is back to where it should always be.”

That senior class was Fisher’s first as head coach and was the cornerstone of the new foundation. The 2011 class, however, was widely considered the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and one of the best in school history. Then there’s the 2012 class that includes Winston, another handful of starters and more young talent that had to wait their turn.

This was not an old team that will need to replace starters all over the field.

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