Florida State has been ranked No. 8 by the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Can they finish there?
To answer this question, we need to open up the history books.
It used to be that 10 wins was a good bet to have a team finish eight or better. Bobby Bowden is famous for his streak of 14-straight top-5 finishes and 10-win seasons.
But 10 wins is not what it used to be. 10 wins used to mean going 10-2, a winning percentage of 83. Now, with the advent of the standard 12-game schedule and conference championship games, teams are playing 13 or 14 games. Teams that break into the college football playoff final will play 15.
As expected, the required number of wins has gone up with the amount of games played.
Now, a team hoping to break into the top-8 almost certainly needs to win 11 games.
For Florida State, that would either mean a record of 11-2 (if FSU were to go 10-2 in the regular season, not win the division and win the bowl game), or, more likely, winning the division with a record of 9-3 or 10-2 and getting two cracks to get to 11 with the conference title game and the bowl game.
Las Vegas oddsmakers believe FSU's most likely regular-season record is 9-3, with 10-2 and 8-4 being the next most likely finishes, in order. FSU can get to 11 wins at 9-3, but it would require winning the division.
So it seems more likely than not that Florida State will not finish eight or better, but the odds are not that incredibly stacked against FSU.