GREENSBORO, N.C. - Jameis Winston smiled, a little wider than he usually does, when he was reminded of the memory of Florida State 51, Clemson 14 during his ACC Football Kickoff media appearance Sunday afternoon.
Winston would go on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead the Seminoles to the national championship, in large part due to his performance the night of Oct. 19 when he silenced Death Valley in an all-top-5 matchup.
"One thing I can compliment myself on that: I got the guys fired up," Winston said of the pregame locker room. "Like, (I) let them know, 'we're better than them.'"
College GameDay, and the nation's eyeballs, had descended upon Clemson, S.C. for No. 3 Clemson's home game against No. 5 Florida State.
"All the hype that everyone gets before a game, people focus on the crowd, people focus on TV and all that stuff," Winston said. "But when those two teams step inside those lines, it comes down to who wants it more? We knew we wanted it."
The Seminoles were 4.5-point favorites entering the game, but Winston apparently didn't want his team viewing it that way.
"Clemson had a great team, with Sammy (Watkins) and Tajh (Boyd)," Winston said. "But we knew that us being the underdogs - we love feeling like we're the underdogs, because it gave us the motivation we needed."
Of course, Florida State steamrolled the rest of their ACC schedule, en route to knocking off Auburn in the 2014 BCS National Championship game, snapping the SEC's seven-year streak of hoisting the crystal ball.
So now, the Seminoles will be the unquestioned preseason No. 1-ranked squad entering 2014. FSU plays Oklahoma State in Dallas Aug. 30, hosts Clemson Sept. 20 and Notre Dame Oct. 18 while traveling to Louisville and Miami and hosting Florida in November.
"Big games, that's what we do. We love big-game atmospheres at Florida State," Winston said. "If you're not prepared to ready to go and step into the battlefield with your brother in the big game, well, you probably won't be seeing the field."