#7 in our countdown of the top 25 in college football is Florida State. FSU has 18 returning starters from last year’s squad. That’s even after kicking starting safety Greg Reid off the team.
Florida State has a very good defense with Mark Stoops as the defensive coordinator. Last year the Seminoles were one of the nation’s best against the run at a shade over two yards per carry. The Noles defense was showcased a year ago in their game against their arch rival Florida when they won 21-7 despite doing absolutely nothing on offense. All three FSU TDs were set up by the defense intercepting Gator QB John Brantley.
The Seminoles return E. J. Manuel at quarterback. He is probably a better runner than passer still, but he will have some big time targets to throw to with Willie Haulstead, Rodney Smith, Christian Green, Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary. The main question with the Noles offense will be the O-Line.
The schedule is surely not what you’d call a brutal one. The ACC has plenty of cupcakes and the Noles toughest non-conference opponents are South Florida and Florida. There is no reason Florida State should not be one of the favorites to win the ACC.
FSU starts the season with home games against Murray State and Savannah State. Yawn. They will then host Wake Forest who for whatever reason has owned FSU in recent years. A win in this one, and they should win it, will probably give Florida State a big confidence boost. Clemson comes to town the following week followed by their first road game at USF. These are two more teams Florida State has struggled against recently.
They finally play a game outside of Florida in October when they travel to face N.C. State. Then they are back at home against Boston College, at Miami and back home against Duke.
November sees them travel outside of Florida for only the second time when they go to Virginia Tech. Then they go to Maryland and are back home against Florida. So this schedule sets up nicely for FSU to make a National Championship run. What game will they be an underdog? Clemson? Va Tech? Florida? Probably not.
Intertops has Florida State at 2.00 to win the ACC Championship Game. Their nearest competitor is Virginia Tech at 4.00.
I know that we’ve been hearing for about a decade now that Florida State is back. And it would be really easy to stop listening to them “Crying Wolf” again. But this year, with this creampuff schedule and all this returning talent, it may be that it is finally true.