College Football Preseason Top 25: #25 Florida State
Our annual countdown of the best teams in NCAA College Football begins in Tallahassee with a look at the FSU Seminoles.
The Seminoles will break in 2012 gently with two games against FCS schools as Murray State and Savannah State come to Doak for glorified scrimmages. ACC play starts off with a bang however as Florida State faces a tough home test against Wake Forest before taking on defending conference champions Clemson. The schedule eases off for the next few weeks before the annual grudge match with Miami. The season, as it so often does for the Noles, ends with some big challenges as a road game at Virginia Tech and a home match-up with Florida await in November.
In terms of returning personnel the Seminoles are simply loaded. With 18 returning starters, 9 each on offense and defense, the Noles have the bodies to make a big impact in 2012. The pressure is on senior quarterback E.J. Manuel to finally deliver on his unquestionable athletic potential this season. With four of his starting offensive line back and a familiar corps in the skill positions, Manuel should have the chemistry required to make an impact this season. The one worry is the offensive line’s failure in previous seasons to open up significant holes, despite a wealth of experience working together. On defense, College Football betting fans will want to keep an eye on defensive end Brandon Jenkins and safety LaMarcus Joyner, both of whom promise much this season. Coach Jimbo Fisher will expect a lot of leadership from his defensive line, which is stacked with veteran upper-classmen.
Talent is not the reason FSU barely made the cut for this year’s Top 25. A history of underperformance is to blame for that. Year in and year out, bettors and writers are convinced that the Noles are finally back. They have signed some fantastic classes over this current barren stretch yet none of these have blossomed into contenders. Coach Fisher knows he has a lot of doubters to win over. After reaching the ACC title game in 2010, last season proved to be a big step back for Florida State. Now, with a veteran-laden line-up, this FSU team must prove it is up to the challenge. On paper the Seminoles have a Top 10 team. We’ll have to wait and see if they can deliver more than an 8-4 regular season.