Apollo’s College Football Preview Series | #1 the Florida State Seminoles
There is no doubt that the defending champs will start the season #1 in all polls. There’s no doubt that Jameis Winston is the greatest QB in college football (maybe even ever). And there’s really no doubt that FSU will repeat as ACC Champs. The question is: Can Famous Jameis do the impossible by repeating as Heisman winner AND lead the Seminoles to another national championship? Jameis is losing some of his favorite targets to the draft but Florida State returns 8 on a defense that was good enough to stop Auburn’s rushing attack.
Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. are gone and so is the 1800 all purpose yards and 23 touchdowns they produced. Senior RB Karlos Williams is more than ready to take over duties. However, despite Williams’ senior status, it’s going to be hard to keep incoming freshman and former 5* recruit Dalvin Cook off the field. Dalvin is a 5’11 197lb running back with 4.46 speed. Williams and Cook could quickly become a deadly duo. BSC Championship Game hero Kelvin Benjamin took his celebrity status to North Carolina, but Jameis still has his 1st and 4th favorite target returning in Rashad Green and TE Nick O’Leary. Looking to replace Benjamin is another 5* incoming freshman, Ermon Lane. He might not have the side of Kelvin Benjamin or the speed of Rashad Green, but he’s not the 2nd ranked WR recruit for nothing. He’s very strong with great hands as well as possesses the route running skills of an NFL player. He could be another Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin. I’ll give Ermon Lane 5 games before he becomes a household name.
The biggest departure for FSU wasn’t a player but a coach. Former Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt left the Land of Oranges for the Land of Peaches. If you think Pruitt can be easily replaced then think about this. When he was the secondary coach at Alabama, the Crimson Tide had the best secondary in the nation. He leaves for FSU and Alabama’s secondary looked more lost than Christopher Columbus. This is the realization that Jimbo Fisher will face this season.
The schedule is pretty favorable for FSU, but not as easy as it was last year. They start their road to 4 in Jerry Land against the good Big XII foe Oklahoma State. After that game, they can cruise through their schedule. They face Boyd-Watkins less Clemson at home as well as Notre Dame. Their biennial trap game at North Carolina State is earlier in the season this year. They face Louisville in Kentucky, but they will not have Teddy Bridgewater or Charlie Strong. Their toughest games will be against their most hated rivals. The first test is against the heavy favorites to win the ACC Coastal Division, the Miami Hurricanes. Under Al Golden, the ‘Canes have improved their record each year. They will get the pleasure of hosting the Seminoles in their stadium this year. Now that the Heat bandwagon is all but gone, Miamians will gravitate towards the next successful Miami team. I fully expect the stadium to be packed for this game as well as the rematch in the ACC Championship Game. Will Muschamp’s job might be one the line when his Gators travel to the Doak. This Gator team SHOULD…emphasis on SHOULD…be a lot better than they were last year. They return one of the best defenses in the nation. Get through the schedule and they will be a lock for the college football playoffs.
Best Case Scenario: 13-0 and #1 Overall Seed in the college football playoffs.
Realistic Scenario: 12-1 but finish in the top 4 for the college football playoffs.
Worst Case Scenario: 9-4 with an ACC Championship Game lost.