2011 NCAA Football Betting Odds: Florida State Seminoles Preview
Friday, August 19, 2011
by Aengus Moorehead
Vs ACC Atlantic: 4-1
Vs Top 25: 2-2
Short of winning the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, it’s hard to imagine Jimbo Fisher’s first year as the head coach at Florida State going any better than it did. After languishing in the final years of the Bobby Bowden era, Fisher’s team won the ACC Atlantic and blew out both rival Miami and Florida at home. To cap off a successful season, the Florida State Seminoles beat SEC East champion South Carolina to win ten games for the first time since 2003. Fisher then capitalized on the positive momentum from the season and inked what was widely considered to be the nation’s best recruiting class, a class full of players talented enough to contribute right away. Now with 16 starters returning, Fisher hopes to take the next step in restoring Florida State to prominence by winning the ACC and competing for a BCS Championship.
Florida State Seminoles returns eight starters from an adequate offense in 2010. The biggest challenge will be replacing quarterback Christian Ponder, who finished the season one of the more polished quarterbacks in the country, despite battling through a painful injury. Because Ponder missed time with his elbow injury, new starter EJ Manuel got valuable playing time against Virginia Tech and South Carolina. He impressed coaches in the spring with his accuracy and command of the offense and should perform will in Ponder’s place in 2011.
If Manuel lives up to expectations, the Seminoles’ offense should explosive because virtually all of the team’s biggest contributors return. Ty Jones and Chris Thompson make for a dangerous backfield duo as both averaged more than 6 yards per carry in 2010 and combined for more than 1,400 yards rushing. In addition to the running backs, Florida State’s top eight receivers from 2010 return, led by the talented trio of Taiwan Easterling, Bert Reed, and Will Haulstead. The receiving group will be even more dangerous with the addition of 6’6 receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin was one of the more sought after recruits in the nation and won’t be on the sidelines for long.
Whereas the offense has to at least handle the problem of replacing its leader, the Florida State defense has no such challenge. Eight starters return from one of the nation’s most improved defenses in 2010. The ‘Noles allowed 81 fewer yards and 11.4 fewer points per game in 2010, a testament to the aggressive and attacking style implemented by defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. The 2011 version should be even tougher with a dominating defensive line led by juniors Jacobbi McDaniel and Brandon Jenkins.
As strong as the front seven is, the Seminoles are even stronger in the secondary. All four starters return from one of the nation’s best units. Corners Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes form as good a pair of corners as any outside of Alabama. Their coverage skills allow Fisher’s defensive staff to take a lot of chances and bring pressure. Safeties Nick Moody and Shawn Powell are equally adept cover men that also are not afraid to stick their heads in a runner and make a tackle either. In addition to the starters, the Noles signed an impressive group of defensive backs, many of which will provide immediate depth.
The schedule could not set up better for a team looking for marquee wins and an outside shot at a national title. The Seminoles get two tune up games before Oklahoma travels to Tallahassee. They travel to Clemson the following week. After that the Noles have road games at Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College, and then rival Florida to end the season. They get Miami, Maryland, NC State, and Virginia in Tallahassee. The stage is set for a big year for Florida State.
Florida State Seminoles 2011 - 2012 Schedules
|09/10/2011||vs Charleston Southe|
|10/08/2011||at Wake Forest|
|10/29/2011||vs North Carolina St|
|11/03/2011||at Boston College|
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