Florida State Seminoles
Last season was a supposed rebuilding year for Florida State and they had a somewhat “down year” with only 10 wins and an appearance in the Peach Bowl. With more experience returning than Clemson, especially on the defensive side, the Seminoles are in position to take back the ACC as they get to host the Tigers this year. Before we get there, FSU still has to decide on its starting quarterback.
Sean Maguire (59.3% completion, 11 TDs, 6 INTs) has the experience on this offense, but he missed spring practices and the guys coming in looked more than worthy of winning the job over him. Deondre Francois and Malik Henry both lit up the spring Game and either one could see time under center this year. This competition will be on Jimbo Fisher’s mind up until the first Game. It wouldn’t be surprising if Maguire wasn’t the starter come their Game against Ole Miss.
There’s less doubt at running back where Heisman contender Dalvin Cook (1,691 yards, 19 TDs) looks to build on what he did last year. He got shoulder surgery in the spring so his health is of importance, as his backup Mario Pender was dismissed from the team in the spring. Jacques Patrick is next in line if Cook can’t stay healthy. The receivers will be plenty good as well with all starters back in Travis Rudolph (916 yards, 7 TDs), Kermit Whitfield (798 yards, 6 TDs) and Bobo Wilson (622 yards, 3 TDs). And the biggest news in the spring is the breakout of Auden Tate, who many have compared to Kelvin Benjamin because of his size. If that’s the case, this group will be dominant.
The offensive line battled injuries in the spring so there was a lot of position battles early on, but all of their starters from last year’s group are back so it shouldn’t be a major problem. They have tons of options to work with.
The defense has a few more questions, although nothing that truly stands out. Linebacker was going to be an issue with a couple guys gone, but Ro’Derrick Hoskins has been a beast in the spring and it’s looking like he’ll be one of the better players on the defense. They lose playmaker Jalen Ramsey, but the Seminoles have plenty of depth to work with. DeMarcus Walker is an all-Conference performer on the end while Marquez White has plenty of experience at corner. They have depth, they just need some guys to step up.
Florida State will have to test its quarterback question early with a neutral-site Game against Ole Miss. Winning that Game would automatically put them on a path to the ACC title Game and College Football Playoff. But even with a home Game against Clemson, their ACC slate isn’t the easiest as they draw UNC and Miami out of the Coastal division. A road contest at Louisville to open Conference play won’t be easy either.
But at the end of the day, if the Seminoles can get better and more consistent play out of their quarterbacks, this will be their Conference to lose. The Game against Clemson could easily decide who wins the ACC and makes the College Football Playoff.
2016 Florida State Seminoles Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Ole Miss (Orland Citrus Bowl Stadium)
Sept. 10 vs. Charleston Southern
Sept. 17 at Louisville
Sept. 24 at South Florida
Oct. 1 vs. North Carolina
Oct. 8 at Miami (FL)
Oct. 15 vs. Wake Forest
Oct. 29 vs. Clemson
Nov. 5 at NC State
Nov. 11 vs. Boston College
Nov. 19 at Syracuse
Nov. 26 vs. Florida