2011-2012 Football Previews – Atlantic Coast Conference – FSU Seminoles
It has been quite a long time since Florida State was the dominant force in the college football landscape, but we could finally be heading for some late 1990s déjà vu.
ACC 2011-12 Football Previews: Florida State Seminoles
Coach: Jimbo Fisher
2010 Record: 10-4
Florida State Gambling Odds from Bodog.com to win BCS: +800
FSU Team Page – Players Stats – Roster – 2011 Schedule –>
Former offensive co-ordinator Fisher was ready to inherit this prestigious post as head FSU man after coaching legend Bobby Bowden was rather nudged out at the end of 2009.
The ’Noles have been banking the talented recruits for some time now; many of these players now have the experience to be difference-makers in big games.
True, FSU loses some notable names to graduation (last year’s starting QB Christian Ponder rings the loudest bell) but there are strong players on both sides of the ball to keep the program surging forward not just in its conference, but in the national title picture as well.
Florida State has an offensive line fueled by three superb seniors, tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders and C David Spurlock. Of the other two projected starters, guard Jacob Fahrenkrug was the second-rated junior college player this season while sophomore Bryan Stork was a Freshman All-American last year.
Clearly, the O-line is in good stead and will be the catalyst for an entirely successful FSU offense.
Pivot E.J. Manuel takes the reins from Ponder, but he has some starting experience and has looked good in some big games. He has the size and the tools to lead a Top 25 team.
There is speed at the running back and wide receiver positions, and K Dustin Hopkins has a huge leg.
Defensively, the ’Noles will be led by beast DE Brandon Jenkins, tackling machine LB Nigel Bradham and the multi-talented CB Greg Reid, who also shines on special teams.
Interestingly, Manuel could be both a strength and a weakness, if only because he’s not Ponder, who was a first-round NFL pick. Granted, Ponder was hurt sporadically during his career, and Manuel stepped in – at most times – admirably.
After Bradham, the linebacker corps is also pretty green, though they do a good job of keeping the cupboard stocked with guys who can fly around the field in Tallahassee.
Bowden and Fisher have done an admirable job over the past few seasons; there are not many glaring weaknesses on this roster.
2011-12 Florida State Football Prediction: 12-2
Especially in a weak ACC, this program is unquestionably turning the corner. A double-digit win season last year merely forecasts more success in 2011. Florida State has a large cluster of players on this year’s roster that should wind up in the NFL.
Fisher also seems to have a firm grasp on this proud program in a key phase of its transformation back to national relevance.
The Seminoles have some tough games on the slate – Oklahoma, at Clemson, Miami and at Florida in The Swamp – but FSU is technically able to win all those and depending how the breaks go, should win the division…at least.
2011 Florida State Seminoles Schedule
9/3/11 3:30 PM ET ULMON
9/10/11 6:00 PM ET CHSOU
9/17/11 12:00 PM ET OKLA
9/24/11 12:00 PM ET @CLEM
10/8/11 12:00 PM ET @WFRST
10/15/11 12:00 PM ET @DUKE
10/22/11 12:00 PM ET MD
10/29/11 12:00 PM ET NCST
11/3/11 8:00 PM ET @BCOLL
11/12/11 12:00 PM ET MIAMI
11/19/11 12:00 PM ET VIRG
11/26/11 12:00 PM ET @FLA