The Florida State Seminoles are coming off a 10-3 campaign in 2015. For most teams that would be considered a success. However, the Seminoles had just gone 27-1 the previous two years.
The small decline was to be expected. FSU had just 11 starters back and lost star quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. Impressively they weren’t far off from a third straight undefeated regular season.
Florida State lost 16-22 on the final play of the game against Georgia Tech. The other loss being a 13-23 defeat at Clemson, which they were tied at 13-13 going into the 4th quarter.
The Seminoles would go on to suffer an embarrassing 24-38 defeat to Houston in the Peach Bowl. However, that loss isn’t keeping experts down on this team going into 2016.
With 17 starters coming back, FSU is being viewed as a legit national title contender. Oddsmakers have their win total set at 10 and they have the 7th best odds to win it all at +1350.
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|9/5||Ole Miss (Orlando)|
|11/5||@ NC State|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
The game everyone will be talking about is the home showdown against Clemson on Oct. 29th. What you have to keep in mind, is that’s just one of several difficult matchups on the slate for 2016.
The Seminoles will get tested right out of the gate in a neutral site clash with SEC power Ole Miss. That’s a scary game for FSU with an inexperienced quarterback. Especially given the Rebels have arguably the best SEC signal caller in Chad Kelly.
They get a breather versus Charleston Southern at home, before a critical 4 game stretch. The biggest being their ACC opener on the road the very next week at Louisville. Not a lot of people are talking about the Cardinals, but they are legit threat to win the Atlantic.
They then have to travel to South Florida, host reigning Coastal champ UNC and go to Miami. All 3 of these games are potential upsets waiting to happen.
They get a easy home game against Wake Forest before their bye leading up to the Clemson Game. After that they have to travel to BC on short rest, before visiting Syracuse. Finally the close out with in-state rival Florida. Not a lot of people are talking about the Gators being a threat, but anything can happen in a rivalry game.
Despite losing Winston, Florida State’s offense only slipped a little bit. They went from averaging 33.7 ppg and 441 ypg in 2014 to 31.7 ppg and 424 ypg. With all 11 starters back for 2016, most are expecting this unit to light up the scoreboard.
While senior Sean Maquire returns at quarterback, he won’t be the opening day starter. Maquire broke a bone in his foot and won’t be back until sometime in December. Florida State has pegged red-shirt freshman Deondre Francois as the new signal caller. Francois was a top 10 recruit at QB out of high school, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. His play could make or break their season.
One thing we can be sure of, is Francois will spend a lot of time handing off to junior running back Davin Cook. After rushing for 1,008 yards as a true freshman, Cook put up 1,691 yards and 19 TD’s as a sophomore. He’s one of the elite backs in the country and a legit Heisman contender.
What’s scary is Cook put up those numbers last year behind an inexperienced o-line. The Seminoles had to replace a staggering 174 career starts from players who departed after the 2014 campaign. This year they get all 5 starters back and are one of the best units in the country. This is also a big positive for Francois and his learning curve.
Florida State also features one of the nationals best receiving corps. All their primary weapons are back, including 3 who had 50+ receptions. They also will be adding in sophomore George Campbell to the mix, who they are very high on.
While they have a lot of talent and 6 starters back, they lost a lot of key pieces on this side of the ball. That includes star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was taken 5th overall in the NFL Draft.
Up front they have to replace tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample and end Giorgio Newberry. However, they are in great shape here. Senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker is an absolute beast. They also have two rising stars in sophomores Derrick Nnadi and Josh Sweat. All signs point to this being one of the elite d-lines in the country.
There are some concerns at linebacker, where they lose their top two players from last year. The Seminoles have all kinds of talent ready to step in, but overall the unit figures to be down slightly.
Not only do they lose Ramsey, but they also have to replace talented safety Lamarcus Brutus. The good news is the two returning starters are both very good. Those being senior corner Marquz White and sophomore safety Derwin James.
Regular Season Win Total
ACC Atlantic Odds
ACC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
There’s no question that FSU is going to be one of the most talented teams in the country this year. It’s certainly not out of the question that they could find themselves back in the playoffs. I just don’t think that will be the case.
Even if they were to beat Clemson at home, I could see them losing at both Louisville and Miami in league play. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they lost the opener to Ole Miss. I’m not saying Francois won’t be good, I just don’t think he’s Winston material. As good as Cook may be, they are going to need great QB play to get through their schedule.
I have them going 7-2 inside the ACC and will give them the benefit of the doubt and say 10-2 overall. Though 9-3 is definitely not out of the question.
Win Total Prediction