I’m going to be straight with you, Florida State wasn’t good last year. This wasn’t a Notre Dame 4-8 situation where they were “better than the record indicated” (which you could probably say about the 2017 team that went 5-6 before scheduling ULM to make a bowl and drawing Southern Miss as their bowl opponent), this was a legitimate 5-7 quality team that struggled with Samford. After winning nine or more games from 2010-2016, they staggered to 7-6 in 2017, lost their head coach, and then fell further to 5-7. I don’t think that’s a reflection on Willie Taggart, who I like. Pretty much everyone is back from last year’s team and they brought in a quality recruiting class, so this team should take a massive step forward in 2018, probably one of the biggest in the country.
OC Mike Bell left to become head coach at UMass, which might’ve been a good thing all things considered. His offense last year was FSU’s worst I’ve ever seen for the ‘Noles. Now, to be fair, a lot of that was due to the talent left for him and some brutal injuries to an already weak offensive line, but I like the new OC (at least on the field) a lot, Kendal Briles, who was most recently OC at Houston, FAU, and most famously Baylor under his father.
RB Cam Akers was a guy that disappointed me a little bit last year. Now, he was still great (over 1K yards, 5.3 yards a carry), but he was so highly touted I expected even more. He’s back, as is 2017’s starter at QB, James Blackman, who was really solid as a true freshman before injuries bit him last year. Alex Hornibrook (47 touchdowns in three years at Wisconsin) and Louisville transfer Jordan Travis come in to challenge for the starting job.
Six of the top seven pass-catchers from last year return in a group led by deep threat Tamorrion Terry (744 yards, 21.3 YPC, eight touchdowns), and the line, which was awful last year, gets a reboot with a lot of the guys that were injured last year back and some interesting freshmen and JUCOs. This offense will take a huge step forward assuming they avoid last year’s injury bug.
The defense was really young last year but put in a solid year. Brian Burns is off to the NFL, but they do bring back one absolute beast on the line in five-star tackle Marvin Wilson. Cory Durden should step up in the middle after a productive year as a backup.
Fontavious Jackson and Hasmah Nasirildeen are back as outside linebackers, and junior Emmit Rice or freshman Jaleel McRae will man the middle.
The secondary is one of the most talented in the country, all four starters were incredibly highly rated recruits, and that’s not mentioning incredible sophomore corner AJ Lytton. I feel really solid about this defense, which is loaded with four and five stars, and they should improve from last season’s good year.
The schedule is tough with Boise State and Florida away from home in the non-conference. Florida State is projected to jump from 72nd all the way back into the top-35, but with Virginia and Miami as your Coastal opponents, the tough games that come with playing in the Atlantic, and the mentioned tough non-con that might only be enough for seven regular season wins, but the talent is of course there to potentially surge past expectations.
|Date||Opponent||opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|31-Aug||vs. Boise State (jacksonville, fl)||32||-0.5|
|19-Oct||at Wake Forest||55||-0.2|
|9-Nov||at Boston College||64||1.0|
Average Projected Record: 6.7 wins, 5.3 losses (4.2 wins, 3.8 losses)