2013 Florida State Seminoles Football Predictions: BCS and ACC Betting Odds: It has been a long road back for the Florida State football program, but the Seminoles took a big step toward becoming a national power once again with their performance last season. FSU defeated division rival Clemson in a 49-37 shootout, and although a one-point loss to North Carolina State and late collapse against Florida would prevent the Seminoles form playing for a national title, they did reach the ACC title game and defeat Georgia Tech to secure a berth in the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles demolished BCS buster Northern Illinois in the bowl game, finishing the year with a 12-2 record. The next step for Florida State is sustaining success, and the Seminoles will get their first chance to prove they are going to remain a legitimate force in the upcoming 2013 college football season.
The Good News:
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s dedication to building a powerful ground game paid off last year, and the Florida State rushing attack should be even better in 2013. Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. give the backfield the classic thunder and lightning combination, and more importantly, four starters are back for an offensive line that has emerged as one of the most physical and most talented in the country. Throw in an arsenal of fast, athletic receivers and a reliable tight end in Nick O’Leary, and there is no shortage of playmakers for the Seminoles’ offense. On the defensive side of the ball, FSU should enjoy one of the best secondaries in the country with three starters back, including playmaker Lamarcus Joyner. In addition, the Seminoles welcome back former top-rated recruit Mario Edwards Jr. after the defensive end missed last season with an injury. A top-10 recruiting class won’t hurt the cause either.
The Bad News:
Quarterback E.J. Manuel took his talents to the NFL after four excellent seasons under center for the Seminoles. Sure, a highly-touted prospect in Jameis Winston is taking his place, but filling the shoes and replacing the leadership of a QB that went 4-0 in bowl games won’t be easy. Meanwhile, FSU lost a lot of starters for a defense that allowed the seventh-fewest points in the country and the second-fewest yards per game. Of the four starters back for the unit, only one is from the front seven and not a single starter is back on the defensive line. As good as the secondary remains, it would be even better if star corner Xavier Rhodes hadn’t jumped to the NFL. Last but not least, the Seminoles lose kicker Dustin Hopkins. If Florida State finds itself in a close game, the All-American could certainly be missed.
Despite losing Manuel, the Seminoles bring back enough other pieces to have a strong year. Florida State’s ground game alone should make the offense potent, and it’s not like they are replacing Manuel with a walk-on. Keep in mind that Winston was the top-rated dual-threat QB in his high school class. Meanwhile, the Seminoles also replenish their losses on the defensive side with plenty of talented players, and three of the new starters in the front seven are seniors that have seen plenty of game action in reserve roles. Granted, the schedule isn’t ideal with Florida State’s tough games against Clemson and Florida both being on the road, but the Seminoles’ stacked secondary matches up well against the Tigers’ passing attack. Breaking in a new QB will likely cause an unexpected bump in the road, but FSU can get the better of Clemson yet again and should have a chance to defend their ACC title.
Prediction: 10-2, ACC Atlantic Division Champions
Preseason Vegas Odds for Florida State’s 2013 College Football Team:
Florida State’s 2013 Odds to Win BCS Championship: +2000
Florida State’s 2013 Odds to Win ACC Championship: +250
Florida State’s 2013 Odds to Win ACC Atlantic Division: -120
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