2012 Florida State Seminoles College Football Expert Predictions, Picks, Vegas Odds and Schedule – FSU College Football Preview: Last year was supposed to be the year that the Florida State Seminoles returned to prominence and reminded everyone that their program used to be the best in college football. Instead, a seemingly endless string of close losses resulted in a 9-4 record and prevented the Seminoles from even having a shot at the ACC title, let alone the national championship. Well, a ton of returning starters and another strong recruiting class has Florida State facing similar expectations for the upcoming college football season. The question is whether or not the Seminoles can forget about last year and actually return to championship form.
Florida State was no stranger to coming up small in crunch time last year. The Seminoles lost four games by a combined 21 points, losing to the Oklahoma Sooners by 10 points and losing three other games by five points or less. On one hand, the stat can be looked at as a sign that Jimbo Fisher’s bunch was just a play or two away from a special season. However, failure to perform when it matters most can become a mental demon. The Seminoles still have to prove they can make those one or two big plays in close games, or they are never going to return to the glory days.
Fortunately for FSU, an elite defense should keep them in every single game again this year. Last season, the Seminoles ranked fourth in the country in points allowed and sixth in yards allowed. The unit was also second only to Alabama when it came to stopping the run, and during the final eight games of the last season, not a single opponent cracked 20 points on the Florida State defense. Opponents won’t want to hear this, but this year’s group might be even better. Defensive end Brandon Jenkins bypassed the NFL to return to school, and he might just be the best edge rusher in the country. He is joined by two other upperclassmen on the defensive front, giving the Seminoles the talent to lead the nation in sacks for the second time in three years. In the secondary, a pair of experienced corners leads a unit that ranked second in the ACC with 16 interceptions.
While the defense is top notch, Florida State’s offense hasn’t always held up its end of the bargain. The offensive front is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, but ultimately, the burden is going to fall on the shoulders of quarterback E.J. Manuel to change the culture. Manuel has plenty of talent, but for whatever reason, he has never put together a strong season from start to finish. Injuries have played a factor, but with plenty of speed and athleticism at his disposal, Manuel is out of excuses. If he has a big year, the Seminoles should have the breakout season they have been waiting for.
Looking at the schedule, there certainly aren’t any games on the schedule where the Seminoles will be overmatched, and getting the defending conference champion Clemson Tigers at home won’t hurt the cause. On the same note, road games against N.C. State, Virginia Tech and the Miami Hurricanes won’t exactly be easy either. Still, there is no national powerhouse waiting on the out-of-conference portion of the schedule like the Sooners were last year. Among the teams with the talent to actually make a run at a perfect season, Florida State may just have the easiest schedule.
In the end, this season will come down to whether or not Manuel and the offense can provide enough support for Jenkins and the defense. Logic alone says that Florida State isn’t likely to lose every close game like it did a year ago. However, the suspect offensive line and inconsistent play of Manuel is going to mean a few more nail biters. In particular, a meeting with the high-powered offense of Clemson and the equally stout defense of the Hokies could prove to be hurdles. It’s not that the Seminoles don’t have the talent and athletes to run the table, but they have repeatedly shown that they don’t have the mental toughness needed to get the job done. Florida State should challenge for both the Atlantic Division title and ACC crown, but there will likely be a couple of hiccups along the way.
Prediction: 10-2, Second Place in ACC Atlantic Division
Preseason 2012 Florida St Seminoles NCAA Football Odds:
Odds to Win 2012 BCS Championship: +1500
Odds to Win 2012 ACC Champonship: -125
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2012 Florida St Seminoles College Football Schedule
Sat, Sep 1 Murray State 6:00 pm —
Sat, Sep 8 Savannah State 6:00 pm —
Sat, Sep 15 Wake Forest 12:00 pm —
Sat, Sep 22 (22) Clemson TBA —
Sat, Sep 29 at South Florida TBA —
Sat, Oct 6 at North Carolina State TBA —
Sat, Oct 13 Boston College TBA —
Sat, Oct 20 at Miami (FL) TBA —
Sat, Oct 27 Duke TBA —
Thu, Nov 8 at (21) Virginia Tech 7:30 pm —
Sat, Nov 17 at Maryland TBA —
Sat, Nov 24 Florida TBA —
Check out NSAwins.com’s official 2012 ACC Football Predictions and Odds article.
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