#2 Florida State Football 2014 Preview

Florida State Seminoles

Overall Rank: #2
#1 ACC

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Last year was perfect in so many ways for the Florida State Seminoles. Coach Jimbo Fisher and company put together a season for the ages. For all intents and purposes, they were not even challenged all season until the national championship game. Scoring 50+ per game while allowing an average of just 12 will do that. With the return of Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida State will have as good of a chance as any team in the country to win the first ever College Football Playoff and repeat as national champs in doing so.

2013 Record: 14-0, 8-0
2013 Bowl: BCS National Championship vs. Auburn (W 34-31)
Coach: Jimbo Fisher (45-10 at Florida State, 45-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Lawrence Dawsey, Randy Sanders
Defensive Coordinator: Charles Kelly

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Karlos Williams, RB, 730 yards
Passing: Jameis Winston, QB, 4057 yards
Receiving: Rashad Greene, WR, 1128 yards
Tackles: Terrance Smith, LB, 59
Sacks: Mario Edwards Jr., DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Nate Andrews, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: TE Nick O'Leary, OL Cameron Erving, OL Bobby Hart, OL Josue Matias, DB P.J. Williams

Key Losses: QB Jacob Coker, RB Devonta Freeman, RB James Wilder, WR Kelvin Benjamin, WR Kenny Shaw, DL Timmy Jernigan, LB Tevin Smith, LB Christian Jones, DB Lamarcus Joyner, DB Terrence Brooks

Jameis Winston returns to Tallahassee on the back of a 4000-yard season. In a 16-game NFL season, 4,000 yards used to be historic. Now, it’s happening in shortened college seasons as well. Part of the reason for Winston's prolific performance was the skill around him. Florida State boasted one of the best pure offenses in the entire country, no matter the metric. Of course, for all the talk of Famous Jameis, this team's defense was so stout all season long. They posted an unreal point differential and great turnover margin. The pass defense and scoring defense were the best in the country. Although FSU has lost a number of contributors on all these units in the offseason, they reload like no one else outside the SEC. Devonta Freeman is gone in the offensive backfield, but Karlos Williams steps in. Kelvin Benjamin left for the pros, but Rashad Greene actually produced more a season ago anyway. Jernigan, Jones, Smith, Joyner and others are all gone from that defense, but Mario Edwards, Terrance Smith and others are primed for increased roles with the help of many underclassmen.

Having replacements and talented backups to step in for departed stars is one thing. Having them all perform up to the level of those guys last season is another. FSU inarguably lost a ton of talent and experience this summer. That may come into play. The other areas of concern for this team are minor, but should be addressed. The offensive line allowed too many sacks. Cameron Erving's return should help solidify what will be an experienced group. The punting game struggled in all facets: coverage, return, blocking, etc. That needs to be buttoned up, as do the penalties. The Seminoles had too many flags thrown against them and can't afford to give yardage away in a season where they are trying to pull a repeat.

The Bottom Line:
Florida State's schedule this season, like last season, is pretty shallow. This is not entirely its fault as the ACC is down as a conference outside of the Noles. FSU will play host in arguably its three toughest games this season, against Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida. They won't play any preseason ranked opponents on the road all year. They won't play North Carolina period. With such a cupcake slate, any loss would be devastating. This team will need to win out to have a shot at a playoff berth. Fortunately, it seems rather likely that scenario plays out. The Seminoles will be heavy favorites in every game they play this regular season.

Projected Bowl: Sugar Bowl (College Football Playoff)

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.1 (28th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 315.9 (14, 2)
Total Offense: 519.1 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 51.6 (2, 1)
Rushing Defense: 124.8 (18, 3)
Pass Defense: 156.6 (1, 1)
Total Defense: 281.4 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 12.1 (1, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.21 (3, 1)
Sacks: 2.50 (30, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.36 (88, 10)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#15 Jameis Winston
#16 Cameron Erving
#27 Nick O'Leary
#33 Tre Jackson
#42 Karlos Williams
#44 Mario Edwards
#45 P.J. Williams
#49 Ronald Darby
#59 Rashad Greene

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#16 Dalvin Cook
#25 Ermon Lane
#46 Lorenzo Featherston
#62 Travis Rudolph
#68 Kain Daub
#85 Derrick Nnadi
#122 Roderick Johnson
#133 Jacob Pugh
#142 Demarcus Christmas
#163 Delvin Purifoy
#200 Trey Marshall


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