Great ACC Preview: Florida State from Chad Floyd

05 Aug 2009

From Chad Floyd at Road to Tampa Bay: UNC Football Blog

Coach: Bobby Bowden (34th year at Florida State, 351-117-4 overall)

Stadium: Doak Campbell, 82,300 (Grass)

Wins: Miami, Jacksonville State, South Florida, at Boston College, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, at Wake Forest, Maryland

Losses: at BYU, at North Carolina, at Clemson, Florida

Record: 8-4 (6-2 ACC; Atlantic Division Champions)

Bowl Projection: Chick-Fil-A (ACC #2)

Schedule Overview: I’ll say this: The Noles still aren’t scared to play anyone.  In addition to their annual regular season finale against juggernaut Florida, they play Big East power South Florida and a BYU team that is looking to crash the BCS party in Provo. The Jacksonville State game should be a snoozer, but I don’t see the Noles going better than 2-2 in the out-of-conference.

In conference, they’re done no favors either. While they miss conference favorite Virginia Tech, the other two teams they miss are cellar dwellers Virginia and Duke.  None of their conference games are guaranteed wins either, as most of the tougher teams come to Tallahassee and the Noles haven’t played particularly well on the road recently.  I’d say a win against Maryland at home seems pretty certain, but none of the other games would be considered locks.

Outlook: The Seminoles have struggled this decade, after being THE national power in the 1990’s.  Good news is on the horizon, however. Christian Ponder is the first quarterback since the Chris Weinke era in whom the coaches seem confident.  The staff, finally, has had a couple of seasons without much turnover, and that continuity could really benefit the Seminoles this year.  Legal trouble and injuries have decimated the receiving corps, but I look for Bert Reed to step up and have a big year.  Everyone, myself included, loves the potential of sophomore RB Jermaine Thomas, who averaged 7 yards per carry last year. The offensive line, another much-maligned unit over the 2000’s, is now probably the strongest in the league. It is anchored by preseason All-ACC LG Rodney Hudson and LT Andrew Datko, who was a freshman All-America a season ago.

Defensively, the Noles have some talent departing, including 2nd round draft pick and sack specialist Everette Brown.  Look for Markus White to step up and replace some of Brown’s numbers.  I love their linebacking corps, anchored by preseason All-ACC Dekoda Watson.  Amazingly, even he is being pushed by their depth by (my favorite name in the ACC so far) Mister Alexander.  I also had Nigel Bradham on my All-ACC ballot and I think he’ll have a tremendous year.  They’ll be experienced in the secondary with seniors Patrick & Jamie Robinson and Korey Mangum, and will have great young talent in freshmen A.J. Alexander and Greg Reid.

While the Noles may never reach the status of the 1990’s teams again, I expect this to be a year where they can build towards a top 10 season in 2010.