The Seminoles domination in the late 80's and throughout the 90's is a distant memory. The swagger is no longer there. The Heisman hopefuls and overpowering All-Americans are no longer being coached to their fullest potential. Talented recruits as non-qualifiers have been detrimental to the program. I'm sure rumors of dissension within the coaching staff has been hindering the players from breaking out on the field. Arrests. Alleged cheating. Bowden's looming retirement. The list goes on and on as to why this program has fallen from grace.
Bowden is still the Head Coach and he needs to step up and take charge before it all crumbles away. Jimbo can have his say when it's his turn. In the meantime, it's Bowden's squad and that's a scary thought considering most feel the game has passed him by. With Defensive Coordinator, Mickey Andrews publicly stating that this very well may be his last season, Bobby may follow.
And Bowden may have to follow because Florida State's schedule is rough...
Florida State opens the season and rekindles a Labor Day rivalry game against the hated Hurricanes. This game is more of a measuring point for the 'Canes who're breaking in a new offense and defense. The Seminoles have the home field advantage and return a very talented and athletic offensive line that paved some huge holes for then senior Antone Smith and Jermaine Thomas in last season's match-up. The 'Noles will most likely want to establish the run and wear down Miami's physical defensive tackles. The Seminoles defensive front four are undersized and may get pushed around. I expect plenty of blitzing packages out of the defense to harass UM sophomore QB Jacory Harris, who'll be solidified as the Miami starter by September 7th. This game will be just as boring as the last 3, so I anticipate a low scoring, defensive slug fest. If the 'Canes establish the run and protect Harris, it'll be a long night for the 'Noles. Florida State has to get ballsy and try for the deep ball when the 'Canes stuff nine in the box. FSU wins a nail biter.
The 'Noles have to play a game five days later against Jacksonville State. FSU has struggled in these short week games after Labor Day in the past. They cannot come out flat and wake up in the 4th quarter. They need to smash them early and get back-ups precious playing time.
@BYU and South Florida are both intriguing match-ups. BYU will have the home field and will challenge FSU's suspect secondary early and often. The 'Noles love to rush the passer hard, so I fully expect some draw plays that'll be massive gainers. I don't like FSU in this one.
USF will be coming to Tallahassee fired-up to play some hard-nosed football against their in-state rival. It's the 1st time these two teams will meet and the 'Noles need to be careful. Remember what USF did to Auburn, in their house, a few years ago?
I think the 'Noles get by a Boston College team who's rebuilding. Florida State is 2 and 0 at BC. And FSU will be looking to get revenge on a Georgia Tech team that took college football by surprise a season ago. 'Nole fans remember the ending to last season's game very well and I promise you so will the players.
@North Carolina will be a giant game for FSU. It'll be a prime time, Thursday night game against 2 of the better teams in the ACC this season. FSU struggles on Thursday night's, but they have a bye week prior to this game, which will help them tremendously. The Tar Heels will come out strong and I think they have an excellent shot at upsetting the Seminoles. Butch Davis is familiar with FSU's defensive schemes and I'm sure he'll exploit them.
North Carolina State, @Clemson, @Wake Forest, and Maryland close out their ACC schedule. The 'Noles absolutely have to win all four of these games, but recently the boys in garnet and gold stumble with teams they're supposed to beat.
The Seminoles finish the season at Gainesville to play the Gators who have owned them in the past 5 meetings. Anything can happen in a rivalry, but Tebow won't lose his final game in Ben Hill. Expect the Seminoles to come out very hard and try their best to upset the Gators.
My upset prediction: Other than Florida, none of these should be upsets. The 'Noles will most likely be favored in everyone of these games.
My team to potentially upset the 'Noles: Take your pick. Miami, @UNC, @Wake, and @Clemson are all viable candidates.
Player to watch for: Jermaine Thomas. This young running back has speed and elusiveness. He quietly rushed for 7 yards a pop last season.
Player who'll shock you: S Jamie Robinson. This senior made the switch from corner to safety, but not without it's bumps. He played extremely well at the end of last season.
Jacksonville State- W
South Florida- W
@Boston College- W
Georgia Tech- W
@North Carolina- L
North Carolina State- W
@Wake Forest- W
8-4 and FSU will most likely represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game. This team is still a ways away, but they're making progress.
The Gators will be my final prediction (I may do Michigan for my boy Sean)...