Florida State has been so consistently frustrating recently that you can describe them just by using their name. Florida State: to have ridiculous amounts of talent, but to throw it away by losing a game you have no business losing. They could patent the concept.
The good news this year — at least from some perspective — is that there are plenty of ready-made excuses for this team this year if they again fail to meet expectations. QB E.J. Manuel is gone to the NFL. Six of nine assistants were lost to other teams in the offseason. They lose four starters on the defensive line, including two high draft picks. There are a lot of things that could trip the squad up.
Free $60 in Member College Football Picks
It seemed clear how the team would replace Manuel. Junior Clint Trickett topped the depth chart and seemed to be the clear choice heading into spring. He was beaten out by redshirt freshman Jameis Winston so convincingly, though, that Trickett only waited until four days after spring practices ended to transfer. Winson is wildly-talented, but he is totally unproven and will face immense pressure. The best news is that the offensive line features four returning starters and a veteran starting in the fifth spot.
The defensive staff has gone through changes, but Jimbo Fisher pulled off an impressive move when he grabbed Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama to be his coordinator. Outside of the defensive line, Pruitt has a whole lot of experienced talent to work with. The defense was far too conservative and tentative last year. With a change in attitude the defense could be much improved.
My biggest overall concern with this team is Jimbo Fisher himself. One of the surest ways to find a head coach who isn’t in tune with his shortcomings is to look for guys who serve as their own coordinator. In the offseason, Fisher has named himself his own offensive coordinator, so he has yet to learn that he can’t do it all alone. I blame a lot of the past shortcomings of this team on Fisher. If they fall short again this year, then the team really needs to look at what they have and where Fisher can lead them — before they are stuck with a Kirk Ferentz-type situation.
Florida State Schedule Analysis
There are a lot of teams that play non-conference schedules so weak that they should be embarrassed. Florida State is certainly one of them. They host Nevada, Idaho and Bethune-Cookman. Ridiculous. Needless to say, they are highly unlikely to lose any of those games.
Much of the conference schedule shouldn’t be a major test, either. They open at a Pitt team that is going to struggle this year. Games at Boston College and Wake Forest are straightforward, though the Seminoles have never been above losing an easy game. Home games against Maryland, N.C. State, Miami and Syracuse are also similarly within the control of the Seminoles if they play to their potential. That means that the season really boils down to two very brutal road games. Their sixth game is at Clemson, and their final game is at Florida. Those two games are going to be the difference between another disappointing year for the Seminoles and a return to glory.
2013-14 Florida State Betting Odds and Trends
The Seminoles are +3000 to win the National Championship, which puts them among the second tier of contenders. They are co-favored with Clemson at +225 to win the ACC and also share favoritism at +100 to win the Atlantic Division. They are a solid 10.5-point road favorite to beat Pitt in their Labor Day opener. (All odds are from BetOnline) Despite a solid record, the Seminoles were brutal against the spread — just 3-9 ATS. They were a somewhat better 6-4-1 going “over” the total.
2013-14 Florida State Predictions and College Football Picks
I really don’t want to like this team. Their schedule is so ridiculous, though, that 10 wins is all but assured. I don’t necessarily see them losing to both Clemson and Florida. I also don’t see them winning both games, though. If Winston can shine at QB, and if they can beat Clemson, then this is a team that will play in a BCS game, and will likely look like they belong there.
Doc’s Sports has been a leader in college football handicapping for more than four decades, and we are offering new clients $60 in free college football picks from Doc’s Sports or any Advisory Board handicapper of your choosing. Click here to get your no-obligation $60 in picks now.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham