Florida State Seminoles Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
I have never been anything close to a Florida State fan, and I live a very long way from Tallahassee, but I have to imagine that a lot of fans of the program could only describe last season as an embarrassment. Their National Championship-winning head coach barely went through the motions before leaving town for big money and a different challenge - at a school that can't claim to be as prestigious as the one he left. The team lost six of their first nine games, were blown out multiple times, and didn't look even remotely like the Top 3 team they were in the rankings entering the season.
Fans imagined another national title entering the year, and by October they just wanted all the pain to end. It was the closest to rock bottom that the team has been in a very long time. And fans will be hoping that a total overhaul in the offseason will get things back on track in a hurry. They don't want to suffer through the decade of mediocrity that their rivals at Florida have gone through since losing their national title winner or the long periods of irrelevance that Miami has suffered.
2017 in a Nutshell
It started ugly then stayed that way. In a much-hyped season opener against Alabama only one team looked like a true title contender - and it wasn't the Seminoles. The score of 24-7 was very flattering for Florida State. QB Deondre Francois was lost for the season in that game to add insult to injury. Their next game was postponed due to hurricanes, so they had a three-week break before playing NC State at home. They looked exceptionally rusty and lost. They beat Wake Forest but then lost to Miami at home. They get no credit for a win at Duke, and then they took a lot of blame for a loss at home to Louisville. They hadn't bottomed out yet, though - that came when they fell 35-3 at Boston College. They barely beat Syracuse at home before getting rolled up at Clemson. But then the schedule got easier, and they righted things enough to get a bowl bid. Of course, they only beat Delaware State, a Florida team that had already lost their coach, and Louisiana-Monroe, so the schedule obviously helped. That earned them a Dec. 27 bowl game against Southern Miss - if you needed any proof of just how far the program had fallen. They won that game handily. Jimbo Fisher resigned after the Florida game, so the players get some credit for focusing enough to roll through their last two games despite the distractions.
Key Additions and Departures
Obviously the big story here is Willie Taggart. The 41-year-old was born in Florida and had his defining success leading the South Florida program. He knows the area. But he had only one year at Oregon - a respectable season, but not a perfect one - and this is a whole new level for him compared to that. Florida State has always hired from inside, so the gamble on an outsider is a huge one. It's a little concerning in the short term as well that both coordinators on the staff are not only new to Florida State but new to working under Taggart as well. Taggart is unquestionably a very good coach, but the list of very good coaches who have struggled under the weight of a stifling culture is not a short one. This will be very interesting to watch.
Given the rough season and all the changes, there wasn't a lot of turnover in the roster. Derwin James was the biggest loss in the draft, and a few other nice players left, but it wasn't nearly the exodus the team has dealt with in other years. And Taggart wound up signing a 21-person recruiting class that included one 5-star and 15 4-star players. A lack of talent won't be an excuse for Taggart.
Biggest Area of Concern
Taggart plays a style of offense that is fairly demanding on quarterbacks, and at this point it isn't clear who his quarterback will be. He has a couple of decent, experienced options, though. Deondre Francois is healthy after his knee injury and has worked through some legal issues with minimal damage done, so he's ready to contend again. And while James Blackman was at best inconsistent when taking over for Francois last year, he can't be blamed for all of the issues.
Florida State Seminoles Schedule Analysis
They get a winnable measuring-stick game in their opener when they face Virginia Tech. Then they get four gimme games to work out the kinks - Samford, Syracuse, Northern Illinois and Louisville. Tough games at Miami and at home against Clemson sandwich a soft one against Wake Forest. Then it's a tough two-game road trip to NC State where they seek revenge then to Notre Dame. Then it's more revenge sought at home against Boston College before finishing off with their traditional rivalry game against Florida.
2018-19 Florida State Seminoles Betting Odds and Trends
Bovada has Florida State at +3300 to win the national title, which has them behind 11 other teams. Those are the same odds for Francois to win the Heisman, which makes him a long shot in a crowded field. The Seminoles are the third choice to win the ACC at +900, behind Clemson at -200 and Miami at +500. The season win total sits at 7.5, with the "over" strongly favored.
2018-19 Florida State Seminoles Predictions and College Football Picks
I like Taggart as a coach, but I am very nervous about him in this spot. The patience for this fanbase will be non-existent. He has potential at QB but no certainty. And he is dealing with a whole lot of change. There is a lot of talent here, though, and a ton of upside. The ceiling feels something like 10 or even 11 wins. But if they stumble early - like losing to Virginia Tech - then things could get ugly. I like the over if forced to choose, but I'll stick mostly to the sidelines and watch when it comes to this team this season.
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