The ACC has needed Florida State to step up and become the powerhouse of the conference for years now. Unfortunately the Seminoles haven’t been able to step up and fulfill their potential. Every year FSU has a top 10 recruiting class and it seems like a national pastime to say that “the Seminoles are back” in September but then an afterthought come December and January. So the question in front of us is; are the Seminoles finally back and able to fulfill the hype?
Florida State won nine games last season including a win in the Champs Sports Bowl over Notre Dame, but many around the ACC still considered the Seminoles underwhelming. The Seminoles lost four games to Oklahoma, Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia. The first two losses are understandable but the second two are embarrassing. Wake Forest and Virginia overachieved in 2011 but the Seminoles clearly trotted more talent out onto the field in both contests.
2012 will be year three for Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and people are expecting his Noles to take the leap and become the national power that FSU once was under Bobby Bowden. Fisher isn’t exactly fighting an uphill battle here he has a top 10 defense and a star quarterback in E.J. Manuel.
Manuel had a decent 2011 season but battled through injuries at every turn. He ended up throwing for 2,666 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Virginia Beach native is a massive specimen at 6’5” and he is an accurate passer (last season his completion percentage was 65.3%), but there is still room for improvement. He hasn’t completely reached his potential at this point so it is possible that he becomes a bigger threat in 2012.
The Seminoles’ schedule in 2012 isn’t the easiest but it is far from the hardest. That is mainly due to West Virginia backing out of a scheduled game, forcing the Seminoles to schedule a game with Savannah State. Looking at FSU’s schedule there are three games that the Seminoles have a legitimate chance of losing. They play Clemson at home on September 22nd, at Virginia Tech on November 8th (Thursday night), and a home game against archrival Florida on November 24th.
If Florida State can win every game in which they will be the favorites and one of the three mentioned above then the Seminoles will be a 10-win team which would probably place them firmly in the top 15. The big problem is that Clemson is standing in the way of the Seminoles ACC title hopes.
The ACC receives a lot more respect when FSU is winning and the conferences as well as Seminoles everywhere hope that 2012 is the year that Jimbo Fisher and Florida State can take the leap and become nationally relevant again.