ACC Kickoff: EJ Manuel Thinks Florida State Seminoles Can Be Champs

Are the Florida State Seminoles a BCS championship caliber team? First, noted college football expert Phil Steele included them in his teams to watch for 2012. Now, at the ACC Kickoff bonanza in Greensboro, NC, their star quarterback has echoed the sentiments.

E.J. Manuel didn’t hesitate when asked if the Seminoles should be included in the BCS championship conversation this preseason. “Absolutely, I think we should” Manuel said during a media session on Sunday. Manuel, entering his senior season this summer, is trying to bounce back from a 2011 campaign that fell short of expectations.

The Seminoles were highly ranked at this point last year, but fell off after a 3-0 start. A September defeat in Tallahassee at the hands of Oklahoma led to a slide, including loss at the hands of Clemson the following week.

Manuel was asked about watching Clemson and Virginia Tech — two teams pundits expected FSU to trump prior to the season — fight for the ACC crown.

“It was tough,” Manuel said of watching two teams beside Florida State compete for the conference championship. “We want to change that this year, plain and simple.”

With back-to-back games against FCS opponents scheduled to start the season — West Virginia backed out of a game due to moving into the Big 12 — followed by a home game against Wake Forest, there’s little reason for this Seminoles squad to be anything less than 3-0 heading into a Week 4 game against Clemson. That game should set the stage for the ACC season, Manuel’s senior campaign, and how far Florida State can improve from 2011.

Follow the ACC Media Day coverage on Twitter using the hashtag #ACCKickoff.

Laces Out will keep you posted on ACC news throughout the week.

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Joe Giglio is the ACC and Big East football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.

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