2012 ACC Previews: Florida State with Tomahawk Nation
We’re previewing the upcoming season with help from SBNation.com. Today, Matt from Tomahawk Nation discusses the Seminoles ACC and National Title hopes.
Jimbo Fisher enters his third season in Tallahassee and expectations couldn’t be higher. Florida State is gunning for a national title after finishing the 2011 campaign with a victory over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl. The 2012 season sets up favorably for the Seminoles as they host ACC Atlantic Division foes Clemson and Boston College at Doak Campbell. The toughest test of the season might be a trip to Blacksburg to take on Coastal Division contender Virginia Tech.
2011 Record: 9-4
2011 Bowl: Champs Sports Bowl vs. Notre Dame, 18-14
2012 Bowl Projections:
History in Orlando:
1952 regular season vs. Stetson, 6-6
1977 Tangerine Bowl vs. Texas Tech, 40-17
1984 Florida Citrus Bowl vs. Georgia, 17-17
1990 regular season vs. Memphis, 35-3
1991 regular season vs. Virginia Tech, 33-20
1994 regular season vs. Notre Dame, 23-16
1995 regular season vs. Duke, 70-26
1996 regular season vs. Wake Forest, 44-7
2008 Champs Sports Bowl vs. Wisconsin, 42-13
2011 Champs Sports Bowl vs. Notre Dame, 18-14
Q&A with Matt from Tomahawk Nation
Describe the 2011 season in two words.
What looks like the toughest game this season and why?
Virginia Tech is without a doubt the toughest game on the schedule. Lane stadium in Blacksburg really comes alive for Virginia Tech in night games. Add to the fact that it is on the road, on a Thursday night, against likely the best team on the schedule and you have the recipe for a battle. Florida State projects to be favored in every game this season, except perhaps this one, which will be close. Clemson matches Virginia Tech in terms of talent, and Florida has an incredible defense but both of those games are in Tallahassee this season.
Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.
Best case is that Florida State is able to run the table and make the National Championship game. This takes a really good football team that is able to stay healthy and get some luck along the way, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.
Worst case scenario is something like 8-4, don’t win the ACC, and play in a non-BCS bowl again this year.
Last year’s Champs Sports Bowl win bred a lot of confidence in EJ Manuel’s toughness and the growth of a young offensive line. Will that optimism survive a tumultuous offseason?
Florida State fans on average seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach with this year’s offensive line. However, many do remember that there were a ton of injures on that front last season (10 different players started along the OL), and the most talented players on the line really showed up in that Champ’s Sports Bowl second half. The issue for this unit won’t be size, speed, or skill like in past years it will be inexperience and the consistency that comes with it.
As far as EJ Manuel is concerned I think that most fans are optimistic. E.J. has continued to battle injuries throughout his career, but when he is playing FSU is absolutely a better football team, and if he is healthy enough to take full advantage of his gifts as a runner the FSU offense opens up quite a bit. Manuel has shown the determination to fight through injuries, and I think that most FSU fans just hope that mentally he shows that jump that other starters have made under Fisher in the past as a second year starter.
If Florida State does return to championship form in 2012, can the Champs Sports Bowl/Russell Athletic Bowl get a small footnote in the annals of history as “How The Seminoles Got Their Groove Back”?
This return has been a few years in the making, however, if this Florida State team is able to put together a great run and finish with 0-1 losses on the season there is something to be said for finding the offensive lineman who were able to get us there this year. As a unit it is absolutely the biggest question mark on the team, and the guys who were able to pull together in that game will have to play well again this season to make a run.