Seminoles 2017 Season Preview

Written by Manuel DeLeon
Florida State has its eyes on set on an ACC Championship, but has the makings of a National Championship contender. Replacing the school’s all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook, will be a tall task for the for the Seminoles, but quarterback Deondre Francois returns for his second year under center looking to make that transition a smooth one. The defense loses 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Demarcus Walker, but their all-everything DB Derwin James returns to help bolster an already stout defense. Arguably the best player in the nation, James has garnered early Heisman Trophy hype.  Under 8th year Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, Florida State looks like a favorite to take it all. Let’s break their season down game by game and see how the Seminoles will get there.

When: 8pm Saturday, Sept. 2nd 

Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Last year: 14-1, 8-0 SEC
Last Meeting: Sept. 29, 2007 FSU-21 Alabama-14 
Note: Both teams return their dynamic quarterbacks. Alabama’s Jalen Hurt just missed the one-thousand rushing yard mark (954yds 13tds) giving ‘Bama another dimension to their offense. Florida State’s Deondre Francois (196yds 5tds) may not put up the same rushing numbers as Hurts, but make no mistake about it, if needed, his legs are a viable option for the ‘Noles. Whoever wins this game will to ball control and play solid defense as both teams are loaded on that side of the ball. Some are calling the Alabama duo Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison the best safety combo in the nation. I think Florida State Safeties   Derwin James and Trey Marshall and may have something to say about that. Florida State needs no motivation for this game, and comes out swinging making an early statement to the nation that these ‘Noles are real.
Prediction: FSU 27- Alabama 21
Series: Alabama leads 1-2-1


When: 7pm Saturday, Sept. 9th

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 4-8, 3-5 Sun Belt
Last meeting: Sept. 3rd, 2011 FSU-35 ULM-0
Note: Florida State dominated the last time these two teams met back in 2011. The ‘Noles outgained the Warhawks in total yards 372 to just 191for ULM. Last season, ULM’s defense gave up 480.3 yard per game to its opponents with 181.3 yards coming on the ground. I don’t believe in cupcake games because every dog has its day, just ask Mississippi State about South Alabama. Though anything can happen, the Warhawks picked the wrong time to faceoff with Florida State. Look for Running backs Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers to put up good numbers as they get primed to take on in-state rival Miami.
Prediction: FSU-45 ULM-7
Series: FSU leads 1-0

When: 8pm Saturday, Sept. 16th

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 9-4, 5-3 ACC
Last meeting: Oct. 8th, 2016 FSU-20 Miami-19
Note:  Last year’s contest definitely put the spark back into this beloved rivalry with the ‘Noles reigning victorious. Even with the spark back, Miami would love more to get back in the win column in this series. This current streak of 7 straight win against the ‘Canes ties for the longest in the history of this series. The last time the Hurricanes beat the Seminoles, Deondre Francois was in the 7th grade, and current Head Coach Mark Richt had is Georgia team sitting at 10-3. Even with it being a long time since their last win against the ‘Noles, the Hurricanes can find comfort in knowing their 2009 victory also came inside of Doak Campbell Stadium. Miami is looked at by many analyst as a contender in the ACC so look for this to be a dog fight reminiscent of games back in the day.
Prediction: FSU-26 Miami-20
Series: Miami lead 31-30

North Carolina State
When: TBD Saturday, Sept. 23rd
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 7-6, 3-5 ACC
Last meeting: Nov. 5th, 2016 FSU-24 NC State-20
Note: Coming off their game against Miami this could be a letdown game for the ‘Noles. NC State is a team that plays up to its competition. They played both Clemson and Florida State very tough last year taking Clemson, the eventual National Champions, to overtime and were a missed field away from winning that game. The Wolfpack, also tend to play down to its competition, losing to East Carolina 30-33 last season. Quarterback Ryan Finley returns under center for the Wolfpack ready to lead this potent offense. Finley finished last year passing for 3,059 yards and 18 touchdowns along with a 135.2 passer rating. NC State will sling the ball all around the field, but look for Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, the nation’s leader in interceptions last year (8) to lock things down all game.
Prediction: FSU-30 NC State-27
Series: FSU leads 25-11

Wake Forest
When: TBD Saturday, Sept. 30th

Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Last year:  7-6, 3-5 ACC
Last meeting: Oct. 15th, 2016 FSU-17 Wake Forest-6
Note: After being absent from bowl competition since 2011, Wake Forest returned to post season play defeating Temple 34-26 in the Military Bowl. The Demon Deacons fought tooth and nail last season against the ‘Noles falling just short 17-6. Despite getting to a bowl game, Wake Forest had one of the worst offenses in the country ranking 124 out of 128 teams. The Demon Deacons defense on the other hand, which ranked 40th overall in the nation and 18th in turnover margin helped keep them in games all year. Wake Forest gave up 3 sacks per game last year so look for defensive standouts DT Derrick Nnadi, DE Josh Sweat and LB Jacob Pugh to get after it. To beat this Florida State team, it’s going to take more than just defense, you must put up points, but with a poor showing on offense I don’t see that happening.
Prediction: FSU-35 Wake Forest-14
Series: FSU leads 28-6-1

 When: TBD Saturday, Oct. 14th

Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Last year: 4-8, 1-7 ACC
Last meeting: Dec. 7th, 2013 ACC Championship FSU-45 Duke-7
Note: 2016, saw Duke fall from 8-5 overall in 2015 to 4-8. Quarterback Daniel Jones returns to lead the Blue Devils, hoping to make vast improvements especially to an offense that ranked 76th in the nation. Duke found it tough to run on anyone all year only gaining 153.6 yards rushing per game. Florida State has one of the best front seven on defense led by Senior LB Matthew Thomas, and unless Duke Senior Running back Shaun Wilson has a breakout game expect more of the same from their 2013 meeting.
Prediction: FSU-40 Duke-14
Series: FSU leads 17-0

When: TBD Saturday, Oct. 21st

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 9-4, 7-1
Last meeting: Sept. 17th, 2016 FSU-20 Louisville-63
Note: This is a prove it game! Florida State will come into their game with Louisville ready to prove that last year’s 20-63 beat down was a fluke. Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson had his way with the ‘Noles defense last year. Florida State had no answer for the Boynton Beach, FL native who rushed for 146 yards and 4 scores to go along with his 216 yards passing and a touchdown. Louisville outgained Florida State 530 to 284, humbling the #2 team in the nation at the time. Derwin James missed the game last year due to injury, and will be on a mission to shut down Lamar Jackson and the Cardinal offense. It’s safe to say all hands will be on deck for this matchup as the ‘Noles look for revenge in front of its home crowd.
Prediction: FSU-30 Louisville-24
Series: FSU leads 14-3

Boston College
When: 8pm Friday, Oct. 27th

Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass
Last year: 7-6, 2-6 ACC
Last Meeting: Nov. 11th 2016 FSU-45 BC-7
Note: Boston College had the second worst offense in the country last year averaging just 292.8 yards a game. Things get no easier for the Eagles this season as they try to figure out their quarterback position. Despite being only a Redshirt freshman, Anthony Brown looks like the early favorite to start for the Eagles. While the offense figures it out, expect this Eagles defense, that ranked 9th overall, to carry the load again this year. The game plan is a simple one for Boston College, play excellent defense, control the clock, and create turnovers as the rank near the top in each category. This is a hard hitting, ball hawking defense, so Deondre Francois and Florida State must limit turnovers and not get into a defensive battle with the Eagles.
Prediction: FSU-30 BC-3
Series: FSU leads 10-4

    When: TBD Saturday Nov. 4th
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 4-8 2-6 ACC
Last meeting: Nov. 19th 2016 FSU-45 Syracuse-14
Note:  Junior Quarterback Eric Dungey is back under center for the Orange. Syracuse run an offense straight out of a Star Trek playbook; they fly. The Seminoles must be well conditioned to keep up with Dino Babers and his offense who cranked out over 83 plays per game. Despite running a mindboggling number of plays, it didn’t turn into points for the Orange as they ranked 90th in scoring offense last year. Last season saw the Orange take way too many sacks finishing 119th in sacks allowed. The ‘Noles defensive line should be licking their chops ready to get after Eric Dungey and Syracuse’s porous offensive line.
Prediction: FSU-33 Syracuse-10
Series: FSU leads 9-1
When: TBD Saturday, Nov. 11th

Where: Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Last year: 14-1, 7-1 ACC National Champions
Last meeting: Oct. 29th 2016 FSU-34 Clemson-37
Note: The reigning National Champion Clemson Tigers, looking to make it 3 straight over the Seminoles, welcomes Florida State into Death Valley with a few key pieces missing from its high-powered offense. Gone are the days of Deshaun Watson hooking up with Mike Williams, as both have gone on to the greener pastures of the N.F.L. Wayne Gallman is no longer bulldozing guys out of the backfield.  Thing is, who’s going to replace those guys? Kelly Bryant who only attempted 9 passes last year will try to fill the shoes of Watson. Dion Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud take over for both Mike Williams and Artavis Scott on the outside. Both are very capable receivers, but with guys like James, McFadden and Andrews roaming the back-end FSU can shut down any passing attack.
Prediction: FSU-21 Clemson-17
Series: FSU leads 20-10

Delaware State
 When: TBD Saturday, Nov. 18th

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Last year: 0-11, 0-8 MEAC
Last meeting: None
Note: The Hornets averaged just 14.7 points per game in route to a winless season. Making it worst they were beat by an average of 25 points. Delaware State runs a balanced offense with the goal of running the ball and controlling the clock. The lone bright spot on this Hornets team, Running back Mike Waters, averaged 4.9 yards per carry. This is will get ugly fast, don’t expect Florida State starters to play much. This is just prepping the ‘Noles for
next week when the travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators.
Prediction: FSU-55 Delaware St-0
Series: Tied 0-0
When: TBD Saturday, Nov.25th

Where: Ben Hill-Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Last year: 9-4, 6-2 SEC
Last meeting: Nov. 26th 2016 FSU-31 UF-13
Note: Quite possibly the greatest rivalry in college football history, Florida State travels to take on the University of Florida. The Seminoles will look to close out the season strong vying for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Jim McElwain and company were laughed out of Doak Campbell last season and are out for redemption. Florida must figure out its quarterback position if they look to stay in this game. Redshirt freshman Quarterback Feleipe Franks will get the first crack at the starting job. All stats go out the window and all records are scrubbed clean when these two meet on the field. This game will hinge on how disruptive both defenses are as both are some of the nation’s best. Though I foresee a defensive battle, the offense of Florida State will get rolling quicker and at this point Florida doesn’t have the offensive fire power to keep up or play from behind especially with the studs on the Seminoles defense.
Prediction: FSU-21 UF-17
Series: Florida leads 34-25-2

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