College Football Picks Top Ten Countdown- #1 Florida State
Here we are at the number one spot in the BTB Cappers College Football Preseason Top Ten Countdown. How could it be anyone other than Florida State? The defending champions return 13 starters from a team that crushed everyone in sight other than Auburn. The Seminoles nearly lost that game for the title, but they came up with huge plays when they needed them the most.
Florida State certainly benefits from playing a weak ACC, where they are going to be double digit favorites in every game this year unless Jameis Winston gets hurt. The Seminoles have proven though, that they can beat the best of the best. With a four-team playoff in place this year, the path for Florida State becomes a bit more difficult.
In college football, winning a title two years in a row has happened quite a few times in the past few decades. It’s a case of you are the top dog until someone else proves otherwise. Florida State is going to be difficult to knock off the top spot.
2014 Florida State Seminoles Offense
Jameis Winston’s play on the field was nothing short of amazing in his freshman year. He was extremely highly touted coming into last year, but he exceeded all expectations. By winning the Heisman in his freshman year and throwing for 40 touchdowns and more than 4,000 yards, he showed he is the real deal in every sense. His one problem has been off the field controversies. I’m very confident of Winston’s ability to produce on the field, as long as he doesn’t do something that eventually keeps him from getting on the field!
Florida State lost Freeman and Wilder from the backfield, but they are in good shape at the running back spot. Karlos Williams and Mario Pender will likely share time early in the year. Also keep an eye on freshman sensation Dalvin Cook who should be a huge star for the Seminoles in time. There is lots of quickness and depth at this position.
Florida State returns four of their top six receivers from last year as well. Rashad Greene has the potential to finish his career as Florida State’s career leader in receiving yards with a strong season. The Seminoles have tons of speed and athleticism here, so Winston will have no shortage of pass catchers.
Florida State’s offensive line looks set to be among the best in the nation this year. This is one area where the Seminoles are clearly better than they were a year ago. They return 114 career starts and this line should totally dominate in the trenches against most teams.
2014 Florida State Seminoles Defense
The offense usually gets most of the credit on title winning teams, but Florida State’s defense was downright dominating last year. They ranked first in the nation in points allowed per game at 12.1 per contest.
The defensive line was a major strength for Florida State last year. This unit will be down a notch or two this year. The defensive end spot is a position of concern, because Florida State is missing that elite pass rusher on the outside from this spot. There are only three defensive ends on scholarship for Florida State, so depth is an issue here. The middle of the defensive front is in good shape with Goldman and Lawrence-Stample.
Florida State’s linebackers may be down one notch as well. They aren’t as experienced as last year, and there is no clear cut leader in this group. Still, speed and athleticism will not be an issue at all for the Seminoles linebackers. There will be some dropoff here.
The one spot where Florida State’s defense is as elite as they come is the secondary. The Seminoles are absolutely loaded at the back of the defense. P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby are excellent cover corners. Tyler Hunter and Jalen Ramsey are a terrific combo at the safety spots. The depth in the secondary is amazing as well. Throwing against this unit will be nearly impossible.
One other area that deserves recognition is the Seminoles special teams. No one in the country has been better the last couple years, and this unit will be top notch again this season. Amazing special teams play is one reason Florida State wins tight games like the BCS title game against Auburn.
College Football Betting Odds from BetOnline
2014 Florida State Odds to win National Title: +500
Odds to win ACC: -350
Odds to win ACC Atlantic: -700
Florida State to make 4 team playoff (Yes): -250
Florida State Season Win Total: 11.5
Florida State is in great shape to go undefeated again in the regular season. The road game at Miami is probably the trickiest regular season game, but I don’t expect anyone in the regular season to give Florida State any serious problems unless this team experiences a bunch of injury problems. I like over 11.5 for Florida State. On the other hand, I do worry that Florida State’s easy schedule puts them at a disadvantage once they get to the four-team playoff. The other teams will be more battle tested. I’ll call for Florida State to go into the four-team playoff unbeaten, but not repeat as national champions.
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