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Florida State Seminoles 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

Florida State Seminoles 2017 Preview

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The Florida State Seminoles have won double-digit games in each of the last five seasons and enter this year as a national title contender. Coach Jimbo Fisher has set the bar high for FSU, and the goal yearly seems to be hosting the ultimate trophy at the end of the year. Florida State has a chance to win its second national championship in the last five years if everything goes right.

Here’s the Florida State Seminoles 2017 college football preview.

Florida State Seminoles 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Florida State has big holes to fill with the loss of Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph. However, quarterback Deondre Francois showed terrific promise as a freshman, throwing for 3,300 yards and 20 touchdowns while getting up after taking monster hits throughout the season. Francois is crazy tough and super talented, and he should be one of the better QB’s in the country with another season under his belt. Jacques Patrick has been a decent running back for FSU in limited playing time and Cam Akers is arguably the best offensive recruit Fisher has ever landed. That duo should be able to replace Cook’s production. Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate bring stability to the wide receiving corps after combining for more than 800 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. However, there needs to be more depth discovered at the wide receiver position. The offensive line should make steps forward after a shaky season with Alec Eberle returning at center, Landon Dickerson capable of playing either guard spot and Rick Leonard showing more consistency late in the year. If this offensive line holds up better than it did last season, FSU could have one of the better offensive teams in the country this season even with the loss of some of its more recognizable names.

Defense: There’s no way for the Seminoles to replace DeMarcus Walker, who was second on the team in tackles and second in the country in sacks. However, a combination of Josh Sweat and Brian Burns creates a solid 1-2 punch along the defensive line that did combine for 16.5 sacks last season. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was also very impressive in the second half of the season and Demarcus Christmas adds depth to one of the more talented defensive lines in the country. Linebacker Matthew Thomas returns as the Seminoles leading tackler and Ro’Derrick Hoskins has been a reliable player for the past two seasons. Tarvarus McFadden is one of the better cornerbacks in college football after intercepting eight passtes last season and Derwin James is one of the top defensive players in the country, period. Throw Trey Marshall in the mix and FSU has an extremely talented secondary that's sure to make life difficult for opposing ACC quarterbacks. Florida State’s defense has been deep for years, and we’re now starting to see that depth pay off with some of its key contributors from last season no longer on the roster.

Special Teams: Ricky Aguayo returns at kicker after making 19 of 26 field goals and 51 of 52 extra point attempts. Logan Tyler returns at punter after averaging 40.3 yards on 54 attempts.

Outlook: Florida State is going to have one of the top defenses in the country this season and we all know that defense is usually the deciding factor in winning the national championship. Francois has less proven talent around him, but he showed enough as a freshman that he should be able to become more of a leader and make players around him better. The Noles defense is going to do its job, the season basically comes down to how much Francois grows in his second season. If he improves his completion percentage above 60 percent and takes less of a beating, you’re looking at a Heisman candidate and a FSU team that will make the college football playoffs. If the offense doesn’t fulfill expectations and the defense is on the field too often, FSU will have another 9-10 in season and be a team on the outside looking in. I’m high on Florida State, Francois and think this is a team to bet on to win the national title.

Schedule:

Sept. 2, Alabama (in Atlanta)
Sept. 9, Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 16, Miami*
Sept. 23, NC State*
Sept. 30, at Wake Forest*
Oct. 14, at Duke*
Oct. 21, Louisville*
Oct. 27, at Boston College* (Friday)
Nov. 4, Syracuse* (Parents Weekend)
Nov. 11 at Clemson*
Nov. 18 Delaware State (Homecoming)
Nov. 25 at Florida

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