This is an idea that came to me this morning. Let's track how the hype for the 'Noles ebbs and flows as the season approaches. I'll link this page in the sidebar at left.
February 10th, ESPN's Mark Schlabach ranks the 'Noles 17th, behind #5 VTech, but ahead of #18 UNC, #21 Miami, and #24 GTech:
For the first time in 34 seasons, Bobby Bowden won't be coaching the Seminoles. But new coach Jimbo Fisher did a fantastic job assembling his coaching staff and inherits a team that was very young in 2009. Fisher lured Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to Tallahassee and persuaded East Carolina defensive coordinator Greg Hudson to come to FSU as linebackers coach.
The Seminoles allowed 30 points or more five times in 2009 and won't challenge for an ACC title until their defense gets better. Expect incoming freshmen such as Jeff Luc, Christian Jones, Telvin Smith and Lamarcus Joyner to play on defense right away.
FSU might be very, very good on offense. Quarterback Christian Ponder is coming back from a shoulder injury and will have all five offensive linemen back to protect him. Fisher will be tested in his first season, as the Seminoles play road games at Oklahoma and Miami and home games against Florida and BYU.
Then, the writers caught word of all the badly-needed improvements that Fisher is making for the 'Noles and the projections have started to trend up:
May 3rd, ESPN's Mark Schlabach ranks the 'Noles 16th, behind #5 VT, but ahead of #19 Miami, # 21 GTech, #22 UNC.
If the Seminoles are going to be better in Jimbo Fisher's first season as head coach, they'll have to improve on defense after allowing 30 points or more five times in 2009. Quarterback Christian Ponder, who underwent shoulder surgery in November, proved to be a quick healer this spring. He completed 16 of 34 passes for 266 yards with two touchdowns in the spring game. With Ponder coming back, the Seminoles might have the ACC's most explosive offense in 2010. Former Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops takes over FSU's porous unit, and he'll rely on young players such as linebacker Jeff Luc and cornerback Greg Reid to get better. The Seminoles play an arduous schedule, including road games at Oklahoma and Miami and home games against Florida and BYU.
May 4th, Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples ranks the 'Noles 22nd, behind #7 VT, #12 Miami, #15 GTech, #18 UNC. FSU is the top ranked team from the Atlantic division. The ACC's 5 ranked teams lead the country.
Key returnees: QB Christian Ponder, OT Andrew Datko, OG Rodney Hudson, LB Nigel Bradham.
Spring star: CB Greg Reid.
Spring recap: If the Seminoles don't have one of the nation's best offenses, it's because some Oklahoma-in-2009-style calamity has befallen them. The surgically repaired Ponder, a darkhorse Heisman contender, will play behind a line that enters the season with 142 career starts. The real issue in Jimbo Fisher's first season since taking over for Bobby Bowden will be defense. FSU's defense was awful last season, and first-year coordinator Mark Stoops will have to find a way to get a lot more out of many of the same players. One wacky idea Stoops brought to the Seminoles: Play your best players. Sophomore Reid, who led the nation in punt return average last season, was a situational player on defense last season. Not anymore.
May 5th, the aforementioned Schlabach says on CSS's Talkin' Football program that the 'Noles could win 10 games and will upset UF.
May 7th, Mr. Football, Tony Barnhardt of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution puts the 'Noles 14th, behind #10 UNC, but ahead of #15th GTech, #17th VTech, #20 Miami, and #22 Clemson:
For the first time since 1975 somebody other than Bobby Bowden will walk the sidelines as head coach in Tallahassee. That job now falls to Jimbo Fisher and with a veteran offensive line and a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Christian Ponder), I'm picking Florida State to win ACC Atlantic. The key to success will be the ability of new DC Mark Stoops to rebuild a defense that finished last in the ACC in 2009.
16. Florida State (NR): Better than anyone thinks as Jimbo Fisher takes over. FSU is Alabama in miniature. 'Noles will win the ACC in 2011. The Lost Decade is over.
If you see a new ranking, link it in the comment section.
July 1st, Heather Dinich predicts FSU to win the ACC.