Here's a season preview I put together of the upcoming FSU football season. I break down every game of the year with as much pessimism as I'm able to stomach (which probably isn't enough for some!) I've also added the likelyhood that FSU will win each game as well as my actual prediction. I know I'm getting this out ahead of the next pre-season pick, but I just couldn't hold it in any longer! Hopefully you enjoy the read & let me know how wrong or right I am!
See my picks after the jump!
FSU vs Samford - Saturday, Sept 4th
FSU Offense: Not too difficult to see how this games goes. The only question here is when do the backups go into the game. This will be a Heisman vote padding game for CP7.
FSU Defense: For noles fans, this will be the most interesting part of the game. FSU's Defense struggled even in games like these last year. I for one won't be surprised at FSU's first shutout win in recent memory.
FSU Special Teams: Perhaps the best unit of the three, altho I don't think they get much work outside of the punt return game. Can't wait to see Greg Reid!
Intangibles: There are no intangibles that I see impacting the end result of this game.
Why FSU wins: We are FSU & they are Samford.
Why FSU Loses: They won't.
FSU @ Oklahoma Saturday, September 11th
FSU Offense: FSU's offense proved last year that when healthy, even Elite Defenses fall victim to the Christian Ponder show. If everyone is healthy, and they should be, the O should score enough to keep us in the game.
FSU Defense: For me, this is the most anticipated matchup of the year. This can make or break the season for FSU defensively & will undoubtedly impact the rest of my pics here as well! I'm an optimistic person despite the coaching shenanigans of the Lost Decade so I believe that Mark Stoops will have his unit ready to meet this challenge. They will get scored on, but the D keeps the score respectable.
FSU Special Teams: I'm no expert on Oklahoma ST play, but I do think FSU's unit is special. I most likely won't pick against this unit at all this year. Edge goes to FSU.
Intangibles: Too many to list, but I'll try. If FSU struggles against Stamford the previous week, this game could get real ugly, and with it much of the season. I think poor weather will only help FSU's chances & the Noles have always played well on the road as underdogs against teams not in the state of Florida.
Why FSU wins: Unlike many, I believe FSU has a 50-50 chance of winning this ballgame. If they do win it will be because the Defense made major strides in the off-season, the Special Teams were special & The Offense plays it's game.
Why FSU Loses: If FSU has any mental issues left over from last year or the previous game there is no way they can win this game. That being said, FSU can play a great game & still end up losing to a superior opponent. Oklahoma is very good.
Pick: FSU (Upset Pick)
FSU vs BYU Saturday, September 18th
FSU Offense: FSU's Offense once again should out perform BYU's defense. While I expect Ponder to have many great games throughout the year, this game is where Eddie Gran comes away with the biggest smile. I think FSU's backs show what they can do in this game with 150+ yards against a quality opponent.
FSU Defense: Last year our Defense allowed teams that were getting torched by our offense to hang in games late. I don't see that happening this year against BYU, especially with Unga gone.
FSU Special Teams: I expect a repeat of last year's performance in this aspect of the game. Greg Reid is special.
Intangibles: BYU has a long trip to this game & this time of year in Tallahassee can be brutal to teams from out west. Look for conditioning to play a part in the game with FSU dominating the 4th quarter. If FSU plays poorly in Norman the week prior that can equalize this game real quick.
Why FSU wins: FSU plays it's first major game at home against a quality team with inferior talent. FSU wins as long as they aren't suffering mentally from a beat down against Oklahoma.
Why FSU Loses: If FSU loses bad to Oklahoma I don't look at that motivating the Defense enough to step up against BYU. The offense will keep us in every game this year, but BYU could find a rising star at Running Back and could pull out a squeaker under the right conditions.
FSU vs Wake Forest Saturday, September 25th
FSU Offense: With Wake Forest back to it's mediocre selves, the FSU O has a field day in it's ACC opener. Even last year's defense wouldn't keep Wake in this game.
FSU Defense: I truly feel the FSU defense will be a pleasant surprise this year landing it in the top 40 defenses in the country. Provided the defense plays well earlier in the season, this could be a coming-out party for this unit.
FSU Special Teams: By this part of the year I expect teams to punt & kick away from FSU's specialists. Look for the resulting field position to bite them firmly in the ass. Have I mentioned that GR5 is special?
Intangibles: Weather can always be the great equaliser, but with a good stable of running backs I can't see it as a hindrance for this team. However psyche can be a killer. If FSU comes into this game with a 1-2 record FSU's mental state could keep this game close.
Why FSU wins: FSU is the best team in the Atlantic Division. This is a statement game & the ACC opener. There should be plenty of motivation for a team playing an inferior opponent.
Why FSU Loses: If Wake can somehow manage to keep this game close... ahh who am I kidding, I just don't see a scenario where Wake wins this game.
FSU @ Virginia Saturday, October 2nd
FSU Offense: This can be another Heisman helping game for Ponder. Look for the receivers to be coming into mid-season form here helping Christian's Passing numbers raise the eyebrows of Heisman voters.
FSU Defense: This will be the first ACC away game of the year, thankfully it's against Virginia. The young FSU defense should be playing well as a unit by now. I'd expect to see some turnovers in our favor from the defensive backs.
FSU Special Teams: No contest, again. This unit is capable of scoring on Virginia.
Intangibles: Road games in the ACC have been a nightmare for FSU lately. I look for that to change under new Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. The best Virginia can hope for is a reeling FSU team that performed poorly earlier in the season.
Why FSU wins: FSU will make it difficult for non-elite defensive teams to keep up with the ACC's best (non-gimmick) offense. Virginia is NOT an elite defense.
Why FSU Loses: A long chain of bad events for FSU might be enough for Virginia to be able to hang in this game. But we're talking Oklahoma 2009 bad.
FSU @ Miami Saturday, October 9th
FSU Offense: Miami has it's best talent since very early in the decade this year. But I don't see it being enough to slow down the FSU Offensive Juggarnaut. This could be another high scoring affair.
FSU Defense: IF the defense makes major strides this year, and IF the Offense stays on par with last year's, and IF we can somehow break the kicking game jinx vs Miami, we could see a big win against Miami.
FSU Special Teams: In any other game against any other team I'd be confident this aspect of the game would be no contest. History says otherwise in a BIG way in this rivalry. I'll give this one a push because I believe in bad Juju.
Intangibles: Is Jacory Harris really Heisman calibre? Is the road team destined to win for all time? Will FSU's kicking woes continue against Miami? Will another young receiver drop a winning touchdown pass in the endzone as time expires? No other matchup in sports has more intangibles than this series.
Why FSU wins: If luck is on FSU's side we will win this game. If The U regresses this year, if FSU's defense makes major strides or the Nole Special Teams break with tradition to dominate Miami we can win this game.
Why FSU Loses: If there truly is a resurgence in Coral Gables & Jacory Harris is the real deal, FSU should lose this game. Look for this to be another nail-biter of a game though and hopefully as entertaining as last year's game.
FSU vs Boston College Saturday, October 16th
FSU Offense: Aside from Oklahoma, I expect BC to put up the next best defensive effort against the Seminole Offense. The Eagles have seemingly had our number the past few seasons, but I look for that to change this year.
FSU Defense: I think Boston College brings a good running game to FSU with their typical workhorse style play & causes problems even for a resurging Nole defense. We'll have to outscore BC in this one.
FSU Special Teams: Again I think this makes the difference in this game. Even good defenses can't perform against superior field position all game long.
Intangibles: I feel Doak will be an asset for the football team this year, unlike last year. Gone is the controversy of Bobby Bowden & if the Noles have the kind of year I expect, BC will be playing in front of a loud Seminole crowd.
Why FSU wins: If Florida State's defense can limit BC on the ground in this one we should score enough to win. This is perhaps the most important game of the season in terms of the Atlantic Division race.
Why FSU Loses: If BC controls the ground & the clock, look for another dissappointing home loss & another year looking up in the Atlantic Division race. Everything else points to an FSU win, however.
FSU @ NC State Thursday, October 28th
FSU Offense: With one of the conference's worst Defenses last year I almost feel sorry for the Wolfpack coming into this game... almost. Another Heisman calibre game for CP7.
FSU Defense: NC State had one of the best offenses in the league last year. If they continue on that trend, look for a rebuilt FSU Defense to have it's hands full.
FSU Special Teams: The Greg Reid show should get plenty of air time this game. With a poor defense, Coach O'Brien will have to decide whether to take his chances kicking to Reid or guarantee an Elite Offense to have great field position against his sub-par Defense. I think he'll take his chances, which should be exciting for Nole fans.
Intangibles: Oh the dreaded Away games on Thursday night. Other than the Thursday Night ESPN Curse, everything looks to be in FSU's favor.
Why FSU wins: FSU plays against the worst D1 defense it will face this year, but don't expect a slug-fest. The FSU D will limit NC State enough to make this win look lopsided.
Why FSU Loses: It's a Thursday Night road game broadcast nationally on ESPN. Other than that NC State can't like their chances in this one.
FSU vs North Carolina Saturday, November 6th
FSU Offense: I know all the hype surrounding North Carolina's Defense has been getting alot of media exposure. I look for FSU to drop NC State in the Defensive rankings again this year.
FSU Defense: North Carolina returns alot of starters on Offense, but they won't be the best FSU sees even at this point in the season. I look for FSU's defense to continue playing well keeping us just ahead in this game.
FSU Special Teams: Another big day for the Kicking game here I'd expect, but this time from Dustin Hopkins. Look for an Elite D to stop FSU more than usual, but they won't keep us out of Dustin's range.
Intangibles: By November I expect FSU to have some considerable hype. With a lone loss to Miami (or Oklahoma), I'd expect FSU to be high in the rankings with a way, way outside shot at the National Championship. If the players handle this hype well, it could give even more confidence (dare I say swagger?) to this group of youngsters.
Why FSU wins: If FSU can impose it's will against what looks to be an Elite Defense, (pending NCAA rulings) I think any momentum built up by the Noles will be too much for the Tar Heels to overcome.
Why FSU Loses: North Carolina's D. If the Tar Heels are able to dominate the line of scrimmage & get after Ponder our odds go way down. The Carolina Offense will score on us & we may well lose this game with a bad day with the ball in Seminole hands.
FSU vs Clemson Saturday, November 13th
FSU Offense: Clemson has been great on Defense the past several seasons, but not Elite. It's not enough to slow down the Seminole scoring machine.
FSU Defense: With Parker playing ball in his Senior season the Clemson Offense won't fall as much as expected with the departure of the Conference's most dynamic player in years: CJ Spiller. I still see our Defense limiting Clemson to less than 20 points as our pass D will be a strength by this point in the season.
FSU Special Teams: This year's contest will have the most versatile player wearing Garnet and Gold for the first time in a few years. Look for another win for the FSU Special Teams.
Intangibles: I think Swinney is a downgrade from Tommy Bowden. Look for the Tigers to slide as Tommy's recruits fade away in years to come.
Why FSU wins: The Offense dominates a reeling Clemson Defense & plays an even match on the other side of the ball. Are you seeing a pattern yet?
Why FSU Loses: If Clemson fans have forgotten Spiller's name at this point in the season FSU might be in for a rough home game.
FSU @ Maryland Saturday, November 20th
FSU Offense: It's been some time since FSU has blown an ACC opponent out on teh road. Look for this to be the biggest Offensive production on the year, aside from the Samford game perhaps.
FSU Defense: Maryland is a team we could dominate on the defensive side fo the ball as well. I don't see this game as anything other than a rout.
FSU Special Teams: I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more scores from this unit during this game. Maryland is in a shambles & is way outmatched in this game.
Intangibles: If Maryland turns around a 2-10 season with young players they might make the first half of this game interesting to watch.
Why FSU wins: They are superiour to Maryland in every aspect, from the Coaching staff to the ballboys.
Why FSU Loses: This is the only guaranteed ACC win on the year.
FSU vs Florida Saturday, November 27th (My 32nd birthday, guess what my wish will be?)
FSU Offense: IF Ponder is healthy & IF the Oline is still intact & IF one of our feature backs lives up to their potential, this should be a productive day for the offense.
FSU Defense: Perhaps more than any other team in the country, the Gators lost a ton of Talent to the NFL draft. I still expect their Offense to be potent, but with an improved Defense every little step towards evening this contest out will help.
FSU Special Teams: More than any other team, the Gators can match FSU player for player with talent. Still, I have to pick FSU to be favored on Special Teams play.
Intangibles: Desire. Heart. Years of repression at the hands of the lizards. There is no lack of motivation for this game. Look for Fisher to have his team hungry & ready.
Why FSU wins: The Gators could be caught looking ahead to a 3rd game against Alabama in the past 13 months. If FSU is hanging on to a 1-2 loss season at this point I have to think this is the best chance FSU has of pulling an upset in the last half-decade. There is no deadly Tebow & Spikes combo in this game.
Why FSU Loses: FSU is expected to lose this game. Even if the Defense has the biggest turn-around since
Statistical Prediction: 8-4 (64.9 win% or 7.78 wins) Game-by-game Prediction: 10-2 (FSU is favored in all but 3 of my picks. I'm picking 1 upset win & no let down losses)
Like most here, I would be very happy with 8-4 & ecstatic with 10-2!!