We expect the release of Florida State's football schedule today at 2 PM Eastern.
When a team oversigns, it means that it needs to shed players to stay within the 85 scholarship limit. In Florida State’s case, though, criticism for oversigning would probably be unwarranted. The Seminoles need some roster attrition, but some of that was expected anyway. As it stands now, a few players could be eligible for medical hardships. Some might be ready to transfer for lack of playing time, or for other personal reasons. Such things are anticipated every off-season, on every Division I campus. Coaches at some schools are likely to have to force players off the team to free scholarships. That shouldn’t be the case in Tallahassee.
This caught me by surprise because I expect Austin Barron to greyshirt. I think Carter took the right approach in this article. He analyzed the process of greyshirting, pointed out the right way and the wrong way to do it, applied FSU's facts to the rule, and determined that FSU is doing it the right way, if at all. You do have to expect a few upperclassmen buried on the depth chart to transfer so that they can continue playing the game they love.
Inside, I turn to some ACC expectations.
Now let's turn to two pieces by Matt Hinton, just 24 days apart.
Eight defensive starters will be back, including top pass-rusher Brandon Jenkins and the other cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, both of whom landed on the All-ACC team prior to the bowl – and two of the three likely new starters in the fall, linebackers Christian Jones and Jeff Luc, were hyped, five-star recruits themselves last year, to say nothing of 2011's incoming superstar-in-waiting, James Wilder Jr
But it's not like Florida State has ever lacked for talent, or for high expectations as a result. If this group has earned the top-10 projections certain to come their way this summer, it's mainly because they're being compared to their immediate, vastly underachieving predecessors instead of the halcyon headhunters that made top-five finishes routine for more than a decade. With the offense taking significant hits at quarterback and on the offensive line, the old standards will be in force, and it will take another leap forward to meet them.
And if you're going to hitch your hopes (or your money) to any FSU bandwagon, frankly, you can do a lot worse than this one. By the numbers, the 'Noles are both the most talented outfit in the conference – last week's signing class was the third in a row to finish atop the ACC rankings, according to Rivals – and the most experienced, bringing back a conference-high 16 starters. The defense, in particular, is on the verge of a breakout campaign after a slow decline and eventual collapse under longtime coordinator Mickey Andrews, a fade successor Mark Stoops only began to repair last year.
FSU's greatest fear going into last season what that the decay was already too far gone to prevent the total, walls-falling-in collapse that seemed so inevitable under the old regime, and for now, it seems the malaise really did leave with Bowden.
But the goodwill will only survive as long as the prevailing sense of progress. For this team, clearly, that means an ACC championship and/or BCS bid, at minimum. Throughout the BCS era, Year Two is the year that almost all of the most successful administrations – Oklahoma under Bob Stoops, Ohio State under Jim Tressel, USC under Pete Carroll, Georgia under Mark Richt, Florida under Urban Meyer, LSU and Alabama under Nick Saban, Auburn under Gene Chizik, Oregon under Chip Kelly – made the leap into the national elite. Florida State can fulfill expectations in 2011 without quite joining that class (it certainly doesn't take an "elite" team to carry the ACC), but the red line between continued progress and yet another bitter disappointment doesn't get much thinner.
I think a lot of FSU fans will view anything but an ACC championship as a disappointment, but Hinton fails to understand that many FSU fans foolishly disregard conference accomplishments and will put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the Oklahoma and Florida games. That's not his fault, it's the fault of FSU fans who can't grasp the importance of conference play.
FSU is never going to own the ACC like it did in the 90s. There are several reasons for this.
First, the ACC teams are better now than they were in the 90s. FSU's talent advantage over them is not so supreme as to make any loss a shocking defeat. Teams like North Carolina, NC State, and Maryland all play good ball. Clemson is bringing in a ridiculous amount of talent relative to their recent success.
Second, the ACC teams are not the same. Ask yourself this:
How many conference titles would FSU have won if Miami was in the ACC?
7 or 8, instead of 12.
Whether Miami is a bit down or not isn't really the issue. The issue is that FSU's game against Miami means more than ever before because of the added impact on the potential for a conference championship. Miami will continue to be a good to very good (but probably not great) football team, and that presents another challenge in the conference.
Add in Virginia Tech and a Boston College team that has made a bowl for 12 consecutive years, and the ACC isn't this poor little conference that many writers make it out to be. Performing in the ACC is important.
It certainly has not been easy for the 'Noles. Take a look:
|ACC Records Since Expansion|
And while I think Hinton is right in saying a conference championship will be considered a success, I favor evaluating a coach over a few seasons.
And to do that you need a baseline. I expect coach Fisher to meet or exceed these expectations. I will not set expectations for results in the post-season as it is stupid to demand a specific record when the opponent is unknown. It's also dumb to criticize FSU for "losing 4 games" when the 'Noles played a bonus game that 112 of 120 CFB teams did not.
|Jimbo Fisher 1st 4-Year Minimum Goals (Regular Season)|
Some 'Nole fans will balk at a baseline of 19-5 in the ACC over the next three years, but I think that's quite fair. FSU will play:
@ Virginia Tech
@ Georgia Tech
@ NC State
@ Boston College
@ Boston College
@ Wake Forest
@ Wake Forest
That is no cakewalk. While 19-5 should be the baseline, I think 20-4 is probably a reasonable expectation, along with winning the division in two of the next three years.
But to be sure, FSU fans will love Jimbo as long as he doesn't have a losing record against UF & Miami as Bowden did.
|Record Against Florida & Miami|