ESPN released its post-Spring college football poll today. Where did they place the 'Noles? Where do teams on Florida State's schedule rank?
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Previous ranking: 1) The Sooners probably have fewer areas of concern than any other team in the country, which is a big reason why they might be poised to appear in their fifth BCS Championship Game since 2000. Quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Ryan Broyles are back to lead what should be a very prolific offense, albeit under new direction after former offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson left to become Indiana's head coach. It appears OU will use a tailback-by-committee approach to replace departed leading rusher DeMarco Murray, and converted tight end Lane Johnson might have to replace right tackle Jarvis Jones, who will miss several months with a knee injury. Another big concern: All-Big 12 cornerback Jamell Fleming isn't enrolled in classes after reportedly being suspended for academic misconduct. If Fleming doesn't return this fall, it will be a big blow to a thin OU secondary.
No. 3. Florida State: Myriad injuries on the offensive line thwarted FSU's offense during the spring, but quarterback E.J. Manuel looked ready to replace departed starter Christian Ponder on a full-time basis. The Seminoles might also start reaping the rewards of back-to-back nationally ranked recruiting classes. Linebackers Telvin Smith, Christian Jones and Nigel
TerrellBradham and safety Lamarcus Joyner looked like big-time impact players on defense. FSU's conference schedule is favorable -- it doesn't play Georgia Tech, North Carolina or Virginia Tech during the regular season -- and a Sept. 17 home game against Oklahoma might determine whether it's a legitimate BCS title contender.
23. Virginia Tech Hokies (Previous ranking: 22) The Hokies will have a new look on offense in 2011, with Logan Thomas replacing Tyrod Taylor, the winningest quarterback in school history. Coach Frank Beamer also shook up his staff, giving play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain. Thomas, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, had a good spring. Dynamic kick returner David Wilson takes over at tailback, after Darren Evans and Ryan Williams entered the NFL draft. The Hokies bring back four starting offensive linemen and most of their top receivers. The defense returns seven starters, but much of the line will have to be replaced. The Hokies' nonconference schedule isn't as demanding as it usually is and they play ACC Coastal foes Miami and North Carolina at home.
24. Florida Gators (Previous ranking: 20) If Will Muschamp is going to build an SEC contender in his first season as a head coach, the Gators will have to find playmakers on offense. Quarterback John Brantley had mixed results during spring practice, but the Gators were excited about tailback Chris Rainey's work in offensive coordinator Charlie Weis' pro-style attack. Former quarterbacks Trey Burton and Jordan Reed also adjusted well to their new roles on offense. The Gators suffered a big blow on defense when All-SEC cornerback Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from the team last week following his arrest on marijuana charges. Jenkins was arguably the Gators' best player on defense and top NFL prospect.
What are your thoughts?
Personally, I can make an argument for FSU being anywhere from 3 to 10. But because writers react to wins and losses relatively, and always want to validate their pre-season rankings, you should always root for FSU to be ranked #1 to open the season regardless of merit. Where a team starts absolutely helps to determine where it finishes.
Also, if you haven't figured it out by now, it absolutely pays to schedule favorably, as Wisconsin has done yet again.
I also think Virginia Tech is too low.