8 days until FSU football (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Florida State had its final two-a-day yesterday. It was a light practice without a lot of banging, as FSU prepares for Louisiana Monroe. Kenny Shaw (WR #5 or 6) didn't practice because he has an ankle issue. Willie Haulstead didn't practice, and Fisher would only say that he got banged up in the scrimmage. Does that mean concussion? I hope not, as that would be his second concussion. You'll remember that Haulstead missed the Maryland game last year with a concussion suffered against Clemson. I am also slightly worried about Nick O'Leary's shoulder area, but have been assured that he will be fine by the time FSU plays any meaningful games. Speaking of the Seminoles and Louisiana Monroe...
Louisiana Monroe will have a freshman left tackle make his first college start at FSU against All-America defensive end Brandon Jenkins. Fun
We will have much more on Louisiana Monroe as the week wears on. If you are new here, we are dedicated to providing excellent coverage of the week's opponent as well as the 'Noles, so that you can get the full game experience. FSU doesn't play against itself.
Oh, and Fisher also said that FSU should have a "really good, dominant defense." Jimbo isn't a coach who refuses to praise his team, but I do not remember him saying something like this, even about his offense. My guess is that he really likes this defense, as do I. I know the team still hits in practice more than Jimbo wants, as they are that intense. Fisher has not had anything close to this defense in his time at FSU.
Here is an excellent preview video done by the folks at FSU. I like it not for the information, but for the different camera angles of plays we watched last season.
Miami ruled eight (8) players ineligible and asked for reinstatement. The other five took benefits of less than $100 and will not face penalties. There is no way of knowing how fast the eight (8) will return. Jacory Harris and Sean Spence were included in that group.
http://www.crimsonandcreammachine.com/2011/8/25/2385381/2011-oklahoma-football-defensive-preview-defensive-backs OU should have very good defensive backs, again. But it's OU, what else would yu expect?
http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/8/25/2382240/florida-gators-football-preview-2011 Florida begins 2011 ranked behind, among others, SEC mates Georgia and Mississippi State. Is Will Muschamp's first season in Gainesville going to be one of rebuilding, or are the Gators about to reap some vengeance on all who forgot them?
Below is a small handful of projection and change factors most pertinent to the Football Outsiders' preseason projections you will find in the Football Outsiders Almanac 2011.
Four-Year F/+ Rk 1 Five-Year Recruiting Rk 5 TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin**** +2 / +2.0 Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (7, 6) Yds/Pt Margin***** -2.6
That F/+ Progression chart is one of the most active you're going to see. Florida's offense was great in 2007 and has trended downward ever since. Meanwhile, the defense was fabulous in 2006, below average in 2007, then up and down some more. Makes for an interesting mountain range of an overall trend line. I approve. I've also been looking at way too many of these, apparently. Ignore me.
The most disturbing thing I can say about the 2011 Gators is simply this: almost everything I say in the process of talking myself into Florida (Charlie Weis aside), I would have said 12 months ago, too. Great recent performance? Ridiculous recruiting? Blue-chip talent everywhere on the field? Check, check and check. So that tamps down my excitement a bit, as does the aforementioned ridiculous schedule.
Still, because of upside alone -- and the fresh blood and motivation brought in with the new staff -- the Gators are one of just a few teams on my "It wouldn't surprise me at all if they won the national title" list. (That isn't the same as predicting it, of course. In fact, I am taking the perfect, gray-area stance: if it doesn't happen, then that's fine because I didn't predict it; but if it does, I will try to convince everybody that I nailed it.) You have to have a certain amount of pure, raw potential to pull off a national title run, and Florida passes that test. Now they just need a) the offense to get out of its damn head and play football, and b) a young defensive line to take a step toward dominance. If that happens (and it might not), look out.
(Here's that entire "wouldn't surprise me" list, off the top of my head: Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida. And perhaps Florida State and Notre Dame, though I already regret writing that last one. Strike that one and just put Alabama down a second time. Or Stanford.)
Bill says that, but predicts UF to go 8-4. I can see his point, in that UF certainly has a roster loaded with guys that FSU and Bama wanted on signing day. If everything goes right, and they stay healthy, they could be very good at the end of the year, as we discussed yesterday.
So I don’t think Oregon is going to earn a second straight berth in the B.C.S. National Championship Game. Nor do I even think the Ducks are going to repeat as Pac-12 champs, though the gap between the Ducks and Stanford is so razor-thin as to leave me playing only a hunch, not any real sense of separation between the pair. I do think Oregon will lose the season opener to L.S.U., which for all intents and purposes ends its national title hopes. It’s unfortunate, but no one-loss team outside the SEC is going to play for a national title. And so I’ve played my negative card; let’s look at the overwhelming positives. The offense is absolutely superb — beyond superb, somewhere around superb to the second power. After playing at an all-conference level as a first-year starter last fall, you’re going to see an even better Darron Thomas in 2011. James is one of the nation’s best regardless of position. The receiver corps has a blossoming star in Huff, a great intermediate option in Paulson and a proven target in Tuinei. Defensively, Oregon can again tout strong depth along the line, both at end and at tackle, and once Huff returns the secondary will be the best in the Pac-12. So really, why here? Because I think this team is due to take a subtle step back. Part of this is thanks to some uncertainty along the offensive line. Another concern is a linebacker corps that lost two productive senior leaders. Basically, I think Oregon is just a little worse than it was in 2010 — enough of a drop to go from 12-0 to 10-2, if not 11-1 and atop the Pac-12. I’m giving Stanford the edge, but it’s an awfully tight race.