Florida State football is back. I opened up the google reader this morning and boom, plenty of articles with which I can fill the 'Noles News. Not much came out of practice yesterday, and we already covered the press conference here quite extensively in the comment section. I won't waste your time stretching Fisher's quotes out over five or six days. I am, however, going to worry about Willie Haulstead, Nick O'Leary(shoulder/collarbone), and Chris Thompson (back) until I am told that I should not worry about them. Fisher may say different, and some may be practicing, but I do not believe FSU is out of the woods yet with these injuries. I think O'Leary and Thompson will play this week. I want to see how well.
Why FSU & VT? This was without a doubt the easiest prediction to make. On the Coastal side Virginia Tech has so ruled the division that picking against them without a legitimate contender is absolutely asinine. On the Atlantic side as much as I'd like to go against the grain when my love of all things Saban combines with the ridiculous transition in coaching or quarterback in the division what you're left with a massive vortex of "huh?" That means the Noles get the nod as the best team in the conference.
In Charlotte we'll get a rematch and this time the Florida State team is not the young guys taking on the veterans. Tyrod is gone and now EJ Manuel will be the guy with big game experience and Jimbo's second trip should be fruitful in the Queen City. Here is where the Seminoles make that step into the national spotlight by getting to their first BCS game in years. http://inthebleachers.net/2011-articles/august/itbs-2011-college-football-season-conference-predictions.html
6. FLORIDA STATE.There's been no shortage of "Seminole Rising" headlines over the past six weeks hailing FSU's return to claim its birthright among the elite, most of them citing the perennial reservoir of talent. But at its root, the latest, most effusive round of optimism is less about the specifics of the 2011 roster than it is the general line of progress coming off Jimbo Fisher's first season as head coach. He accomplished his primary goal, reestablishing some momentum after a decade of stagnation and decline under septuagenarian Bobby Bowden. The 'Noles are not only a talented, experienced lineup coming off a division title; by the end of 2010, there was a palpable sense for the first time in ages that the program is actually moving forward.
That sense, combined with a talented, experienced lineup, a manageable schedule and pollsters apparently determined to see the Seminoles as the garnet-and-gold-clad Horsemen of the Apocalypse who ran roughshod over college football throughout the nineties, has bought them a ticket that says "BCS or Bust." The recent history of power programs breaking through in their second year under a new head coach only raises the stakes. http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/BlogPoll-Countdown-6-10-The-Short-List?urn=ncaaf-wp5550
An ACC team will compete for a national title for the first time in a decade. Florida State has studs all over the place on defense, and more than enough talent on offense to make a run for the title. It has depth, so special teams should be strong, and it's new starting quarterback, E.J. Manuel, has actually started seven games and has played well against excellent competition. He will have a fantastic year, and Jimbo Fisher will show people why he was regarded so highly by his peers before taking over for Bobby Bowden. http://www.foxsportssouth.com/08/29/11/Five-ACC-stories-to-follow/landing.html?blockID=555442
You want an excellent schedule for this weekend? You got it: http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/8/29/2390071/ncaa-football-tv-schedule-game-times-2011 Printable version also available.
Awesome work from our Clemson site, STS: http://www.shakinthesouthland.com/2011/8/30/2392652/inside-the-clemson-offense-conflicting-the-defensive-end FSU's defensive ends must play well against Clemson and cannot be undisciplined.
Thoughts on UF's newly-released depth chart: http://www.alligatorarmy.com/2011/8/29/2391740/florida-gators-depth-chart-florida-atlantic
Be glad FSU doesn't play Carolina this year. I have no idea what their mentality will be after losing Butch Davis, but that roster is scary good. Breakdown.
Excellent review of the changes to the Boston College depth chart from BCI: http://www.bcinterruption.com/2011/8/29/2391974/boston-college-depth-chart-for-northwestern-game
Thoughtson Duke's depth chart from the head coach. I know, I know, but FSU does play Duke this year.
Tremendous article on the history of Oklahoma football: http://espn.go.com/colleges/oklahoma/football/story/_/id/6902921/oklahoma-state-football-legacy-changed-lloyd-noble
Remember the pick-6 EJ threw off a tip in the ACC Championship game? Remember how we said it was not a great read, but was still bad luck? About that:
On the Seminoles’ second drive, they had second and 6 at the 20. Manuel threw a pass to Rodney Smith. But after Manuel’s play-action fake, Taylor immediately charged from the middle of the field, to his right, toward Smith. He dove and tipped the ball. It landed in Gouveia-Winslow’s hands, and he ran it back 24 yards for a touchdown that put Tech up 7-3. Strangely enough, it all happened after Gouveia-Winslow got out of position.
"I read run," he said of the play-action. "I had come up. And the fullback had gotten behind me. He was going to the flat. I turned around and I’m out of position. I’m running to the flat. Then I see the wide out. He had his hands up like the ball was coming. I kind of went to him. Bruce had got his hands on the ball and it fell in my hands. I was just at the right spot at the right time. I didn’t see the ball get thrown. I was out of position, so I was running back. http://www.gobblercountry.com/2011/8/30/2392800/virginia-tech-hokies-jeron-gouveia-winslow-starting-linebacker
You can't judge a game on one or two plays and you can't judge a season on one or two games. Sample set, people.
Interesting look at the resurgent N.C. State defense http://www.backingthepack.com/2011/8/29/2390379/welcome-back-d
Best Case/Worst Case for Oklahoma http://www.blatanthomerism.com/2011-articles/august/best-case-worst-case-2011-oklahoma-sooners.html
http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/8/29/2390726/college-football-conference-realignment-oklahoma-sooners-texas-am or why four superconferences of 16 won't work. Compelling article from Bill Connelly.
They make fun of Phil Steele. We laugh. All in good fun. http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2011/8/29/2388157/randy-steeles-2011-college-football-preview
HD says the ACC's goal for week one is to avoid an embarrasing loss http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/27982/week-1-goal-avoid-embarrassing-loss
For much of the winter, spring and summer, I was poised to place L.S.U. atop this list. Why? Because I loved the addition of Kragthorpe, thought Jefferson would turn a corner as a senior and, as always, had the utmost faith that this defense would deliver. I still think the defense is as good as it comes, and that’s why I still believe L.S.U. can make a run towards a national title. But today, about a month after Kragthorpe’s health issues caused him to relinquish his coordinator duties, after Jefferson made such a foolish error as to put his entire college career in doubt, the same old questions about the L.S.U. offense arise once again. It’s such a shame. The defense is national title-worthy: deep and talented up front, strong in the middle and among the best in the country in the secondary, the Tigers can stop any team in the country. But this offense… Alright, so maybe the simple change at coordinator, even if it’s to Studwara, will be enough to right the ship on that side of the ball. The Tigers can’t be much worse, to be honest, and should be at least a touch better thanks to a deep offensive line and some young, unproven talent in the backfield and at receiver. In addition, I think we’ll see an improved Lee at quarterback; experience trumps all, and Lee has taken a ton of key snaps for this offense. I still think, from top to bottom, that the Tigers can win the national title. But Alabama seems far more complete on both sides of the ball — not to mention Stanford, Florida State, Boise State and Oklahoma. I still think L.S.U. can take home the SEC and play for a title; I just think it’s a little less likely based on the developments over the last 30 days. LSU #6 via PreSnapRead http://www.presnapread.com/no-6-l-s-u/
Is the Andrew Lucklove affair overshadowing the retooling Stanford needs to do at several positions heading into 2011? That’s a rhetorical question, as we all know the answer. But Luck is that good, and I don’t even need to tell you that. He’s good enough to lift this team on his back — like a Tebow at Florida, McCoy at Texas, Vick at Virginia Tech, Crouch at Nebraska — and carry it all the way to the national title game, which is a scenario very much in play should the Cardinal take out Oregon in early November. That’s receiving early points for the national game of the year for a reason: two teams with all that intrigue listed above, with the largest difference being that Stanford shouldn’t really lose — shouldn’t, but could — to any team before or after that game; Oregon could very well lose to L.S.U. on Saturday, though the Tigers’ continuing issues under center are reason to favor Oregon. What does Stanford need to do in order to beat the Ducks, let alone top all comers en route to the Pac-12 title game? At least two receivers need to step up to replace the departed targets. The offensive line must also rebuild on the fly, as must the defensive front. The secondary needs to play up to expectations. And in this intangible way, Stanford needs to retain the sort of confidence that propelled it forwards throughout last season. You can’t judge the latter, but it’s the most important thing the Cardinal can take from Harbaugh to Shaw. As for 2012: I can’t say today that I believe in the future of this program in quite the same way I did 12 months ago. But Shaw will have a wonderful opportunity to show his worth on the field, off the field and on the recruiting trail. Let’s talk about 2012 in 2012. For now, the Cardinal are built for another run towards B.C.S. success. http://www.presnapread.com/no-5-stanford/ Stanford is #5