As I have a day of complete downtime, for once, and we're in a boring period of the college football calendar year, I find myself wanting to generate some buzz with a few questions.
A). What are the minimum expectations for this year? It seems like the consensus is that we must win the ACC and thus make a BCS bowl game, but is a top-5 finish mandatory in everyone's eyes? An unbeaten conference slate? How disappointing would it be and what would be the consequences, if any, of a failure to win the ACC and/or make a BCS game? IIRC, the coaches have been talking about THIS season since BEFORE last season. Everyone in America is sick of the classic year in and year out Seminole hype and letdown (although most of it is unfounded in projecting the future since most of that hype-letdown involved the Lost Decade and we are now far from that). This team has the talent, coaching, depth, etc. ALL AROUND and the
Saban Fisher process is just about fully in place with 3 Fisher recruiting classes - ALL highly rated - on campus.
2). From reading the different opinions of our fans, it seems like there is a mixed bag in terms of recruiting. I'm not sure if our fans are spoiled by the last 3 Fisher recruiting classes (2, 1, 6 per ESPN), if this is a "down year" in state, or if we are doing EXACTLY what we want to do, but it is curious to me our fans reaction to this class as it stands. We have fans content with finishing 14-16 and we have fans that are pissed about our current standings in the rankings on nearly every service (8 on ESPN, 12 on Rivals, 12 on 247, 12 on Scout). What should our expectation be in recruiting this year? We have the ability to take a HUGE class (~24-30 IIRC) and we have a lot of quality guys committed) so are some of our fans aggravated by the fact that we don't have many "top"/headliner recruits committed (although I would argue Green is one), or that we don't have a shot at some of the top prospects (Tunsil, VH III), or that our avg. star ranking (3.47) is low in comparison to the past (3.79 in '12, 3.55 in '11, 3.5 in '10, 3.62 in '09). I'm interested to know exactly what bothers our fans in terms of this recruiting class and what we expect in terms of a realistic finish in this years class that would satisfy our fanbase.
D). How will the position battles at Safety and O-line work themselves out? Many
believe want Karlos Williams to start over Terrance Brooks but has not won the battle up to this point. Is it in the best interest of this team to allow a (perhaps) less prepared, albeit physically superior, Williams to start over Brooks in order to learn the position for the future?
For the offensive line, do we let the sophomores who were thrown into the fire last year continue to be baptized by fire this year in order to grow together and become a solid unit for years to come? Even if the JUCO's and upperclassmen are better than the sophomores?
Adam Scott is Jean van de Velde). Will we finally win all of the games we are supposed to win (not losing to teams like Wake and Virginia)? On a similar note, what are the "trap games" this year, or games that we may be writing off too easily? Phil Steele is picking the Gators to win the the SEC East, which goes completely against the grain of most expert beliefs. Is there a chance that our fanbase is writing off the game against the Gates, who will almost certainly field a top-5 defense and excellent special teams? It seems like most everyone here has chalked that game up as a win without a whole lot of thought.
Every day shouldn't be Saturday because I'd be dead broke). Will EJ finally make the leap to the quarterback that everyone thought he would be when he came in as a 5* recruit? We've seen flashes. He has the running ability and size. There are questions about his durability but the injuries all seem to be random and unrelated, so I question the durability concerns. Those who question Manuel's accuracy fail to point out that Manuel completed >65% of his passes last season and has a career completion percentage of >66% (good for NUMBER F**KING ONE IN SCHOOL HISTORY).
Æ). How will a freshman punter affect our season? Powell was one of, if not THE best punter in the country last season and is probably the most underlooked loss from last year by fans. A great punter helps a defense AND an offense by forcing the opposing team into poor field position and increasing the difficulty of a sustained drive and of making a mistake. What happens if Beatty is not able to be serviceable, and would we see more chances taken by Jimbo on 3rd and 4th down as a result?
Da U The You). Given that we are expected to have the best defensive line in the nation, will we see a more aggressive gameplan by Stoops that involves more varied looks and blitzes? On one hand, if you're getting pressure out of your front 4, then there really is no need to send blitzes. But on the other hand, our secondary is likely to be so good in coverage (with Rhodes, Reid, and Joyner) that we can finally afford to send the blitzes that many fans complained were lacking when Stoops was implementing his scheme and teaching fundamentals (ie. leverage, keys, etc.). I'm not 100% sure if we've seen EVERYTHING the extremely multiple Stoops scheme has to offer, but we're in year 3 of the program and I'd have to think we'll see it all this year and that should include a TON of pressure on opposing QB's by various methods. Trust me, this is not implicating that any changes are needed from the #2 defense in the country last season, but I'm just wondering if we'll see a more aggressive defense and/or what changes we expect to be made this year.
←). What do we expect to happen to the coaching staff after this season? Does the success of our current season depend on it? It seems like Stoops leaving and likely taking Eliot is a foregone conclusion, but I'm curious to know how y'all think it plays out.
Roll Tribe). Do we still expect and/or want a move to the Big 12? I'm not quite sure what the monetary figures are regarding the move, but personally, I'm so sick of this inept conference that I'd be willing to leave even if it meant we broke even financially as a result (which clearly is not the case). Clemson finally growing the balls to make demands of the ACC just goes to show how awful our leadership is as well (cough, Spetman, cough). When you have Fisher and the BOT hinting of wanting a change (along with the rest of the Seminole fanbase) and then Spetman and Barron at odds (even if it is just posturing) I get extremely frustrated, as I'm sure most of y'all do too. Sure, we would get rid of some "rivalries" and ties to the ACC area (which some have hinted may affect our fans interest who live in that area) but I find that argument stupid and believe that most FSU fans want to see the best matchups and do what's best for the program. Given that superconferences seem almost inevitable, do we really want to risk being left out in the sh*tty ACC when it all shakes out? Do we really care enough about basketball to let that be a factor? Enough of the Tobacco Road Conference treating us like crap. Your thoughts?