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Florida State football, recruiting news: How would FSU do in the other Power Five conferences?

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NCAA Football: Florida State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Florida State Seminoles: 8.9 projected mean wins in ACC

Conference swaps

Big 12: 9.3 wins (FSU would win 9.3 games in the Big 12)

Big Ten: 9.7 wins

Pac-12: 8.8 wins

SEC: 8.4 wins

The Seminoles' schedule is already closely aligned in terms of difficulty with the other top conferences because of a pair of nonconference SEC showdowns to bookend the season. Florida State kicks off its season in a neutral-site showdown with Ole Miss next week and closes the year hosting Florida. Throw in tough league games against Louisville and Clemson, and there are four opponents against which FSU needs to be at its best to defeat. If the Seminoles were in the Big Ten instead of the ACC, our numbers would forecast 0.8 more victories, whereas Florida State's projected record in the other Power 5 conferences would be within a half-game of its current projection.

  • Tom Lungin of ESPN broke down Florida State QB Deondre Francois from his high school days. Although the writer says Francois still has aspects he needs to work on, the starter will have a great supporting cast that will help him out.

Why he was highly ranked: Francois was a pitching machine at IMG Academy. Very few prospects over the last 10 years have showed such effortless ability flick the football with power and velocity the way he can. He has such a smooth motion and mechanics that come naturally. He has quality, but not necessarily, dynamic athleticism, which makes him a thrower first and runner second.

What he’ll have to learn on the fly: He’ll have to adjust to the pace and speed of the game, especially when running the offense from the line of scrimmage. Game management for young players can be risky so he must be careful, but not lose his confidence to just let it rip. His continued understanding of pass protection will be a premium element so that he can protect the offense and himself.

How he will perform: Expect some early speed bumps. He will not be Jameis Winston overnight. He’ll have some spectacular moments with his arm, but also some boneheaded attempts. The good news is that he is surrounded by such good personnel that catastrophic mistakes can likely be avoided.

As I wrote earlier this month, the ‘Noles have the making of another special team -- as they should every so often given the ridiculous recruiting riches Jimbo Fisher brings in annually. The wild-card is redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, but I’m guessing a guy who’s produced three straight first-round quarterbacks (Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston) and a No. 1 pick before that (LSU’s JaMarcus Russell) will figure that out.

“I won't compare him to a guy that played here a few years ago,” Fisher reportedly told a local booster club last week, “but when he plays, you'll like what you see."

The ‘Noles handle TCU in their semifinal matchup, then top LSU for the title in what will be a de facto home game Jan. 9 in Tampa.

On Cook winning the Heisman:

The way the Heisman works, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and LSU’s Leonard Fournette all enter 2016 at a disadvantage simply by beginning the year on top. The explosive tailback is hardly an unknown, rushing for 1,691 yards and 19 TDs in 2015, but he will feel like the trendy alternative Heisman voters crave.

Cook opens his campaign with a prime showcase Labor Day night against Ole Miss, surges to No. 1 by beating Watson head to head on Oct. 29 and stays there the rest of the way.

It's silly to call a former 5-star recruit a "sleeper" but it feels like Josh Sweat is flying under the radar this summer. Derwin James gets a lot of attention and he deserves that attention, but Sweat could really have a big year for FSU this year. Sweat was injured during his senior year so he didn't get a lot of playing time early last year, but once he did he really showed why he was so highly rated. With a full offseason and an upgraded defense around him, I think Sweat has a breakout year.