Florida State has fallen on rough times in recent years, but they finally look ready to take the next step towards an ACC Championship and a BCS bid.
The Seminoles are led by quarterback EJ Manuel, who is primed for an excellent senior season. Also working in their favor is an elite pass rush and excellent overall defense.
Every game will present its own unique challenges for the Seminoles, but they can feel confident in their ability to win the ACC and have a chance at a national championship.
With this in mind, here are some preliminary Vegas-style odds for the Seminoles in 2012.
The Seminoles open their season at home with a tune-up game against Murray State.
There is no way the Seminoles lose this game, and a blowout victory is all but certain. A 35 point spread might even be generous to Murray State.
With a game to tune-up, Florida State will be even more dangerous as they take on Savannah State.
This should be another blowout, as Florida State will roll over the inferior competition.
Florida State will face their first real test against Wake Forest, but they should be more than up to the task.
Wake should succeed in slowing down the Florida State offense, but they simply don't have the firepower to make this game a nail-biter.
Expect a closer game, but Florida State should prevail without too much exertion.
This game could decide the Atlantic division representative in the ACC Championship Game, so this is without question the biggest game on Florida State's schedule.
Last year, Clemson beat the Seminoles in a nail-biter, and they have the offensive firepower to do it again. Clemson returns star quarterback Tajh Boyd, as well as dynamic options at running back and wide receiver.
Ultimately, though, Florida State is more of an overall team, and their defense should be able to hold Clemson off just enough for EJ Manuel to lead Florida State to a very close victory.
Florida State will undoubtedly be emotionally drained after a tough game at Clemson, making this a potential letdown game.
While the Seminoles will certainly be favored by a solid margin, they could struggle to beat the spread.
Ultimately, though, the Seminoles are just too good to lose to an inconsistent South Florida team. It might be messy, but the Seminoles will get it done.
North Carolina State was a decidedly middle-of-the-pack team last year, and there is no reason to believe that they will be anything different this year.
The Wolfpack does return senior quarterback Mike Glennon, who is a solid player. Glennon could lead the Wolfpack to a potential upset, but it's hard to imagine Florida State losing to a mediocre team like this.
Expect the Seminoles to win in a close game.
This game has a very real chance to be a shutout victory for the Seminoles. Boston College has almost no offense to speak of, and the Seminoles' defense should dominate in an easy win.
The offense might struggle a bit against Boston College's solid defense, so a spread that will likely favor Florida State greatly might be a little overzealous in proclaiming the Seminoles as winners.
Miami was only a mediocre team last season, and they lost their leading rusher and leading receiver in Lamar Miller and Tommy Streeter, respectively.
There is no reason to believe that the Hurricanes will be able to score points in this one, but their stellar defense should keep the game close.
Again, Florida State will just be too good for the Hurricanes, who stand a very real chance of being shut out.
Duke might have Florida State's number at basketball, but football will never be a strong point for Duke.
That means that Florida State should be able to dominate in a cakewalk after five straight tough games.
The only team that should be favored against Florida State is Virginia Tech, and with good reason.
The Hokies return a potential first-round pick at quarterback as well as one of the best defenses in the country.
Playing in the rocking Lane Stadium on national television, Tech will be pumped for this game and should be able to handle the Seminoles.
Maryland is a program in disarray. After a dismal 2011 season, the Terps will be excited for a fresh start, but they lack stability at quarterback and their talent is mediocre.
The only reason the Terps could possibly stay in this game is because they will be extra motivated playing a top team like Florida State at home.
The Seminoles should still be able to handle the Terps with relative ease.
Sadly, the Florida Gators are no longer the dominant team they once were, and this once fierce rivalry could turn one-sided this year.
Florida's solid defense should keep them in the game, but Florida State will mostly dominate en route to a reasonably easy victory.