College Football 2012: Why Florida State Will Prove to Be Unworthy of Top 10
For the second straight year, the Florida State Seminoles come into the new season trying to justify their preseason top-10 ranking. After an early three game losing streak, the 'Noles finished 2011 a disappointing 9-4.
Currently ranked #7 in the coaches' poll, Florida State has several obstacles standing in the way of not only a top-10 finish, but also an ACC championship. For a program that was a perennial powerhouse throughout the '90's and is looking to return to those glory days, 9-4 and a bowl win over Notre Dame is not going to cut it.
Unfortunately for 'Noles fans, it looks like the return of those "glory days" will have to wait at least another season. There are several reasons that Florida State will ultimately prove unworthy again of such a high preseason ranking.
Lack of a Standout at WR
Coming into camp, the biggest question mark for Florida State is at wide receiver. Last year, five FSU receivers caught at least 26 passes, but none finished with more than Rashad Greene's 38.
Greene is looking to improve on that number, and in his defense, he did miss four games due to an Achilles' injury. Staying on the field may prove to be his biggest challenge.
He sustained a concussion in spring practice, and according to David M. Hale of ESPN.com, "he won't be at full speed in practice for another week after undergoing an appendectomy two weeks ago."
Considering the 'Noles were last in the ACC in 2011 at protecting the quarterback (33 sacks), E.J. Manuel may find it crucial to have that No. 1 guy he can trust when the pocket collapses. Florida State's coaches have already identified this need.
Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com reports that "Coach Jimbo Fisher said during ACC media days that while he loves all the depth he has at receiver and tight end, what he really wants to do is identify the playmakers he can count on the most for this season."
Over the last 12 years, no one has taken more penalties in college football than Florida State. Mental mistakes are not something usually associated with championship-hopeful teams.
Yet a lot of times, sheer talent can make up for a lot of those mental mistakes. There's no question about the talent level on the defensive side of the ball. However, with tough road games at Miami (FL) and at Virginia Tech, does the offense have enough firepower to overcome what clearly seems to be a never-ending disciplinary problem?
What it really comes down to for Florida State is that if they don't go undefeated, they have little chance of playing for a title. Even a two-loss team from the SEC or the Big 12 would have a better chance to play for the BCS National Championship than an 11-1 Seminole team.
With an early season matchup on September 22nd at home vs. Clemson, a loss there would certainly end any title talk. The 'Noles could go 10-3 and they'd be lucky if that got them a No. 12 or No. 13 ranking come November. Playing in the ACC will do that to you.
Florida State is on its way back...it's just not all the way there yet.