Florida State Football: 2011 Starts with University of Louisiana-Monroe

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Florida State Football: 2011 Starts with University of Louisiana-Monroe
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles reacts after their 26-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Finally, the 2011 college football season begins—in six days at least. This means the Florida State Seminoles will be starting their journey to either another let-down season or a hype-matched year sending them to a BCS bowl (their first since 2005).

Florida State starts their year off against the University of Louisiana-Monroe, a team in the Sun Belt conference who finished 5-7 last season.

While many would view this as a cupcake opponent for the Seminoles (and on paper it certainly is), Florida State should be viewing this as an opportunity to break in their new quarterback and to perfect their defense.

The obvious factor in this contest will be the two-week countdown to Oklahoma, but ask head coach Jimbo Fisher and he'll be the first to tell you that UL Monroe is the main focus, not Oklahoma—but he's not fooling anyone.

Florida State will run through UL Monroe with ease, but Oklahoma will be in the back of their minds this week and also next week when they matchup against Charleston Southern, an FCS team.

The Seminoles should be using both games as extra practice for the Sooners. Florida State is in position to be a great team this season, possibly a championship-caliber team, but they must prove that against the best.

Quarterback E.J. Manuel is relatively unknown in the college football world at this moment in time, but solid performances against UL Monroe and Charleston Southern might project him into a national conversation when Oklahoma comes to town.

The offense will also most likely be without running back Chris Thompson, who will be out with a back injury, but true freshman James Wilder, Jr., might get to make his debut against UL Monroe, which will have 'Noles fans excited.

The defense will be on display as one of the top units in the country and while the competition isn't going to be particularly tough, they will still get to showcase their talent. Cornerbacks Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes form one of the best tandems in the country and the defensive line boasts Brandon Jenkins, one of the best defensive ends in all of college football.

The game will most likely be a blowout, but it's back to football and the magic is buzzing around Florida State.

Will they match the hype and finally get over the hump?

All of the questions will start pouring in on Saturday and many of the questions will be answered against Oklahoma on September 17.

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