Florida State Football 2011: 5 Even Bolder Seminoles Predictions
While many fans are still enjoying the success of head coach Jimbo Fisher's first year in Tallahassee, diehard Seminole fans are salivating at the possibilities of what 2011 can bring.
With the No. 1 recruiting class in the country hopefully keeping them on top for years to come, this year's bunch have national title aspirations.
They can prove just how for real they are starting with a win in Week 3 against the AP No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
Here are five predictions for the 2011 Florida State Seminoles.
5. Greg Reid Will Be a Thorpe Award Finalist
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Greg Reid can be described with many adjectives, such as dynamic, explosive, exciting and versatile.
Let's face it, though: Many times last year he looked overmatched. This was especially apparent in the Oklahoma game when Landry Jones humiliated the 'Noles secondary.
During the second half of the season, though, Reid really shined. He became a dominant presence in the return game, amassing more than 1,000 yards combined in kick/punt returns with one touchdown.
In the Chick-Fil-A Bowl he stole the show. He was all over the place with five tackles, two forced fumbles and four passes broken up en route to defensive MVP honors.
If he can build on that game he will definitely be in the running for the Thorpe Award.
4. E.J. Manuel Will Win the Heisman
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
I know, I know—to quote The Miz, really?
How is E.J. Manuel going to compare with the likes of Andrew Luck, Justin Blackmon, Landry Jones, Darron Thomas, LaMichael James or even Denard Robinson? Because he has a top-notch run game and an excellent coach, not to mention a great system.
Also, unlike the other athletes I named, Manuel doesn't have the lofty expectations to live up to, whereas the others are all coming off spectacular seasons.
James and Thomas went to the national championship game last year, Blackmon won the Biletnikoff, Jones is leading the preseason No. 1 team, Robinson had one of the most spectacular seasons by a quarterback ever before fizzling out towards the end, and we all know about Luck.
Florida State has everything it needs in place for Manuel to become a household name and pull a Muhammad Ali by "shocking the world."
3. Jimbo Fisher Will Make People Forget About the Down Years
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Jimbo. That name sounds like a guy you go fishing with on Sundays or your drunk uncle, take your pick.
Whomever his name reminds you of, Jimbo Fisher has been a pleasant surprise replacing the legendary Bobby Bowden as head coach of the 'Noles.
Many were skeptical that Fisher was a suitable successor to Bowden, but going 10-4 in his rookie season as head coach silenced his critics and has fans and alumni expecting bigger things this season.
He showed his recruiting prowess by recruiting the No. 1 freshman class in the country and has most of last year's team back.
Heck, he made Christian Ponder a first-round pick, so this year bodes well for Seminole Nation.
2. The Seminoles Will Go Undefeated
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The above photo has less to do with them going undefeated and is more for my own viewing pleasure, however, I do believe that the 'Noles will go undefeated in 2011.
To go undefeated there have to be a few thing working in their favor:
An Explosive Offense
As I stated before, I believe that E.J. Manuel is Heisman material. They have playmakers at every skill position and a solid offensive line. If the offense can put up points then the 'Noles are going to be dangerous.
A Dominant Defense
Last year they had the top sack unit in the country and will only build on last year's success. With a top duo at cornerback in Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes leading what was their top pass defense in five years, expect the 'Noles to again be a top D.
A Good Schedule
Looking at the schedule, the 'Noles only have one really tough game, which is Week 3 vs. Oklahoma. If the 'Noles can defeat the Sooners, the rest of the schedule looks very manageable. The fact the Miami Hurricanes are looking like they may be facing the death penalty and Florida looking like it may be rebuilding after the loss of Urban Meyer, the 'Noles are looking to soundly defeat their arch-rivals.
Which leads to...
1. The Seminoles Will Be National Champions Again
Yes! (Marv Albert's Voice)
The 'Noles will be national champs again in 2011.
Its been 10 years since they last went to the national title game and 12 since they won.
This is the year that everything can fall into place for Florida State. They have the offense, defense, talent and coaching to win it all.
If they can stay healthy and the defense can continue to get pressure and force turnovers, the Florida State Seminoles will be the 2011-2012 national champions.