Florida State: The good, the bad and the ugly so far…

After some key injuries, suspensions and early defeats, the season has not started well for the Seminoles. We take a closer look.

Since the end of last season the hopes were high, the attitude was positive, and the anticipation was almost unbearable for the beginning of the 2017 college football season. This is true for all fans and athletic departments around the country, but even more expected for the Florida State Seminoles, who were returning a loaded roster, a talented group of recruits, and an experienced quarterback, something they have not had since Jameis Winston a few years ago.  

Yes, the schedule would be difficult and yes, they opened with a tough opponent in facing the Alabama Crimson Tide but win-or-lose, everyone including the experts and fans still had high hopes for the season. Those hopes and dreams took a hit throughout the game against Alabama and into the fourth quarter and then those hopes got destroyed with the injury to Deandre Francois. Then if things weren’t bad enough, last week happened and the vaunted Seminoles lost at home to the NC State Wolfpack. Fast forward to today and here we are.

The Good 

Full disclosure, I am an enormous Seminole fan and live and die with this team throughout the CFB season. My opinion may be biased, but I’ll try to give you the straight details. It didn’t take long to see the good in this team; they went toe to toe against the number one team in the country and gave them all they could handle. The game was a lot closer than the score ended up being. If not for a couple turnovers and one mental breakdown on coverage, the teams were equal. The difference I saw was Alabama was the more disciplined team and better coached team. Nick Saban had his guys prepared for that game and it was their discipline that ended up winning out. 

The good was how well Florida State’s offensive line played against the ever-hyped Alabama front four; they played a mistake free game and did more than enough to be a bright spot in the game. The good was how well Florida State’s defense played, only giving up one bad play on a mistake in coverage. The defense was put in tough spots all night after several turnovers by the offense.

Even after they lost their starting quarterback, the good was seeing James Blackman come in against NC State and throw for 278 yards on 22 of 38 completions and a touchdown. The good was seeing him command the offense and hang in the pocket and make throw after throw. Blackman has a strong arm, isn’t afraid to make the throw, and already has swag and confidence. The good is that Jimbo is great with young QBs.

The Bad

Even though the Seminoles are only two games in, there is already enough bad to alarm even the most positive Seminole fan out there. While the offensive line played well against Alabama, they struggled with NC State, allowing the Wolfpack’s talented defensive line constantly to disrupt the young Seminole QB. Several times Bradley Chubb was found finishing the play on top of the down Seminole QB, including several hits questionable for being late. But the real bad was just how poorly the Seminole defense played.

After losing their leader in Francois, the defense was the lone reason that people still had high hopes for season. Thinking they could keep the ‘Noles in every game. But against the Wolfpack, they were missing tackles, unable to get real pressure on Ryan Finley who finished with 230 yards and 2 TD’s, and unable to contain Jaylen Samuels who had a rushing TD, a receiving TD and even threw for 25 yards.

The bad was that after a two-week layoff the Seminoles came into a game unprepared and got out-played by a talented team, but one that was a double-digit underdog for a reason. The bad got worse in the game when FSU lost starting linebacker Matthew Thomas along with wide receiver Auden Tate to injury, and later lost their other linebacker Roderick Hoskins to a targeting ejection in the second half, so the implications are that he will miss the first half of the Wake Forest game. 

The Ugly

The upcoming schedule is the Ugly. While Wake Forest looks on paper like a team that FSU should roll over, I don’t think you can take any game for granted. Let’s assume they get a W against the Demon Deacons, then you follow it up against your most hated rival in the Miami Hurricanes, who lost last year’s game against FSU by a blocked extra point. A rival that has a very experienced and fast defense. Follow the Canes up with the 4-0 Duke Blue Devils before you play Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals, the same Louisville team that hung 63 points on the Noles last season. 

Next, a trip to Boston College against an always tough defense, a Syracuse game at home in Doak against a competitive Dino Babers’ team; all tough games before you face the reigning National Champion Clemson Tigers’ and the best defense in college football. After that game they finally get that cupcake in Delaware State before finishing with their other rival in the Florida Gators at home. 

My season outlook, again coming from a die-hard fan, is that Florida State is too
loaded on both sides of the ball to lose against several of the teams on their schedule, I think they get Wake, Duke, BC, Syracuse and Delaware State for sure. I think they beat Miami and Florida (both games at Doak). I think they beat Louisville in a revenge game from last year and I think they play a close game against Clemson, but Clemson comes out on top. I see an 8-3 regular season that could easily be 9-2 or 7-5. This team is still talented on both sides of the ball and with every game, true freshman QB Blackman will only get better.

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