The Florida State Seminoles come into 2011 as the favorites to win the ACC Championship. The Noles went 10-4 last season under Jimbo Fisher and could have easily been 12-2 if not for close losses to NC State & North Carolina. The Noles also suffered losses to Virginia Tech and a 47-17 loss to Oklahoma. The Seminoles will have their chance at revenge on September 17 when the Sooners come to Tallahassee in what could be the game of the year. Both are Top 5 teams.
The Noles return 5 starters on offense with WR Bert Reed, LT Andrew Datko, RG David Spurlock, RT Zebrie Sanders, and TE Beau Reliford. Back in 2008 the Seminoles landed prize recruit EJ Manuel who is now a Junior. He went 4-2 as a starter last season when Christian Ponder who is now a Viking was injured. There is alot of buzz on campus surrounding Manuel. The talent surrounding him is the best Noles fans have seen in the last decade. The Noles have Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas are in the FSU backfield and James Wilder Jr could see some time as a true freshman.
On defense FSU returns 9 starters with DE Brandon Jenkins, DT Anthony McCloud, DT Everett Dawkins, DT Jaccobi McDaniel, LB Nigel Bradham, CB Greg Reid, CB Xavier Rhodes, S Nick Moody, and S Terrance Parks. Reid and Rhodes may be the best tandem of corners in the country. Reid is a Third Team All American on Special Teams as well. Brandon Jenkins a First Team All American may be the nation's top DE and had 13.5 sacks a year ago. The leader on defense however is LB Nigel Bradham who led the Seminoles with 98 tackles last season. The team was 40th in total defense a year ago and should be one of the best this season.
Jimbo Fisher believes no team is better on special teams than FSU is with K Dustin Hopkins and P Shawn Powell. Powell led the ACC with a 44.3 yard average last year. Hopkins 41 touch backs were #2 in the country.
The ACC is expected to be loaded this year with Virginia Tech, NC State, and Miami ready for good seasons. Maryland and UNC could also be threats. The game to watch though will be September 17 when #2 Oklahoma comes to Doak Campbell Stadium to play the #4 Seminoles. Traveling to The Swamp is always a tough task as well.
9/3 UL Monroe
9/10 Charleston Southern
9/24 @ Clemson
10/8 @ Wake Forest
10/15 @ Duke
10/29 NC State
11/3 @ Boston College
11/26 @ Florida