Last Year: By the standards of most programs, last year was a success for Florida State. By the lofty standards of the Seminoles, it was a bit of a disappointment. Two conference losses at home and getting blown out by Florida is not what the fans expect.
They finished the season first in scoring offense and second in total offense. The 'Noles averaged over 33 points per game. On defense, they finished third in total defense and fifth in scoring defense, allowing just over 20 points per game.
The problem for FSU was turnovers. In their four losses they gave up the ball 17 times. 12 of those turnovers were interceptions. Despite having the second best running attack in the conference, mistakes in the passing game cost the Seminoles a chance to play for the conference title.
Why They Could Be Better: Christian Ponder is one year older and presumably more savvy as a quarterback. Those dreadful games where he literally cost his team a chance to win were a part of growing up as a quarterback. In their victories he took care of the ball and often carried the offense with a combination of passing and running. All signs point to a more polished and consistent performance this year from Ponder.
Ponder will also have an experienced offensive line this year. They get everyone back from last year and the line should be better at doing the things Jimbo Fisher is trying to do with the offense. That means running the ball between the tackles and taking an aggressive approach to the power running game. It also means Ponder will not be running for his life all the time.
Why They Could Be Worse: defense wins championships and it also takes pressure of the offense. This year FSU will field a brand new defense, with just three returning starters from last season. The Noles recruit well and have the best defensive coordinator in the country, but they have too many new faces to expect a championship caliber effort this year.
The other concern is the skill positions on offense. FSU will have a new group of receivers and a new stable of running backs this year. Gone are the big tall guys at receiver that can get up and pull down balls over top of defensive backs. Instead it is a much smaller crew that lacks the play-making ability we are used to seeing at FSU.
What To Expect: Bobby Bowden is not about to forget how the BC offense beat up his defense last year. Expect FSU to try and turn this one into a track meet and take away the BC running game. That means they will come in looking to throw the ball and exploit the BC linebacking corp with crossing patterns.
For BC, this is all about the physical game. The FSU defense is young and will have trouble with the running game. Expect BC to run right at the FSU defense daring them to load the box and sell out on stopping Haden and Harris. By this point, BC will have enough of a passing game to take advantage of it.
Prediction: The world will expect an easy FSU win, but the match-ups favor Boston College. After two tough losses, look for the Eagles to step up and beat a team that is not quite ready to seize control of the division. BC 24 FSU 21.
Two-A-Days: Florida State
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