Overview: While expectations were not sky high in 2009, there was a lot of hope that the offense would carry this team; the defense was always viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. The Noles opened the season with Miami and it ended up being one of the best games of the year with both teams making several tremendous offensive plays.
The game came down to the final play.......and ended badly when Jarmon Fortson was unable to make a tough catch in the endzone. It was yet another classic FSU-Miami contest. After a dreadful performance against Jacksonville State(a 19-9 win), the Noles headed out to Provo to take on a highly touted BYU team. The offense exploded as we walked with a 54-28 win.
Unfortunately, our best performance was followed by our worst......a 17-7 home loss to USF where we did nothing right, the loss left us at 2-2. As expected it took some time to get over that devastating defeat and the Noles dropped the next two games(28-21 at BC, 49-44 to GT). At 2-4, things looked very bleak going forward.
We showed some heart however bouncing back with an impressive victory at UNC(30-27) and at home vs. NCSU(45-42). Back at 4-4, disaster struck in a road loss to Clemson(40-24) when Quarterback Christian Ponder was lost for the season. Redshirt freshmen E.J. Manuel was called into duty and he led FSU to victories in four of our last five games, including a bowl win over West Virginia(33-21). FSU finished 7-6.
FSU lost the most important figure in the school's athletic history when legendary Head Coach Bobby Bowden retired. Bowden amassed a 304-97-4 record at FSU in 34 years on the job. He won two National Titles, numerous conference championships, and a record 14 straight appearances in the top 5 at the end of the year. His contribution to the program will be remembered forever.
A Look Ahead: New Head Coach Jimbo Fisher takes over with a new coaching staff; expectations are that we will see a much better defense in 2010. The offense should be one of the best in the country with Ponder, a veteran offensive line, and plenty of play-makers.
Rome was not built in a day however, it is clear that FSU needs to upgrade their overall talent level and develop players better than they have the past 10 years. The 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes are a good start.
We would set expectations at the 9-3/8-4 area for 2010. A six game losing streak to UF needs to stop and we get the Gator's at Doak Campbell this year. A win there is probably worth 3-4 in the grand scheme of things. FSU is back to their early October date with Miami, we expect another thriller in a game that rarely does not live up to the hype. Winning the Atlantic division of the ACC should be the primary goal; that would open the door to a possible BCS bid.
Overview: FSU went 22-10(10-6 in the ACC) and lost in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. Leonard Hamilton is building the basketball program through solid recruiting. That is back to back years in the Big Dance for FSU and clearly Coach Hamilton is looking to take the next step.
A Look Ahead: Sophomore 7-1 Center Solomon Alabi decided to enter the NBA draft; he was picked in the second round on Thursday(ends up in Toronto), a result that has to be seen as disappointing for Solomon.
Alabi's decision really hurt the Noles as with him this team was on the cusp of perhaps some great things. Xavier Gibson is going to need to step up while Chris Singleton will need to take his game to the next level. Expectations will be down a notch in 2011, but this team may surprise. The biggest problem is playing in the ACC does not leave a big margin for error, the conference is perhaps the most competitive in the country.
BaseballAnother year, another trip to Omaha, and another disappointing finish. One of these years we are finally going to have a good run in Omaha, sadly it was not this year.
It was still a very solid year including highlights of: Knocking the Gators out of the College World Series(and 4-1 vs. UF this season), a seven game winning streak through the ACC tournament, NCAA Regional, and Super Regional, and Mike McGee's terrific individual season.
A Look Ahead: Has this team reached it's peak under legendary manager Mike Martin? It is hard to know, but despite the disappointing finishes, we are clearly one of the most consistent teams in college baseball. We really deserve a title at this point and one has to think that it is right around the corner.