College Football 2014 Preview – Florida State

Coming off their BCS National Championship win, Florida State is favored to repeat this season.

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Coming off their BCS National Championship win, Florida State is favored to repeat this season.

The team returns Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston.  Winston threw for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns (and another four rushing touchdowns) last season and is the preseason favorite to win the Heisman again.

However, he will have to find a rapport with new playmakers at wide receiver this season, as two of his top three receivers are gone.  The top returning receiver is Rashad Greene, who had 1,128 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.  Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary (557 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns) will be heavily targeted until other players emerge.

At running back, Karlos Williams will be the featured back.  Williams is extremely talented and could put together a huge season after rushing for 748 yards (8.2 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns.  Additionally, the offensive line will again be a strength, with four starters returning, including potential first-rounder Cameron Erving at left tackle.

On defense, Florida State is equipped for another dominant season.  The secondary lost two starters, including playmaker Lamarcus Joyner, but returns two corners with shutdown ability in Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams.

Similarly, the defensive line also reloads and is led by junior Mario Edwards, who was exceptional in the National Championship against Auburn.  Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman replaces All-American Timmy Jernigan; Goldman has big shoes to fill, but could be a future NFL star in his own right.

At linebacker, leading tackler Telvin Smith is gone, as is Christian Jones, but the team has plenty of young talent at the position to complement junior Terrance Smith.  In particular, Matthew Thomas could be the next All-American at the position.

Finally, Florida State returns Lou Groza winner Roberto Aguayo at kicker.  Aguayo was a huge weapon and a game-changer in his first year.

Florida State begins its schedule by facing off against Oklahoma State in Arlington, Texas.  Other big games include Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida at home and a road game against Miami.  The schedule is difficult but still sets up favorably for Florida State to make the first ever College Football Playoff.

Florida State currently stands at 11-2 to repeat as national champs, which is tied with Alabama for the best odds.  They are also heavy favorites to win the ACC at 4-11.