Florida State Seminoles – 2012
Over the last 5 years no AQ college football team has enjoyed a greater talent gap between itself and the next 10 best teams in their conference than Florida State. They have been above the CFBMatrix BCS berth line since 2005 and have not even been close to the National Championship Game.
There are only 9 other teams that have been at the same level of recruited talent as the Seminoles since 2005. Alabama, Texas, USC, Ohio State, Florida, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Oklahoma. Georgia and Florida State are the only two NOT to make it to the title game and I give Georgia a much bigger pass for being in the SEC. I cannot imagine how absolutely frustratedly pissed Nole fan is right now (especially the Tomahawk Nation fans). So much talent, so little competition, so many missed opportunities.
So the Noles landed another elite class in 2012. They have a four year adjusted talent ranking of #4 so the #6 class just piled on to it. Whatever. Elites reload and win games regardless of returning starters.
With 18 starters back, a lot of fans will point to that as a big reason for hope and any subsequent successes in 2012. However, the trends for elite recruiters like FSU paint a different story. They reload and returning starter numbers have shown to have little if any year over year impact on total wins. The critical number is 9 starters on defense and the kicker. The rest is a wash.
My big question mark is Jimbo Fisher. I put him on my 2012 Hot Seat because he has two straight years of under performance. The 2010 season was just one game off the expected result but 2011 was not good. If you don’t agree, how pleased are you with another 9-3 season?
He was only vulnerable to teams with a field adjusted talent rank of #25 or better until the huge upsets by Wake and Virginia last year. If he coaches even to a #25 talented team there are only 4 potential loses in 2012. Anything less than 10 wins is another big under coaching effort by Fisher and Co.
2012 Schedule Breakdown
This is nearly the same schedule as 2011. Both times this team has the talent to get to 12-0 and win the ACC to get into the NCG. Anything less than 10-2 is a wasted season….again. Fisher has fallen into a clear pattern of upset loses (besides Wake) and the schedule has 4 this year. Clemson, at Miami, Florida and fortunately, at Virginia Tech. The odds of an upset on the road or home are equal in 2012. The other 8 I would bet straight up right now, no problem. The Noles title run starts September 22, 2012.
Win. Win. Win. That is how 2012 will start for the Seminoles. Three home games, three wins. The game with Clemson on the 22nd could be for the season and the division title. This is a game that Clemson and Swinney are not prone to pull off a win as he has one road upset win in the last 2 years. 4-0.
The next two are the same as the first three games. Win. Win. Certainly these two with NC State and an over rated South Florida team are nowhere near the level of the first three games but the Noles and Fisher have no business losing either game.
The game at Miami is very interesting. Fisher has lost to good and bad coaches alike so there is no pattern of expectations on the road. But countering Fisher’s coach effect is the talent at Miami and an inability to win against talented teams at home in 2011. This could be a Noles loss IF they get some really bad breaks. No worries about a trap game as the next week they get to pound Duke.
They should enter the bye at 9-0 and in the top 3 to 5 in the BCS polls. Not only do the Seminoles get the bye to prep for the Virginia Tech, the Hokies are coming off a road trip to Miami and are twice as likely to lose at home than the road. Plus Beemer has 1 (one) win in the last 4 years at home when the Matrix predicted him to lose. 10-0.
Nice trap game in Maryland. The Noles will be looking WAY past that game on the road especially if they are 10-0 and looking to the showdown with the Gators. They should not lose that game, nor the hosting Florida the next week as Muschamp is yet to beat an elite team. This is one of 7 teams that has a 12-0 schedule to start the season. A top 5 team that should win their division and conference while making a run at the national title game. However, Fisher hasn’t proven to have the goods to make a 12-0 or even an 11-1 run. Clemson, the Hokies or Florida upsets them as they fall short of the BCS title game berth.
- Dave Bartoo, The CFBMatrix & your Anti-Homer Follow @cfbmatrix