looks like it’s going to be Florida State. Here’s Ivan Maisel’s pronouncement:
Because the head coach is Jimbo Fisher and, for the first time since 1975, not Bobby Bowden, there are still more questions than answers at Florida State. But keep in mind these numbers about the Seminoles: they have 18 returning starters, including one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Christian Ponder, and an astounding 142 career starts on the offensive line. If new coordinator Mark Stoops’ defense stops anyone, watch out for Florida State.
Every year there’s this team that gets all sorts of buzz from the pundits that I frankly don’t grasp. In 2009, it was the Razorbacks, mainly because Petrino is a certified offensive genius (at least by the pundits). Of course that meant ignoring the rather sizeable flaws that team had on defense and special teams.
This year’s love seems to be flowing in the direction of Tallahassee, and, again, I’m not sure why. First off, Steele says FSU brings back 14 starters, not the 18 that Maisel lists. Second, while I like Christian Ponder, it’s worth remembering that he missed the last four games of 2009 with an injury, and for a QB with a high completion percentage, he sure throws a lot of interceptions and takes a lot of sacks.
But mainly it’s that defense that I can’t get past. We bitch about where Willie’s defense wound up last year, but compared with FSU’s, Martinez looked like Nick Saban. Georgia finished 38th in total defense in 2009, yielding 338+ ypg. The Seminole defense of 2009 yardage of 434+ ypg was good for 108th nationally. So while “stopping anyone” can’t hurt, I don’t see how that’s going to be enough to move FSU back into the ranks of the elite.
Yes, all of those returning starts on the offensive line are impressive. But FSU wasn’t exactly shabby in that department last year. For all that, Florida State finished 59th nationally in rushing offense and 40th in sacks allowed – certainly not horrible, but not that great either.
All in all, I don’t see it adding up to as much as he suggests. I guess I’m wondering if Maisel will be warning his readership to watch out for Georgia this season.