The Florida State Seminoles are expected to be very good in 2017 but are they one of the two best teams in college football? It’s possible, but Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC may have something to say about that.
Either way, Bill Connelly of SB Nation recently produced a preseason ranking and the big news coming out of it was the position of Florida State. Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide check in at No. 1, which surprises no one. FSU being the preseason No. 2 is slightly surprising, though, so let’s see what Connelly had to say for himself:
Thanks to the return of star safety Derwin James, FSU has crept about half a point ahead of Ohio State for the No. 2 spot, which means Week 1 will feature a matchup of the top two projected teams in the country.
When accounting for players returning from major injuries, I wait until August to add in the numbers from their most recent healthy seasons. This is for a couple reasons. One, I don’t have a full accounting of each team’s injuries until I create each team’s preview, which can happen months after the initial S&P+ rankings publish. Two, there’s more certainty about whether these players are returning healthy. FSU has James returning kicks, so it’s safe to say he’s healthy.
Granted, Alabama is starting out more than a touchdown ahead of FSU — the Tide are as far ahead of the Noles as the Noles are of No. 13 Washington. Still, No. 1 vs. No. 2 is always going to be an exciting thing.
Ohio State, which returns quarterback J.T Barrett and is always stocked full of talent, is going to give FSU a run for its money in most polls. For instance, in the newly released preseason AP Top 25, the Buckeyes checked in at No. 2 while FSU was ranked No. 3.
USC, No. 4 in the AP Poll, could make a claim to the No. 2 spot as well — especially because quarterback Sam Darnold is indeed the real deal — and Oklahoma’s going to be tough to stop offensively with former offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley now at head coach and Baker Mayfield back for one more season.
Jimbo Fisher and crew do boast Deondre Francois at quarterback and Derwin James being healthy is huge so it will be interesting to see what the Seminoles can do in 2017. Some may not believe they’re truly the No. 2 team in the country heading into the season, but they’ll get a major chance to prove themselves against the consensus No. 1 — Alabama — in Week 1.
If FSU can beat the Tide, the ‘Noles will have a legitimate claim at No. 1 come Week 2.