NCAA FB

TOP 25 COUNTDOWN: No. 5 Florida State

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Darryl Richards

 
   
 
5. Coach: Bobby Bowden 2001 record: 8-4. Defeated , 30-17, in the Gator Bowl. 2002 projection: 11-2. took a step back last year but several young players received valuable experience in the process. Never bet against an offensive line that returns all five starters, especially when all five returning players are seniors and are anchored by an All-American like . Quarterback struggled early but still passed for 2,734 yards and 24 touchdowns. Remember, that was accomplished without the two players expected to be the leading receivers. The Seminoles expect to run the ball with bruising tailback leading the way. was a disappointment on defense last season, but the Seminoles should have a better pass rush. and need to be factors off the edge. Teams should find it difficult to run against the Seminoles with and at tackle and and at linebacker. The Seminoles should win the ACC again and find themselves in a BCS bowl. The question is, will it be in Tempe or Miami? Memo to BCS: The Seminoles shouldn't have a problem with strength of schedule, despite questions about the rest of the ACC. plays Florida and Miami, as usual, but also adds and and opens the season against . That's four non-conference opponents who played in bowl games last season. The Miami game on Oct. 12 will give the winner a jump-start on the rest of the country when the BCS standings come out. The Seminoles end the season against Florida on Nov. 30 in a game that will have BCS ramifications. Watch out for a Sept. 26 game against . The have one of the best defenses in the country and it will be one of those rare occasions when a school from a non-BCS conference gets a big BCS player at home. The ACC schedule will be challenging with road games at , and this season. Since the Spring: FSU signees Chris Anderson, Lonnie Davis, Chris Turner, Dishon Platt and Chris Bradwell failed to meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements. Wide receiver sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the summer and will miss the season. ... Wide receiver sprained the MCL on the same knee that was surgically repaired last season. ... Nose guard has been suspended for the season opener against for violating team rules. ... Bowden thought about redshirting quarterback this spring, but has decided that McPherson is the No. 2 quarterback. , who kicked off last season, did not report with the varsity this season. ... Redshirt freshman quit because of knee and back injuries. ... has moved from quarterback to tight end. The Foundation: Offensive tackle didn't allow a sack last season and is an All-America lineman. ... Quarterback had 18 turnovers last season, but he is just as capable of making big plays and another year of maturity will help. ... The Seminoles haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since gained 1,180 yards in 1996 but has a chance if he improves on his performance in the second half of the 2001 season. Jones had 573 rushing yards in the last seven games. ... Defensive tackle has 41 tackles for a loss in his career. Add-ons: Redshirt freshmen and are battling for the starting job at strong safety. ... Defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley has impressed coaches early and is already working with the second team. Linebackers A.J. Nicholson, Buster Davis and Sam McGrew should see time in a reserve role this season. The Big If: Can the defense put more pressure on the quarterback? The Seminoles had just 14 sacks last season. A similar performance will not fly with a schedule that features three Heisman candidates at quarterback in 's , Miami's and Florida's . Senior writer Darryl Richards can be reached at his e-mail address, drichards@foxsports.com.

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