Florida State enters the 2014 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the AP preseason poll for the sixth time in school history and after capping off an undefeated 2013 season with a BCS National Championship, the Seminoles are attempting to repeat as national champions.
Riding the nation’s longest winning streak, 16 games, FSU will begin its campaign for another title on Aug. 30 against the Oklahoma State Cowboys inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
”When you know your opening opponent is Oklahoma State and they’ve won 41 games over the last four years and the history of their program, it definitely gets your attention,” Fisher said. ”You know you have to bring your ‘A-game’ from day one.”
Since 1980, only two teams have won back-to-back consensus national championships, Nebraska in 1994-1995 and Alabama in 2011-2012.
Here are five reasons why the Seminoles will join the Cornhuskers and Crimson Tide on that list:
Florida State’s offensive line has five senior starters with a total of 113 career starts between them. The line is led by FOX Sports preseason All-American left tackle Cameron Erving, the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner (top offensive lineman) who protects Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston’s blind side. The Seminoles’ offensive line only allowed 26 sacks last season. The line can dominate games and provide ample throwing time for Winston and gaping running lanes running lanes for backs Karlos Williams, Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook.
”NO FLY ZONE” SECONDARY
Florida State’s secondary is one of the deepest and most talented in the nation. Referring to themselves as ”The No Fly Zone,” the standout position group features FOX Sports preseason All-American safety Jalen Ramsey, junior corners Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams (BCS National Championship Defensive MVP), sophomore safety Nate Andrews, and redshirt junior safety Tyler Hunter. Last year FSU defensive backs led the nation in passing yards allowed per game (156.6) and in interceptions (26).
Florida State plays only two opponents ranked in the top 25 of the preseason AP poll — Clemson (16) and Notre Dame (17). To make things easier for the defending champs, both of those games are going to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium. The nonconference schedule is tougher with the opener against Oklahoma State, but expect FSU to be dominant again this season.
The Seminoles return 15 total starters in 2014, including eight on offense, five on defense, and kicker Roberto Aguayo and punter Cason Beatty. The starting offensive line is made up of five seniors with 113 starts between them. There are 13 Seminoles that scored a touchdown in 2013 that are returning for the 2014 season. Most critical is that both the players and the coaches understand what it takes to mentally and physically grind through an undefeated season and win a national championship.
The Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt sophomore returns for his second season as Florida State’s starting quarterback. Last year Winston led the nation in both passing efficiency (184.85) and yards per attempt (10.6). He also set two national freshman records with 4,057 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns (also an FSU and ACC record). The quarterback is among the favorites to win the Heisman again and is the unquestioned heart and soul of the Seminoles.