Last season was supposed to be the year Florida State returned to the top of the ACC and re-entered the national title picture, one it had missed out on for the previous decade after being a regular on college football’s center stage.
It didn’t happen because the Seminoles didn’t run the ball that well, quarterback E.J. Manuel got injured and Jimbo Fisher’s team still hadn’t figured out how to handle pesky Wake Forest, which has now beaten the Seminoles in four of their last six meetings.
As the page turns toward the 2012 campaign, the theme remains the same: This is the year FSU reclaims its lost luster and is a national factor. To achieve this, the Seminoles must first navigate through an ACC that should be tougher, as 11 starting quarterbacks are returning from last fall.
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Clemson, however, will have a say in the Atlantic Division race. The Tigers won it a year ago and return most of their top skill players, and word out of Death Valley is that the defense is improved. It better be.
N.C. State has a ton of experience in important positions and has the potential to win 10 games if it can avoid injuries and another slow start. Wake Forest tied the Seminoles for second in the division a year ago and figures to be a factor with quarterback Tanner Price now a junior.
Boston College might be better but it likely won’t show up in the win-loss column, and Maryland has numerous issues to overcome in Randy Edsall’s second year at the helm.