2016 NoleGameday Staff Season Predictions

Logan Robinson (@LogansTwitty)

Florida State coming into the season ranked at No. 4 surprised me at first in all honesty. Sure the ‘Noles have the depth but how do you already put a team that high without knowing who’s going to play at the biggest position in football? Quarterback.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher has made me feel different though in the last few weeks about the Seminoles’ quarterback position. He’s making fans feel comfortable with starting a redshirt freshman all again like he did with Jameis Winston after declaring him starter. Fisher has only said good and encouraging things about Deondre Francois to media and fans. He likes talking about the young quarterback and you can see the confidence out of the head man when he speaks. He’s excited to hand this young man the keys.

I think Dalvin Cook becomes a household name after this season. Remember last season he played on one good leg? He’s going with two legs this season. I can’t name them all on the other side of the ball but Florida State’s defense this year could be the best yet under Jimbo Fisher and I definitely think he knows it. Charles Kelly looks to have another successful year with the immense amount of talent under his reigns.

I believe most fans look at the schedule and immeditely take a look at Clemson on October 29th and get nervous. I don’t feel like they should. I think this game is not as close as some think it will be. Doak Campbell Stadium will be the loudest it has ever been, easily putting 2011 Oklahoma in second place. I’ve got Florida State winning in a sold out Doak by two touchdowns and a field goal.

Final season record prediction:

I keep going through this schedule and trying to find a team that can beat Florida State and it just isn’t happening. An excited Jimbo Fisher leads the ‘Noles to their second playoff appearance and finish the season going 15-0.

Ethan Vaughan (@Ethan7NG)

Coming into this year I have lofty expectations for the ‘Noles, however; the degree of difficulty that their schedule provides is equally high. For this reason, I believe that FSU goes 11-1 this year. I also believe that the probability of FSU going 12-0 is lower than the probability of FSU going 10-2. I think the ‘Noles beat Clemson in Tallahassee but they are several other games that they could drop throughout the year including Ole Miss, @ Louisville, UNC, @UM, and UF. Even though Coach Fisher is 11-1 against the Hurricanes and Gators, we’ve seen over the last several years that rivalry games are almost always close.

FSU looks to be poised to have a nice 2016 season with Dalvin Cook and Derwin James being two of the the top ten players in the country. Deondre Francois has all the hype radiating from Tallahassee that seems to indicate that he’s the real deal, but you can’t know for sure until you’ve seen some in game action. The key factors for FSU having a successful year are the continue improvement of the offensive line and the identification of a large, possession receiver to serve as an every down security blanket for Francois.

If FSU beats Clemson there’s a very good chance that they can win the ACC with one loss and possibly make a return trip to the College Football Playoff.

Forrest Brewton (@Ben_Brewton)

I’ve been pretty skeptical about the hype surrounding FSU this offseason. The QB situation seemed murky, the linebackers were a huge question mark, and there was too much uncertainty along the offensive line. But as I started to look at other teams across the country, I kept coming back to the same question: Who’s better? Of course, the first two teams to come to mind are Alabama and Clemson. Alabama may have the slight edge as far as talent goes, but there’s a very slim chance FSU winds up playing Bama in 2016. Clemson, on the other hand, is a whole different story. They may have the best player in the country in Deshaun Watson, but they have no where near the depth Florida State has. The ‘Noles also get the Tigers at home this year, and whoever wins that game most likely will earn a playoff bid. Even the loser, if that game is their only loss, will have a great case for that last playoff spot. I believe FSU will not only win against Clemson, but also beat Ole Miss, North Carolina, Miami, and Florida on their way to an ACC Championship and playoff bid.

Vinnie Cervino (@cervino_vinnie)

I don’t have any huge or bold predictions but I’m gonna go with 11-1 with the ACC title, the one loss against ole miss, with the single greatest game in FSU history as SMAG makes his triumphant return in the second half against Clemson to come back from 3 TD down a la Teddy Bridgewater against Rutgers in the 2013(?) Big East championship game.

Dustin Lewis (@Dussttin)

FSU 15-0 National Champions.

Ryan Stalder (@RyanStalder12)

Florida State fans had to struggle through a “year of rebuilding” in 2015. Luckily, last season Jimbo Fisher and his staff did exactly that, and now this 2016 team is locked and loaded – primed for a championship run. Expect QB Deondre Francois to hit the ground running and use all his weapons effectively, leading this team to an 11-1 season, an ACC Championship, and a College Football Playoff appearance.

Dakota Moyer (@DakMoyer)

There is a lot to like about this Florida State team.

They return perhaps the best overall player in college football in Dalvin Cook. A once-in-a-generation talent, Cook is certainly in line to shatter any-and-all running back records at Florida State en route to contending once again for the Heisman trophy. If Florida State can get one of Jacques Patrick or Ryan Green to step up as their No. 2 running back, I think it will do wonders for keeping Cook healthy and making this offense more balanced.

The talent and experience at receiver is there, but they just need one of their big guys to step up. The Seminoles need Auden Tate or George Campbell to become a vertical threat in the red zone. The offensive line looks promising, and Rick Leonard should help fill the major hole that this team has at right tackle.

Defensively, this team is scary good. DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat form perhaps the best defensive end duo in the ACC and the return of Matthew Thomas at linebacker has many fans very excited. In the secondary, they do have to replace Jalen Ramsey, one of the best players in program history, but this coaching staff has recruited defensive backs as good as anyone in the country. Oh, and Derwin James is back. That dude is a freak.

Ultimately, this team will go as far as the quarterback position takes them.

Deondre Francois is the starter. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the redshirt freshman quarterback, but can he live up the high expectations set for him. Florida State doesn’t need Francois to be Jameis Winston-like to return to the playoffs. If he can limit turnovers and capitalize on passing opportunities when they arise, then this offense will be just fine.

Florida State has a very hard schedule in 2016. They face Ole Miss in Orlando, travel to Louisville, travel to South Florida, host North Carolina, travel to Miami, host Clemson, travel to NC State, and host Florida.

All of those are losable games, even the NC State game.

That four-game stretch versus Louisville, South Florida, North Carolina and Miami will be very difficult. Florida State will be in a good place if they can enter the Clemson game at 6-1. 7-0 would be phenomenal.

Of course, the Clemson game is where it all matters. This game will likely decide the ACC title and who the ACC sends to the playoffs. Clemson returns Deshaun Watson, but Florida State’s defense did a good job of limiting him last year.

This team has the talent to compete for a national championship this year. All of the pieces are there, and they have enough talent surrounding Deondre Francois to help him ease his way into the starting job. Dalvin Cook should be phenomenal once again and Derwin James will likely knock off a few heads on defense.

I’m going to go 11-1 for the regular season. I think Florida State drops that road game versus Louisville early on, but rebounds with a win versus Clemson at home to clinch the division. I think they they go on to win the ACC title and finish 12-1 and earn another berth in the College Football Playoffs.

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