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Will the Seminoles Rebound in 2007?

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Yesterday I reviewed the Athlon pre-season college football rankings to check in on what the experts think about Florida State’s prospects this year.  After last season’s all-time low (hopefully) following seasons of decline, I didn’t expect the Seminoles to be in the top ten.  I found them at #26, which is somewhat of a sign of respect from the pollsters.  The USA Today pre-season poll has the ‘Noles in the top 25.  So, what can we expect this year from the once great college football dynasty?  Here are my thoughts.

Last year was the most frustrating season in recent history for Florida State fans.  Each game we endured watching a physically talented yet inept offense leave game after game on the table reminded us that nepotism was Bobby Bowden’s major weakness as a head coach.  Many of us wondered how long Coach Bowden, the university, or even college football as a collective whole could allow such injustice – the destruction of his father’s program by Jeff Bowden – to continue.  Finally, something gave (as in a $500,000 buyout), and major changes were made.

We’ll likely find out early in the season how much of an improvement the new offensive coaching staff has made from what they inherited after last season.  Most people would agree that there’s no way they could be worse, especially with the talent that consistently walks the Florida State practice field.  Considering the recent accomplishments of Jimbo Fisher, I’d expect that he could meet the challenge of placing FSU back into the Top 10.

One obstacle the Seminoles face this year is their tough schedule.  One ESPN columnist ranks FSU’s schedule the second most difficult in the nation this season.  Away games at Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Florida are all ones for which the Seminoles could be considered underdogs.  If things haven’t improved offensively from what was brought to the field last year, those three games are almost sure losses.  However, if the offense has been reconstructed as we hope, the ‘Noles can put the fear into anyone they face this season.

Although I’d like to see this season become a miraculous time-warp back to 1999, I’m doubtful that Florida State will become what it used to be until Bobby Bowden retires.  It’s been apparent over the past few seasons – with turmoil among players and his jawing about fans’ and boosters’ demands for change – that he has lost a significant amount of the respect on and off the field that he used to merit.  The trick plays and unpredictability that used to be the signature of FSU football have apparently died, and with Coach Bowden growing older by the day, it’s difficult to imagine that fast paced, in-your-face style being resurrected.  With that perspective, I’d feel pretty good with a 9-3 record and a bowl-game win.

Richard Robbins is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, a supplier of custom football uniforms and basketball uniforms.