Team #19 – Florida State Seminoles College Football Preview

Here is team #19 and the 2010 Florida State Seminoles Football Preview.  All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview highlighting the best college football teams for the upcoming 2010 NCAA football season.

No. 19 Florida State Seminoles

2009 record: 7-6
2009 Bowl Game: 33-21 win over West Virginia in Gator Bowl
2009 ATS:  4-8
Returning starters: 15 (9 on offense, 6 on defense)


Senior quarterback Christian Ponder is set for a record season. He was planning on going to the NFL after his strong junior season, but got hurt in a 24-40 loss to Clemson in Week 9. At the time of the injury Ponder had already thrown for 2,717 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had averaged over 300 yards per game and completed 68.8 percent of his passes.

Ponder opted to return for his senior year instead of trying his luck in the draft, and it looks like he made the right decision. Behind another strong year from him, the Seminoles have a great chance to compete in the ACC and have a successful season.

Junior running back Jermaine Thomas averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season and totaled 832 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 17 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Ponder will lose 2009 top-target Rod Owens. The St. Louis Rams picked the receiver up after he went undrafted. Owens caught 61 passes last season, one more than Bert Reed. While Owens got the most receptions, wide receiver Jarmon Fortson was the most effective.

He hauled in 45 passes for 610 yards, four touchdowns, and a 13.6 yard average. The junior will lead the 2010 receiving corps that looks strong enough to help Ponder to record-breaking numbers.

The Seminoles return their entire offensive line, so protection and run-blocking shouldn’t be a problem.  With a team loaded as it is, expect Maddux Sports to unload a few 2010 college football picks on FSU during the season.


The Seminoles’ defense was the team’s Achilles’ heel last season. They gave up 21 or more points in 11 of their 13 games, and allowed more than 40 points three times. First year head coach Jimbo Fisher brought in a new defensive coaching staff and is hoping to turn the defense around.

A good starting point is defensive tackle Markus White who sacked opposing quarterbacks only twice, but had 8.5 tackles for a loss. Linebacker Mister Alexander was a big disappointment. While he did get five sacks, he totaled only 17 tackles. He will most likely lose his starting job to freshman Jeff Luc, who looks promising.

The secondary was another area of concern in 2009, and the Seminoles lose three starters. That might not be the worst thing, since the new players could develop into a strong defensive backfield under the new coaches.

Sophomore defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel had two starts as a true freshman, and recorded a sack and three tackles for a loss. He should start at tackle and is likely to improve with one season under his belt.

The Seminoles’ defense will determine how far this team can go. Their offense has all the talent to win a lot of games, but the defense can’t allow 30 points per game again, if Florida State wants to be a serious contender in the ACC.

Special Teams

Kicker Dustin Hopkins struggled in his freshman season, and missed four extra points (40-44) and eight field goals (19-27). He was perfect from 29 yards and under and showed off his leg on a 52-yarder. He should be more consistent with a season under his belt.

Punter Shawn Powell averaged 41.6 yards per attempt, but forced only six fair catches. He made opposing offenses start their drive within their own 20-yard line 13 times.

Greg Reid handled punt and kick returning duties. He averaged a strong 18.4 yards on punt returns and took the ball to the house once. He gained 664 yards on 26 kick returns for a 25.5 yard average. Reid is a dangerous returnman who could even improve his numbers in 2010.

Against the spread

The Seminoles went a measly 4-8 against the college football betting line, thanks to their bad defense. They scored plenty of points, but weren’t able to cover due to the points the defense gave up. They went 0-6 ATS as the favorite, 0-5 at home and 0-1 away. They went 3-2 ATS as the away dog, and didn’t play a game as the home underdog.

Florida State had a 2-6 record against the spread in conference-play, and went 2-2 against opponents from other divisions. They are 60-65 ATS in the last ten years.

You can bet on it

Bet on the Seminoles at home against North Carolina on November 6. The Seminoles are 15-1-1 against the Tar Heels and will be extra motivated on Homecoming. They are 7-0-1 against North Carolina at home and look to add another win. They had to come back from a 24-6 deficit last year, but they should be able to beat the Tar Heels again.

Favor the fade

Fade the Seminoles in their season finale against Florida on November 27. They have lost six straight to the Gators and were outgained by an average of 233 yards in the last four meetings. This late in the season, the Gators offense should click again behind Tim Tebow’s replacement, and the Seminoles will again face a tough Florida team.

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