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It hasn’t been too many years ago that this proud program was fighting for national championships. But they have fallen on hard times and suffered through a 3-6 meltdown in 2020 under 1st year Coach Mike Norvell. It isn’t unrealistic to expect a lot of improvement as the staff has a full season with this team after suffering through the pandemic. And they will get a huge boost from UCF transfer QB McKenzie Milton as he takes over the reins. Assuming he is healthy, and that’s a big if, the offense will be improved significantly just by his talent and presence. The problem is how recovered is he from a horrible knee injury that required nine surgeries and can he make it through a season. The Noles recruited well and brought in a Top 25 class so there is reason for optimism.
Offense: As we mentioned above, Milton will be a 100% improvement in the all important QB position. His inspirational leadership and his immense talent brings instant legitimacy to the offense. Jashaun Corbin is a consistent running back and there are always talented receivers at FSU. The offensive line has got to improve as they allowed 29 sacks in only 9 games.
Defense: This side of the ball just might determine how big of a jump the Seminoles will make in 2021. They allowed 36 points per game last year and that is unacceptable. They have 2 defensive ends who transferred and should provide immediate help. Jermaine Johnson comes to Tallahassee from Georgia and he was a star this spring. Keir Thomas started 32 games at South Carolina and could start at the other end. Both linebackers are back and they need to continue to improve as well as a deep secondary. There is no reason why this unit won’t get better especially if the offense can score more points this year and take some pressure off of them.
9/5 Notre Dame
9/11 Jacksonville St.
11/27 at Florida
Obviously, the non-conference schedule isn’t kind to a rebuilding team. But playing Notre Dame early and at home could benefit the Noles. The Irish are breaking in a new QB and have a rebuilt offensive line. They are vulnerable for sure. The games with Jacksonville St. and UMass are must-wins. And then you have the rivalry game with Florida to wrap up the season.
9/18 at Wake Forest
10/9 at North Carolina
10/30 at Clemson
11/6 NC State
11/20 at Boston College
The conference schedule is manageable for Florida State to have a decent season as they continue their way back to where they feel they belong. The home games against Louisville and Syracuse have to be wins and if they can win one of the toss-up games against Miami and NC State that would be a bonus. The road games at Wake Forest and BC will likely decide just how good a year they will have. They just as well play Clemson on the road because they aren’t ready to beat them no matter where they play them and the game in Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels is a possibility.
Summary: The Seminoles may be a surprise team in 2021. National expectations are low but in the ACC it is easier to make strides towards getting better. If Milton stays healthy at QB, and the defense improves, FSU could move up another notch to 2nd in the division. There are winnable games on the schedule and Mike Norvell is a good coach and if things break right they could exceed everyone’s predictions.
Predicted Finish: 3rd in the Atlantic Division
Overall Record: 7-5
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