2018 Florida State Seminoles College Football Preview

by | Jul 13, 2018 | NCAA Football


Florida State Seminoles
Doak Campbell Stadium
(79,560 Stadium)
Bermuda Grass
Tallahassee, Florida

The Florida State Seminoles are going to be a totally different looking team this year and for only the third time in 42 years, the Seminoles will have a new look at Head Coach. Last Year, Jimbo Fisher shocked the NCAA College Football world when he made the decision to leave Tallahassee, Florida and take the vacant Head Coaching position with the Texas A&M Aggies.

With Fisher gone, the Seminoles were left trying to fill a vacancy in one of the most storied programs in college football. The Seminoles only took one week and made their decision to sign former Oregon Head Coach 

Willie Taggart. This signing came with some scrutiny and shock after Taggart has losing records at two of his three coaching positions.

The Florida State Seminoles have now had a losing season since 1976, for longer than most of us have been alive and they haven’t missed a bowl game since 1981. The success started to fall last year, as they posted their first ever losing record in the ACC conference. Taggart and the Seminoles will be looking to turn that slight drop in productivity and get back on a winning track in Tallahassee.

Florida State Seminoles Coaching

Willie Taggart is the new Head Coach at Florida State. Taggart comes into Florida State with a 47-50 overall record as a Head Coach. Taggart is the first full time permanent black Head Coach at Florida State, as he was at Western Kentucky, South Florida, and Oregon. Taggart comes from the Harbaugh lineage, coaching for Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky from 1999-2002 and for Jim Harbaugh from 2007-2009 at Stanford.

Walt Bell will be serving as the Offensive Coordinator in Florida State. Bell is not a big name and was actually another shocking decision in Tallahassee. Bell served the past two years with the Maryland Terrapins, who really aren’t known as an explosive offense, as their Offensive Coordinator.

Harlon Barnett will be the new Defensive Coordinator in Florida State. Barnett has served the past decade with the Michigan State Spartans as their Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, and Defensive Backs Coach. Again, not a bad pick but many out there that could have filled in the position with much greater experience and bring a great level of success at larger schools than Barnett.

Florida State Seminoles Offense

The quarterback position in Florida State is one of the most interesting positions on the team. It has been said a million and one times that the first person that Willie Taggart called after accepting his position as Head Coach with the Seminoles, was call QB DeOndre Francois. Francois was told that Taggart expects him to be a leader in Florida State but he has been anything but a leader.

Francois has been constantly surrounded by off the field scrutiny for various incidents including domestic disputes with his pregnant girlfriend and suspicions of Francois being involved in illegal distribution of narcotics. In addition to the off-the-field issues, Francois is recovering from a knee injury, where he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee in the opener last year, which forced him to the sidelines for the rest of the 2017 season.

James Blackman came in last year to replace Francois and will be back this year. Blackman is expected to compete with Francois for this years starting job at Florida State and redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman would like to throw his name in that hat as well. Taggart has said that the competition is open to win and the starter will be decided later this summer.

Cam Akers will be back for his sophomore season as the starting Running Back with the Seminoles. Akers ran for 1024 yards last year as a freshman, setting a record for most rushing yards by a freshman Running Back, previously held by Dalvin Cook in 2014. Akers is predicted by most experts to be the starter and to really put up a strong year. He should really prosper in Taggart’s run-oriented Gulf Coast Spread offense that relies on fast and elusive running backs.

The Seminoles will also have senior Jacques Patrick back for his final year in a Seminoles uniform. In addition to Cook and Patrick, 5-star recruit Khalan Laborn emerged from the Spring Game looking absolutely phenomenal and could push for playing time this year. Akers, Patrick, and Laborn will be relied upon heavily this year and provide the Seminoles with plenty of depth at the running back position.

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Florida State Seminoles Defense

The Florida State Seminoles Defense will go through some growing pains in 2018. They return one of the top linemen in College Football in Demarcus Christmas, which will be huge for stopping the run for the Seminoles. Christmas was expected to turn pro and enter the NFL draft last season but he decided on staying put in school and finishing out his education. If Christmas has a decent year, he could end up being a top 10 draft pick this upcoming NFL Season.

There is no doubt about it, the linebacking position is going to be one of the weaker points on the team. The Seminoles will be replacing all three of their starters from last year and that is a task that no Defensive Coordinator looks forward to. Matthew Thomas, Ro’Derrick Hoskins, and Jacob Pugh have all graduated and moved on, leaving the starters positions from last year vacant.

The good thing for the Seminole fans is they do have some quality replacements to fill in the gaps left open by Thomas, Hoskins, and Pugh. Dontavious Jackson is the most popular player to gain the leadership role in Tallahassee. Jackson is looking in great shape and is coming in lighter and faster than he was last season.

2018 Florida State Seminoles Schedule

Florida State doesn’t open the season against Alabama this year so that is one good thing…..but it might be the only good thing. They will face Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, and Florida during their non-conference games and that is no easy task.

  • September 3 Virginia Tech Hokies
  • September 8 Samford Bulldogs
  • September 15 @ Syracuse Orange
  • September 22 Northern Illinois Huskies
  • September 29 @ Louisville Cardinals
  • October 6 @ Miami Hurricanes
  • October 13 Bye Week
  • October 20 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Homecoming)
  • October 27 Clemson Tigers
  • November 3 @ NC State Wolfpack
  • November 10 @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • November 17 Boston College Eagles
  • November 24 Florida Gators
  • December 1 ACC Championship Game (Charlotte, NC) *If Applicable*

2018 Predictions and Betting Outlook for Florida State Seminoles

Sorry Florida State fans but I think the Seminoles are in for a rough year. Now, “Rough” by the standards of Florida State and “Rough” in the form of most other teams is a drastic difference. To make it more simple, I think the Seminoles are an 8 win team this year. If you notice over on our Spooky Express ACC Conference Preview, we ranked Florida State in the 4th spot in the Power Rankings.

Originally I had them ahead of Virginia Tech but with the new linebacking crew and questions I have about the quarterback situation, I just don’t think they win more than 8 games. That being said, I am going to fade the play on the team totals. MyBookie has set the line for total wins at 7.5. I really think they could go either way, so I will fade that play.

MyBookie also has set the line for the Florida State Seminoles to win the National Championship at +3000 and set the line for the Seminoles to win the ACC Championship at +400. I think they would need a small miracle to win either the ACC Championship or the National Championship this year. They just aren’t good enough and definitely not worth my hard earned dollar!

Don’t forget to check out our NCAA College Football Betting Guide to stay up to date on all of the happenings in College Football throughout the 2018 Season.

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