As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will continue its ACC schedule when they play Florida State on Nov. 16.
MANUEL REPLACEMENT: When Florida State topped Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl, the biggest question heading into the offseason was who would replace quarterback EJ Manuel. The current Buffalo Bill led FSU to a 12-win season for just the third time in program history, and threw for 3,392 yards (second all-time among Seminoles) in his senior year. FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher still hasn’t named his replacement yet, but all signs point to redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. Winston shined in the spring game, throwing for 205 yards and a pair of scores against FSU’s first team defense. Four days after Winston’s performance, junior Clint Trickett announced he was leaving. Now, it appears Winston has the leg up on redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: FSU finished 6th in the nation in defense last season, giving up a stingy 14.7 points per game. But there has been an enormous amount of turnover since then. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops left for Kentucky, so Fisher hired Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama. Though Pruitt is known as an excellent recruiter, this is his first shot at being a coordinator at the college level. All-American defensive end Bjoern Werner is also gone, as are three other starters from the D-line. Still, the Seminoles have an experience linebacker unit, headlined by Christian Jones and Telvin Smith. Also, keep an eye out for All-ACC defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.
PREDICTION: Fisher has enjoyed plenty of success at Florida State, notching three consecutive 10-win seasons since arriving in Tallahassee. Though FSU has lost plenty of depth on both sides of the ball, they still have the talent to compete for another ACC championship. High noon for FSU will come on Oct. 19 when they play ACC-favorite Clemson. FLORIDA STATE 41, SYRACUSE 17.