Florida State will look to bounce back from its worst finish in eight years under new leadership. The Seminoles overcame a 3-6 start to last season to win their final four contests and extend the nation’s longest bowl streak and run their streak of consecutive winning seasons to 41.
FSU hopes for a little better than a 7-6 finish this season under first-year head coach Willie Taggart. Doing so however, might be more difficult than anticipated. The Seminoles will play one of the nation’s toughest schedules with home games against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida and road contests at Miami, NC State and Notre Dame.
Winning the ACC or returning to the College Football Playoff might be tall tasks for Taggart in year No. 1. Keeping the momentum from the end of last season and laying the foundation for a bright future however, will be the goal.
Athlon Sports polled a few editors and college football contributors share their realistic win/loss projection for Florida State in 2018.
Florida State Football Game-by-Game Predictions 2018
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I expect Florida State to be among the nation’s most-improved teams in 2018. The Seminoles’ 2017 season was derailed by bad luck after an injury to quarterback Deondre Francois in the opener, and the team had to deal with the Jimbo Fisher rumors as a distraction late in the year. With a fresh start under new coach Willie Taggart this fall, Florida State can rebound to nine or 10 wins. Francois is back and competing with James Blackman (above, right) and Bailey Hockman for the starting job. Running back Cam Akers is poised for a breakout year in Taggart’s “Gulf Coast Offense.” While the defense has a few holes to fill at every level, this unit isn’t short on talent. Taggart’s biggest concern is up front on the offensive line, which could be especially problematic in ACC contests versus Miami and Clemson. Regardless, this team will have a chance at double-digit victories in 2018.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Florida State is one of the more intriguing teams in the nation as it transitions from Jimbo Fisher to Willie Taggart. The Noles still have a bunch of talent, but we can’t forget this team won only six games in the regular season in 2017. The schedule is about as tough as possible for a team in the ACC Atlantic Division: FSU plays the top two teams from the Coastal (Miami and Virginia Tech) and has non-conference games against Florida and Notre Dame (on the road). I’ve given the Noles losses in arguably their two most difficult games, Clemson at home and at Miami. After that, I got creative. I’m calling for a win in South Bend but an upset loss at home to Boston College in the ACC finale. The final result: 9–3 overall and 5–3 in the ACC — not bad after last season’s debacle.
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
Last season was such a disaster for the Noles that it's best to just write it off completely and look at what the new staff has to work with. There are two solid options at QB, a blue-chip tailback and a host of speedy playmakers on offense along with a defense that should be far more consistent under Harlon Barnett in 2018. The schedule is a bit daunting when you add in the coaching turnover but this looks like a team building toward next season that can win plenty of games if things break right.
Mike Ferguson (@MikeWFerguson)
Florida State could find itself on upset alert several times this season, but the change in attitude and culture will keep the Seminoles focused this time around. Taking the next step and unseating three-time defending ACC champion Clemson might be too much to ask in 2018, but the Seminoles can lay a strong foundation and put themselves in position for a nine- or 10-win season with a bowl victory.
(Top photo courtesy of seminoles.com)