For Florida State, the best news of the year will arrive on Saturday night. That is when this tumultuous offseason will come to a close and the folks in Tallahassee can focus on what they do best — winning football games.
The Jameis Winston saga, the good and the bad, is in the rear-view mirror. De’Andre Johnson is no longer a part of the team. Dalvin Cook is still a Seminole and he is now joined by Everett Golson, who will be the starting quarterback.
The Seminoles open up with Texas State, a 7-5 Sun Belt team in 2014 that is coached by veteran Dennis Franchione. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Seminoles and the Bobcats.
Texas State at Florida State
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ESPN News
Spread: Florida State -30
Three Things to Watch
1. Everett Golson
The senior transfer from Notre Dame has won the battle with Sean Maguire and will be the starting quarterback on Saturday night. Which Golson is FSU getting? The one that was in Heisman contention midway through the 2014 season? Or the one that could not stop from turning the ball over at the end of the year? Head coach Jimbo Fisher said that he will not have a short leash, so Golson should be able to get into a rhythm in the opener.
2. Cohesion of the Florida State Offensive Line
Roderick Johnson is the only returning starter on the Seminoles' offensive front. While he is extremely talented, he is also just a sophomore. This could be the perfect opening game for the young Seminoles offensive line. Texas State was 102nd in rush defense last year and has to replace linebacker David Mayo, the 2014 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. The Bobcats will probably see a lot of the FSU offensive line firing off the line with running backs Cook, Mario Pender, and others following with the ball in their hands.
3. Seminoles Pass Rush
Florida State could have a dominating defense in 2015 if they can find a way to rush the passer. Last fall, the Noles had just 17 sacks, good for No. 108 in the nation. DeMarcus Walker was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school and there have been positive reports about the junior coming out of camp. Projected starting defensive end Lorenzo Featherston recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee, which may open the door for prized recruit Josh Sweat. Florida State has the athletes; the Seminole defenders just need to find their way to the opposing quarterback.
Texas State has had a nice transition to the FBS level. In only their third season, the Bobcats went 7-5 last season and are now looking for their first bowl appearance. They have a solid quarterback in Tyler Jones and a good running back in Robert Lowe. But the question isn’t whether or not Texas State will win. They won’t. This game is about how Florida State will look in victory. With all the new personnel on offense, Golson entering the mix, and perhaps the ACC’s best player in Jalen Ramsey on defense, there will be a lot to watch this Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. It may take some time for the offense to really click, but it eventually will. Texas State will have trouble generating much offense against the Seminoles' defense. FSU will build momentum as the game wears on and will win in a landslide.
Prediction: Florida State 42, Texas State 10
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.