The 2014 season might be eight months away, but it's never too early to start thinking about the teams that could challenge for the new College Football Playoff. This week, we'll count down Dr. Saturday's Top 10 teams for 2014. Past entries: No. 10: LSU, No. 9 Stanford, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 7 UCLA, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 4 Auburn, No. 3 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon
Florida State Seminoles
2013 record: 14-0, 9-0 ACC
Final AP ranking: 1
Bowl result: def. Auburn 34-31, BCS National Championship
Top returners: QB Jameis Winston, WR Rashad Greene, LT Cam Erving, RG Tre’ Jackson, RB Karlos Williams, TE Nick O’Leary, K Roberto Agauyo
Top losses: WR Kelvin Benjamin, LB Christian Jones, LB Telvin Smith, CB Lamarcus Joyner, RB James Wilder Jr., RB Devonta Freeman, NT Timmy Jernigan, WR Kenny Shaw
Overview: It’s hard to pick against the reigning national champion, especially when it returns its Heisman-winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, two main cogs on the offensive line and two of the team’s leading receivers.
Yes, the Seminoles are losing a lot of key names on offense, including receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had the game-winning catch in the national championship game, and running backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, Jr., who accounted for 1,597 yards and 22 touchdowns, but top receiver Rashad Greene returns, as does top tight end Nick O’Leary. Running back Karlos Williams, who was second on the team in rushing, is also back with a slew of other running back talent.
If there’s one place to worry, it’s on defense. Linebackers Christian Jones and Telvin Smith are gone, as is nose tackle Timmy Jernigan and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Not to mention defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who left for Georgia. Of course, Florida State’s defense was good before Pruitt and it will be good after him, it’s just a matter of filling the major holes left by those departing players.
And with strong recruiting and several young players having gotten meaningful playing time last year (thanks to several blowouts), Florida State should be able to put together another strong, national championship caliber team.
But this year’s schedule won’t be as easy as last year. The Seminoles have nonconference games against Notre Dame, Florida and Oklahoma State in addition to a conference schedule that now includes Louisville.
- - - - - - -