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Athlon preseason poll | FSU #3 and three other Florida teams ranked

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With the understanding that whenever we see a preseason poll come out, we automatically roll our eyes. This is because almost all of them usually have at least three or more teams ranked in the top 10 preseason that end up falling flat and don’t even finish in the top 25.

Nevertheless, there is a bunch of hype and anticipation for the upcoming college football season in this state and when an independent respected outlet is propping up Florida teams, then we at F.F.I. perk up.

Such is the case when Athlon Sports released it’s first (very early) preseason rankings Monday and has some interesting takes:

Most notably in their preview, Athlon likes three of the four College Football Playoff teams from a year ago to be back this January. Alabama, Washington, and Ohio State are those three. The only 2017 addition that was not in the Playoff last year is….FSU.

Athlon goes ahead and makes the case for Jimbo Fisher’s Noles to be back in the post season for 2017 and has them slotted as the third best preseason team. Without question, the offense will rely mostly on second year QB Deondre Francois leadership and play-making. The Noles also hope that the addition of their best defensive player, Safety Derwin James back from his 2016 knee injury will provide welcome leadership and spark to a unit that struggled badly last year.

Clearly, FSU’s titanic opening showdown with Bama in week one of the season means the loser has virtually no margin for error (another loss) the rest of the season.

Besides the Noles being third, Athlon ranks the Florida Gators as 16th in its preseason poll. The Gators have lost a ton on defense from 2016, as seven players were taken in the NFL Draft last month. They also have question marks at QB with off season shoulder surgery for Luke Del Rio and tough competition for him, as well. Yet, the Gators always have skill players and lots of speed and will obviously contend in the watered down SEC East.

Athlon has the Miami Hurricanes ranked #23 despite also having to replace their QB, in Brad Kaaya. Running back Mark Walton and a stout Canes defensive front seven will definitely help a squad that finished last season on a five game win streak, including it’s bowl game. Miami does play FSU, Pitt and North Carolina on the road, which will be a challenge.

Finally, the same service has USF in at #24 for the preseason. This is due in large part to the return of the American Conference Offensive Player of the Year, QB Quinton Flowers. Flowers broke the QB records for rushing and all-purpose yards in a season by a USF quarterback. The Bulls welcome in former Texas head coach Charlie Strong and even though outstanding running back Marlon Mack left early for the draft, they have a good replacement in D’Ernest Johnson. USF does have to get better on defense, but that’s Strong’s forte’.

Yes, primarily, pre-season magazine are “bird cage liners” by the third or fourth week because of upsets, but it’s a good conversation piece in May.


Florida State Seminoles

FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.

The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:

Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.

The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.

FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.

New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,

“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.

This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”

These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.

Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.

That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.

The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games  at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

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Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

Florida Football Insiders



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.

Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.

And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.

This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.

That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.

“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.

“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.

“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.

“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.

“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?

“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.

Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.

Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.

His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.

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