E.J. Manuel

CFT Preseason Top 25: No. 10 Florida State


2011 record: 9-4 overall, 5-3 in ACC (2nd-tie in Atlantic)

2011 postseason: Champs Sports Bowl (18-14 win over Notre Dame)

2011 final AP/coaches’ ranking: No. 23/No. 23

Head coach: Jimbo Fisher (19-8 in two seasons at Florida State)

Offensive coordinator: James Coley (fifth season at FSU, third as OC)

2011 offensive rankings: 104th rushing offense (112.1 ypg); 33rd passing offense (257 ypg); 77th total offense (369.1 ypg); 39th scoring offense (30.6 ppg)

Returning offensive starters: six

Defensive coordinator: Mark Stoops (third season at FSU, third as DC)

2011 defensive rankings: 2nd rushing defense (82.7 ypg); 20th passing defense (192.3 ypg); 4th scoring defense (15.1 ppg)

Returning defensive starters: eight

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.

Stadium:  Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300; grass)

Last league title: 2005

Schedule: [view]

Roster: [view]

2011 statistics: [view]

The Good
That defense the Seminoles possessed in 2011 was really good; with eight starters returning this season, and with the talent available to plug-in for the lost starters, it could be even better in 2012.  The loss of three-time tackles leader Nigel Bradham would be a significant blow for most teams, but it’s merely a blip for FSU; that’s how loaded this unit, at least on paper, will be.  Another good comes from the other side of the ball, with starting quarterback E.J. Manuel and most of Manuel’s top receiving targets returning.  Consistency hasn’t been a Manuel trademark, although he showed signs in the spring that he’s growing more comfortable in the Seminoles’ scheme.

The Bad
Chicken or the egg: were FSU’s struggles in the running game the result of a below-average line, or was the line made to look worse than what it actually was due to the backfield components?  The number of sacks given up by the line in 2011 would lead one to lean toward the former.  If the Seminoles have any hope of living up to yet another preseason of high expectations, head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff must somehow, some way find a way to shore up the line.  A stifling defense can only do so much in today’s era of offensive fireworks.

The Unknown
Special teams were already a question mark, an unanswerable made even more pronounced by the dismissal of premier punt returner Greg Reid.  Reid was also a starting corner, meaning his departure leaves a hole in two units, although with the talent in the secondary the Seminoles’ possess, his loss will be felt more on special teams than on defense.

Make-or-break game: vs. Clemson, Sept 22
“If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” the old chestnut goes.  In FSU’s and the ACC’s case, the best in 2011 was Clemson.  And, as both are in the Atlantic Division, the Seminoles will be forced to leapfrog the Tigers if it entertains any shot at claiming its first ACC title since 2005.

Heisman hopeful: quarterback E.J. Manuel
With just over 2,800 yards of total offense and a combined 22 touchdowns in his first year as FSU’s season-opening starter, Manuel is considered by some analysts to be on the verge of greatness at this level.  Inconsistency, however, was an issue last season.  With another offseason under his belt, however, Manuel and his coaches are confident the senior is ready to take his game to the next level, a jump that would most certainly place him squarely in the Heisman discussion.

Return to CFT’s preseason Top 25

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Pair of Boilermakers arrested on weed, alcohol charges

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT) A worker touches plants at a cannabis greenhouse at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
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For the second time in less than a month, two members of the Purdue football program have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

This time around it’s a pair of freshmen, linebacker Wyatt Cook and defensive end Chazmyn Turner, who are in a bit of a predicament, with the Indianapolis Star reporting that both players were arrested over the weekend. Cook was charged with minor consumption of alcohol while Turner was charged with possession of marijuana.

No details of what led to the arrests and charges were made public. The program is aware of the incident, but have not stated what if any punishment either could be facing.

Cook was a three-star member of this year’s recruiting class, Turner a two-star. Neither has played in a game this season.

In the middle of last month, two freshmen cornerbacks, Evyn Cooper and David Rose, were arrested and charged in connection to stolen bicycles. Those two were members of this year’s recruiting class as well.

Report: Texas likely to keep Hooking ‘Em with Nike, not Under Armour

Jerrod Heard

It is no secret that Under Armour is making a nice serious push in acquiring university apparel deals, but the Texas Longhorns is not one it will be likely to whisk away from The Swoosh. According to one report from the Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas officials broke off a meeting with Under Armour and are now expected to stay with Nike moving forward.

The University of Texas has been a partner with Nike since 2000. The contract between the two gives Nike an exclusive window in which it can match or improve on any offers made to the school from rival companies such as Under Armour or Adidas. It is unknown if Under Armour made a formal offer to Texas or how much such an offer could have been valued. What is pretty much commonly known is the Texas brand is still a nice asset in the athletics apparel business, even if the Longhorns are struggling on the football field. Having Texas wear your gear is still a quality investment, which makes Texas a highly sought-after commodity.

Per the American-Statesman report, Texas is expected to sign what would be the biggest deal currently going in collegiate athletics. Considering the handsome deal recently signed between Nike and Michigan, that would mean Texas would be looking forward to more than $169 million from Nike. Michigan signed a 15-year contract valued at $169 million, which will bring an end to its current relationship with Adidas in 2016. As part of the deal, Michigan will become the first football program to wear the Jordan brand logo on its football uniforms. Could Texas be the next? For now that is just something to ponder.

Nike recently lost partners at Arizona State and Miami. Last year Notre Dame began a new partnership with Under Armour, signing a $90 million contract.