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Five Key Questions Facing the Florida State Seminoles in 2012


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5. Will Jimbo Fisher get FSU to a BCS Bowl and a top five finish?

5. Will Jimbo Fisher get FSU to a BCS Bowl and a top five finish?
Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Florida State finished 14 straight years in the top five, but has not been back among the elite since 2000.

Jimbo Fisher is 19-8 as head coach and fans had high hopes last season, but Florida State fell short with a 9-4 record.

The Seminoles did finish with a bowl win the last two years, but the expectations this season are the highest ever for FSU under Fisher. The staff has recruited loads of talent with the most recent class ranked No. 6 in the country, according to Rivals.com.

As the saying goes, it is all about the Jimmies and the Joes, but if Jimbo gets down the X’s and the O’s, then Florida State has a good chance of going BCS bowling.

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4. Can EJ Manuel lead Florida State to a BCS Bowl?

4. Can EJ Manuel lead Florida State to a BCS Bowl?
Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

After a shaky start last season with an early season injury, Manuel finished the season strong, completing 121 pass attempts in a row without an interception in the last five games. He needs to stay consistent throughout 2012 if he wants to lead the Seminoles to a BCS bowl.

If Manuel does get knocked out of another game, FSU has a very capable back up in Clint Trickett. Trickett had 336 yards and three touchdowns in a loss against Clemson last season.

Manuel was streaky with six interceptions in his first four games last year. He is capable of leading Florida State to an ACC championship, or more, but it is questionable if he can maintain the continuity he had at the end of 2011.

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3. Will Florida State improve in rushing for 2012?

3. Will Florida State improve in rushing for 2012?
Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Last season, the Seminoles rushed for just 112.2 yards per game (104th overall). It was running back by committee last year and FSU returns 74 percent of their rushing yards from 2011. Senior Chris Thompson, who averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 845 rush yards in 2010, also returns after missing the majority of last season from a broken back.

The Seminoles return four starters on the offensive line. With the extra year of experience for the O-line and tailbacks, the rushing attack should improve. It can't get much worse than in 2011.

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2. Will Cornerback Greg Reid's dismissal affect team performance?

2. Will Cornerback Greg Reid's dismissal affect team performance?
Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Yes and no. Reid is a definite loss in the return game, but there is enough talent at cornerback to replace him. Xavier Rhodes is already a better cornerback and was fourth on the team in solo tackles with 36 last year. Reid will be much harder to replace on special teams where he fielded 37 of the 40 punt returns for the Seminoles in 2011 and has three punt returns for touchdowns in his career. However, his dismissal was necessary after multiple incidents.
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1. Do the Florida State Seminoles have the best defense in college football?

1. Do the Florida State Seminoles have the best defense in college football?
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Some experts, such as Phil Steele, have Florida State rated as the best defense in the nation.

The Seminoles finished last season fourth overall in points allowed per game, 15.1, and return eight starters on defense. But a couple teams in the SEC, being Alabama and LSU, may be better by end of the season.

Florida State has one of the top defensive lines in the nation led by three explosive ends in Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornelius Carradine, who combined for 31 tackles for loss in 2011. The Seminoles should be at least a top five defense this season, if not better.

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Get Primed for 2012 >> ACC Games You Don’t Want to Miss for 2012

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