NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM:
Off the field issues aren't anything new to top-tier college football programs, but they've taken on a whole new meaning at Florida State University. The Seminoles captured a national championship and qualified for the inaugural college football playoff during the Jameis Winston Circus Years.
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It's an aptly named title to describe the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was a polarizing player outside Tallahassee.
Winston's alleged shenanigans are well-documented, and it seemed FSU was moving forward with his replacements.
Then two separate incidents occurred close together during the summer. Freshman De'Andre Johnson was dismissed from the team after video surfaced of him allegedly punching a woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar.
Dalvin Cook was suspended after a woman told police he had punched her.
So FSU made a statement that no players will frequent bars anymore.
Regardless of whether that holds true or not, the fact is the Seminoles have to limit the distractions if they're going to focus on contending for a title this season.
WINGMAN: TRAVIS RUDOLPH, soph., wide receiver
Without Rashad Greene, who is the program's all-time leader with 270 receptions and 3,830 yards, the Seminoles enter 2015 looking for a new No. 1 target in the passing game. That's where Rudolph comes into the picture. Last season, he emerged as the No. 2 option in the passing game by snagging 33 catches in the final eight games of the year.
IMPACT NEWCOMER: EVERETT GOLSON, redshirt sr., quarterback
He's not a rookie in the college game, having led Notre Dame to the National Championship game against Alabama in the 2012-13 season. And as of late August, Golson was still mired in a quarterback battle with junior Sean Maguire. Golson, though, has the big-game experience and just needs to grasp the complex FSU offense to cement himself as the de facto starter and heir apparent to Famous Jameis.
DEEP AT: SECONDARY
From veteran leadership to a freshman that made waves in the spring game, FSU's defensive backs aren't short of depth. Jalen Ramsey leads the group, while junior Ryan Green has moved into the position after two seasons as a running back and Derwin James is the new guy on the block, but made some noise for his aggressive playing style.
THIN AT: RUNNING BACK
The recent acquittal of Dalvin Cook, who produced the best freshman running back season in FSU history with 1,008 rushing yards last year, sheds light that this group might not be as thin as expected when he was indefinitely suspended. However, it's still light.
vs. Oklahoma State W, 37-31
THE CITADEL W, 37-12
CLEMSON W, 23-17
at N.C. State W, 56-41
WAKE FOREST W, 43-3
at Syracuse W, 38-20
NOTRE DAME W, 31-27
at Louisville W, 42-31
VIRGINIA W, 34-20
at Miami W, 30-26
BOSTON COLLEGE W, 20-17
FLORIDA W, 24-19
ACC Championship Game
vs. Georgia Tech W, 37-35
College Football Playoff
vs. Oregon W, 59-20
TEXAS STATE, 8 p.m.
USF, 11:30 a.m.
at Boston College*, 8 p.m.
at Wake Forest*
at Georgia Tech*
Game times to be determined, unless noted.
HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS
*-Atlantic Coast Conference game
For the first time since the Jameis Winston Show was in Tallahassee, the Seminoles enter a season with some uncertainty. That stems from the off-field controversy, but FSU should still roll through a weak Atlantic Coast Conference slate. The one hiccup, though, should come at Death Valley against Clemson, who could usurp the Noles for the ACC's Atlantic Division.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 - Overall selection in this year's NFL Draft for Jameis Winston, who became FSU's first No. 1 overall draft pick.
10 - Number of victories decided by 15 points or less, one year removed from a 39.5 average victory margin that culminated with a national championship.
1,008 - Rushing yards running back Dalvin Cook, who was recently acquitted from any wrongdoing in his battery case, amassed as freshman last year.
Jimbo Fisher, sixth season, 58-11