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Can Cook Carry Florida State to The Promised Land?

Florida State fans came into the 2015 season with tempered expectations and were pleasantly rewarded with a 10-3 record and a trip to a meaningful bowl game. The Seminoles have tremendous players on both sides of the ball, but may be facing some question marks at quarterback in 2016.

2016 National Championship Odds

FSU enters the season at +1000 to win the national championship, which would be their second in four seasons.

To book a place in the playoffs the Seminoles will not have much wiggle room, as no team has ever made the playoffs with more than one loss in a season. That may not be easy for FSU with their non-conference schedule being one of the most difficult in the country. Florida State opens the season against Ole Miss in Orlando and just two weeks later they travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals.

When you add that to a conference schedule that includes games against UNC, Clemson and Miami – it won’t be easy for FSU to book a trip to the postseason.

ACC Championship Odds

Though there is some good competition in the ACC, odds say it is a two-team race between FSU (+210) and Clemson (+150). It was the Deshaun Watson show when these two teams clashed last season, as the Heisman finalist threw for 297 yards while adding another 107 on the ground.

If FSU wants to win the ACC championship and move on to the playoffs they will need to be able to contain some elite quarterbacks – as they will be facing Watson, Chad Kelly, Greg Ward Jr. and Brad Kaaya this season. Controlling the point of attack and pressuring the quarterback will be critical, but the Seminoles have a potentially lethal pairing along the defensive line in DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat.

Season Win Total

FSU has their season win total posted at 10 (-105/-125), which is a very reasonable number considering their recent track record. Since Jimbo Fisher took over in Tallahassee ahead of the 2010 season, FSU has won at least 10 games in all but one campaign.

If the Seminoles want to ensure they can eclipse that 10-win plateau, they will need to find the right quarterback. There is plenty of talent at the QB position for FSU, but they need to decide if they want to stay the course with Sean Maguire or hand the ball over to freshman Deondre Francois. FSU will face five teams that had a top-20 defense last season – with four of those having a top-20 passing defense. If those defenses can stop Dalvin Cook then the passing game needs to be a legitimate threat or else FSU will start losing games.

Most Important Player: Dalvin Cook

There is an argument to be made that Cook is the best running back in the nation – though don’t say that around LSU fans. The back rushed for 1691 yards and 19 touchdowns last season – both school records – while averaging 7.4 yards per carry.

There is no doubt Cook will be the centerpiece of the offense after basically putting the team on his back last season. Undoubtedly he will need to do the same thing this year if FSU wants to be successful.

2016 Florida State Seminoles Futures Odds
MarketOdds
2016 National Championship+1000
ACC Championship+210
Win Total10.0

Odds as of August 9 at Bovada

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