Orlando Sentinel college insider Matt Murschel has ranked all 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting from No. 125 to our projected No. 1 team.
Today at No. 15: Florida State
Coach: Jimbo Fisher (31-10 entering fourth season; 31-10 overall)
2012 record: 12-2 (7-1 in ACC, won ACC Championship Game)
Look back: Thanks to a string of marquee recruiting classes and Florida State's elite national-contender history, Jimbo Fisher has faced extraordinarily high expectations in Tallahassee. During the 2012 season, the Seminoles won their first ACC championship since 2005 and first Orange Bowl since 2000. However, it still was viewed as a bit of a disappointment by some vocal FSU fans who expected to be national-championship contenders.
The Seminoles raced out to a 5-0 start, but they got limited praise because their schedule was viewed as especially weak compared to other programs.
FSU then suffered what has become a troubling tradition, suffering a loss against a less talented team it was favored to beat. Florida State lost 17-16 at NC State.
The Seminoles bounced back to win five consecutive games and clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game.
Many figured FSU's elite defense would have no trouble smothering rival Florida's tepid offense, but the Gators scored a surprising 37-26 win over the Seminoles in Tallahassee to close out the regular season.
FSU headed to the ACC title game for an underwhelming matchup against Georgia Tech, a team that was sent to the game after Miami and North Carolina were kept out of the contest thanks to NCAA infractions. The Seminoles had to rally to beat the surprisingly tough Yellow Jackets 21-15 to claim the championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles then faced off with the nation's top underdog, Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois. FSU had no trouble roughing up NIU, rolling to a 31-10 win.
Offensive starters returning: 7
Offensive starters lost: 4
Defensive starters returning: 4
Defensive starters lost: 7
Key losses: QB EJ Manuel, RB Chris Thompson, DE Bjoern Werner, CB Xavier Rhodes, DE Tank Carradine, LB Vince Williams
Top returnees: QB Jameis Winston, RB Devonta Freeman, RB James Wilder, LB Christian Jones, TE Nick O'Leary, C Bryan Stork, DT Timmy Jernigan, S Lamarcus Joyner, OT Cameron Erving, DE Mario Edwards
Strengths: Fisher's nationally ranked recruiting classes should help the Seminoles offset the loss of key starters to the NFL and bolster depth at other positions.
Redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston is a dual-sport star who turned in an electrifying performance during the spring game and is favored to win the starting quarterback job. Veteran C Bryan Stork anchors a solid offensive line that should help the new quarterback ease into his role. Devonta Freeman and James Wilder should be potent rushing threats while Nick O'Leary could have a break-out season at tight end.