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2021 Florida State college football preview: Seminoles rebuild continues

Florida State has a long way to go in their second season under head coach Mike Norvell, but there is reason for optimism.

Why Florida State will be the surprise of the season

The Florida State Seminoles have seen plenty of lows as a program over the past few seasons including 2020. Florida State finished 3-6 overall last season and failed to achieve an above .500 ACC record for the fourth year in a row.

Jimbo Fisher did not leave Florida State with much, and it was clear early that Willie Taggart was not the answer. Heading into Year 2 and the first real offseason, Mike Norvell has a bit of buzz going around a program that should consistently be a factor in late November every year. The Seminoles have seen some big wins on the recruiting trail, an early sign this team should be more competitive against the top teams in the ACC in the years ahead.

Florida State still has plenty of work to do, and Norvell should be given some time to get the Seminoles back to a national pedestal. Florida State does not have high expectations for 2021 by any means, but for the first time in a while, it feels like a change is coming for the better.

2020 Season Review

  • 3-6, 2-6 ACC (13th)
  • Lost by 16 or more points five times, upset North Carolina with a 31-28 victory

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 23
ESPN Returning Production: 73% overall (53rd): 84% offense (25th), 62% defense (90th)
Returning Talent Index: 1.11, 4th in ACC
Returning starters: 10/11 offense, 7/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: McKenzie Milton (Senior)

The quarterback position at Florida State is a bit of a wild card, but let’s go with McKenzie Milton starting Week 1. If you are looking for some key storylines to watch this college football season, he is one of them. Milton transferred from UCF this offseason and continues to battle back from a brutal injury suffered during the 2018 season that has kept him sidelined. His main threat for the starting spot is Jordan Travis, who played in eight games last season.

Offense (non-QB): OT Devontay Love-Taylor (Senior)

The offensive line has been a major issue for the Seminoles in recent seasons, but they saw some improvement last year. Florida State was able to run the ball effectively, but the pass protection is an area that needs a significant upgrade. Left tackle Devontay Love-Taylor is a grad transfer from FIU and is entering his second season in Florida State. He is the most consistent offensive lineman on the roster, and whoever lines up at quarterback will be very thankful if Love-Taylor keeps his production going.

Defense: DE Jermaine Johnson (Senior)

Florida State went hard on the transfer portal this offseason, and one of their biggest gets was former Georgia defensive end Jermaine Johnson. The Seminoles’ pass rush needs a boost, and Johnson has the talent to certainly improve the roster in that aspect. He played in seven games in 2020 with the Bulldogs and recorded five sacks. A better pass rush would go a long way in keeping the Seminoles competitive against some of the quality teams on their schedule in 2021.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 85th overall: 69th offense, 85th defense, 71st special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 61st overall: 41st offense, 70th defense

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

To win national title: +50000
To win ACC: +3300
Win total: 5.5 (Over -134, Under +105)

2020 Against The Spread: 3-6-0
2020 Point Total: Over 6-3-0

2021 Florida State Schedule

2021 Florida State Seminoles schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Monday, Sep. 6 vs. Ole Miss (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, ATL) 8:00 p.m./ESPN UL +7.5
Saturday, Sep. 11 vs. Eastern Kentucky 7:00 p.m./ACCN N/A
Friday, Sep. 17 vs. UCF 7:30 p.m./ESPN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 25 at Florida State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 2 at Wake Forest TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 9 vs. Virginia TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 16 Open TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 23 vs. Boston College TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 at NC State TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 6 vs. Clemson TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 13 vs. Syracuse TBA N/A
Thursday, Nov. 18 at Duke 7:30 p.m./ESPN N/A
Saturday, Nov. 27 vs. Kentucky TBA N/A