For the first time in 14 years, Florida State is college football’s national champion. The Seminoles overcame a 21-3 deficit on Monday to down Auburn 34-31 and claim the third national championship in school history. As thrilling as Monday’s BCS National Championship was, expectations will once again be high for FSU in 2014. Here are five reasons why the Seminoles could repeat as national champions:
1. Jameis Winston
The second freshman in as many years to win the Heisman Trophy, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston showed poise beyond his years on the football field in 2013. Winston passed for better than 4,000 yards with 40 touchdowns and finished as the nation’s top rated passer. Winston is a real student of the game and with 14 games and a national championship already under his belt, the redshirt sophomore to be could be even better next season.
2. A Stronger Non-Conference
With the four-team playoff being implemented next season, there is more margin for error and while the ACC could still be maligned, the Seminoles do have an impressive non-conference slate. Florida State will face Oklahoma State in Dallas and will also host both Notre Dame and Florida. It’s possible that FSU could get into the four-team playoff even with one loss and if the Seminoles were to get there, they will be battle tested outside of the ACC.
3. A Weaker Than Usual ACC
While the non-conference schedule is beefed up, the ACC looks to be a conference that Florida State could win for a third straight season and possibly easily. A lot of big names will be leaving due to graduation and the NFL Draft, particularly in the Atlantic division. Clemson will have to travel to Tallahassee next season and will be without quarterback Tajh Boyd and receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. Andre Williams will be leaving Boston College and ACC newcomer Louisville will have to replace quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Anything short of winning the ACC Atlantic next season will be a dismal failure for Florida State.
4. The SEC Doesn’t Scare Florida State
While the SEC is certainly still the premier conference in college football, there is no gab between the Southeastern Conference and FSU. Following Monday’s victory over Auburn, the Seminoles are 5-1 against the SEC since 2010. If Florida State is fortunate enough to get into the four-team playoff next season, it’s very likely that at least one school from the SEC will be there as well. Though the SEC chatter has dominated college football, the conference itself has been unable to do likewise against the Seminoles.
5. Jimbo Fisher
In a very short period of time, Jimbo Fisher has become one of the premier coaches in college football and that’s the reason why his name was associated with the Texas opening. In four years at Florida State, Fisher is 45-10 with a national championship, two ACC titles, two BCS bowl victories, a 7-1 record against in-state rivals and a 4-0 bowl record. Coaching makes a very big difference in college football. Fortunately for FSU, it has one of the best and will again in 2014.