We’re taking a look at one good reason each school in the ACC will win this year, and, just to make sure we cover both sides of the story, one good reason why it won’t. For most schools, the focus is on winning the ACC title. For the programs that missed out on the postseason entirely last year, the focus is on getting back to a bowl game (at least it is here in the blogosphere). We’re going in alphabetical order.
The series continues today with one good reason why …
Florida State will win its first ACC title since 2005. No team in the conference is as equally deep as it is talented. Coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff have lured in championship-caliber athletes, as the 2011 class was ranked No. 1 in the country and the 2012 class was ranked No. 2 by ESPN.com. Those two classes combined have 25 players from the ESPN 150. It’s time for those recruiting rankings to start translating into BCS rankings. The Seminoles were projected to be the ACC’s best team a year ago, voted by the media to win the league, but when injuries ravaged the starting lineup, the program didn’t have the depth to overcome it. That should be different this year. Florida State has 18 starters returning -- more than any other team in the ACC. As good as Florida State was up front last year -- it tied for eighth nationally in quarterback sacks – it should be even better this season, as just about everyone who made a tackle last year returns. Now, for those of you looking for one good reason why this team will be a national title contender? Let’s see the Noles win their league, first.
Why it won’t: The Noles are too undisciplined. One of the overlooked stats from a year ago was Florida State’s penalties. FSU was No. 118 in the country with 103 penalties for an average of 7.92 per game and 67.31 penalty yards per game. Only Arizona State was worse. FSU was 116th in the country in fewest yards penalized per game. In last year’s 14-13 loss to Virginia, the Noles had 11 penalties for 94 yards. In the loss to Wake Forest they had 13 penalties for 109 yards. And in the loss to Clemson, FSU had 11 penalties for 124 yards. That has nothing to do with injuries and everything to do with discipline. It won’t matter what kind of elite talent Florida State has on its roster if it doesn’t cut down on the penalties.