2015 record: 10-3 (6-2 ACC)
Florida State's run of three straight ACC titles came to an end last season, but after a short rebuilding period the Seminoles could be the conference's best again. The division and conference will likely come down to the home game against Clemson in late October, which should give new starting quarterback Deondre Francois time to adjust to his new role. Florida State has one of the best rosters in college football, and they'll be in the playoff conversation, maybe even with a loss to Clemson.
Here are three storylines to watch:
1. How will Francois' supporting cast play? Six first-year starting quarterbacks have won national titles since 2009, including Jameis Winston in 2013. What has Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher learned from that? He said it's that those quarterbacks usually have experienced talent surrounding them that ease the transition. That's exactly what the Seminoles have around Francois. The question is whether the receivers and offensive line will step up their play after inconsistency in 2015. The offensive line should be solid after a full season to jell, but there are concerns as to whether the receiving corps will develop a red zone target. The Seminoles need one of their taller receivers to emerge. They lacked a receiver that could haul in contested throws last year.
2. The defense has the potential to be elite. Linebacker has been a question mark for the Seminoles recently thanks to injuries, suspension and attrition. Fisher said he isn't worried about the position, and if his confidence is genuine, this could be one of the country's best groups. The starting group along the defensive front has a blend of pass-rushers and run-stuffers. Starting defensive ends DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat can do both effectively, and Derrick Nnadi is emerging as one of the conference's best tackles. The secondary is among the country's best with Marquez White at cornerback and Derwin James at safety. The Seminoles have to replace Jalen Ramsey and the underrated Lamarcus Brutus, but the Seminoles are loaded with capable options. Keep an eye on Trey Marshall, Tarvarus McFadden and Marcus Lewis. Levonta Taylor is a five-star freshman, too.
3. Dalvin Cook making a run at the Heisman Trophy. As a sophomore, Cook rushed for 1,691 yards and totaled 20 touchdowns. There wasn't a more explosive player in the country than Cook, who routinely broke off long gains as a rusher and receiver. He received only seven first-place votes in the Heisman balloting last season, but he's on the short list of preseason contenders entering 2015. With an offensive line returning every starter and what should be some stability at quarterback, Cook could have an even better junior season as defenses won't be able to focus as much on him. He's 100 percent healthy entering the season, too. He is poised for a big year and maybe one that ends with a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.