3) Florida State Seminoles
Key Player: DB Derwin James
Playing in not even two full games put a major dent into FSU’s defense last season. It took them quite a while to recover losing their alpha dog leader. Just take a look at the Louisville and North Carolina games where receivers were streaking wide open down the field. A potential top five pick in the NFL Draft whenever he decides to enter, James is an absolute freak. Standing large and in charge at 6-3, the best defensive player in college football is fully healthy looking to make a statement in 2017.
Key Stat: See You In January?
The Noles have appeared in five straight NY6/BCS bowls (trails only Bama, 6) and many favor them strongly to make it six in a row. If their defense can improve from the way they played down the stretch last season, the folks in Tallahassee will be tomahawk chopping towards national prominence.
Key Game: 11/1 at Clemson
Wait, what!? Hello, Alabama!?
Well, a loss certainly is not what the Noles are aiming for in the opener, but the goal is to win the ACC and reach the CFP. Winning the ACC will give them that opportunity and the winner of the Noles and Tigers has been imperative for major success.
Think about it, the winner between these two have appeared in the ACC title in eight consecutive seasons. The two have won six ACC crowns in a row with the winner going onto either the BCS title or CFP title/semifinal as well. So, you’re telling me this game has extra stakes, eh?