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Certain teams have expectations of winning the national title before the season starts. The Florida State Seminoles were one of those programs. Now, they'd just settle for some consistency.
Following five straight campaigns with at least 10 wins, the Seminoles are reeling. They only have one winning season over the last three years and missed out on a bowl game in 2018 for the first time since 1981. They last appeared in a conference title game all the way back in 2014.
Can FSU pick itself up off the floor and make some noise in 2020? Let's dive into the win total for this upcoming season.
If college football games ended at halftime, Florida State may have won the whole thing in 2019.
Second-order wins - which account for actual versus expected results - also factor in postgame win expectancy. The Seminoles performed like a 7.3-win team yet settled for a 6-7 record, mainly because they couldn't finish.
In Week 1 against Boise State, the Seminoles were outscored 17-0 in the second half and lost 36-31.
Two weeks later at No. 25 Virginia, they had a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter ... and lost by seven.
In Week 8 against Wake Forest, Florida State lost on a game-winning field goal after mustering six points in the second half.
And in the bowl game against Arizona State, FSU was blanked 11-0 in the final quarter to lose 20-14.
This is why bettors have trust issues with the Seminoles.
Florida State's got some traction here.
After finishing No. 61 in SP+ defense last season, the Seminoles return 83% of last year's unit, which ranks No. 9 in the nation.
Offensive-minded head coach Mike Norvell has pieces to work with on that side of the ball, too, with 63% of the group back.
Overall, Florida State has the sixth-most returning production in the ACC and is No. 27 in the country.
|1||vs. West Virginia (N)|
|3||@ Boise State|
|5||@ NC State|
|7||vs. Wake Forest|
|11||vs. Boston College|
The Seminoles will have to earn their victories in 2020. They have the second-toughest path in the ACC and are No. 13 overall in strength of schedule.
Five other ACC teams trump FSU's returning production, so expect the conference to be vastly improved.
There's a lot to like about Florida State in 2020. The program's due for positive regression, while there's enough talent in place to do damage under a new, savvy head coach in Norvell.
However, the Seminoles still don't have an elite roster like the ones we're accustomed to seeing. They should be better than last season, but so will the rest of the ACC, making this an extremely tough handicap.
I'd love to buy low in this spot after FSU left so much on the table last year. But with Clemson, Pitt, Miami, Louisville, and Florida all featured on the schedule following Week 5, Florida State could realistically start out 4-0 and still miss its mark of eight wins.
Perhaps the Seminoles can return to glory sooner than later. But I'm not ready to invest ... yet.
(Odds source: theScore Bet).
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.