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Florida State to battle Clemson for ACC Atlantic Division Title

NCAA football kicks off next Thursday with a complete schedule on Saturday August 31. The Florida State Seminoles however do not start their season until Monday September 2 on the road against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Last season, Florida State was ranked by some preseason polls at No. 7, but their hopes of a national championship were crushed after being ranked No. 3 and losing to North Carolina State on the road.

Even though there national championship hopes were lost, the team came back strong and won the ACC championship by defeating Georgia Tech 21-15.

Florida State entered the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois and the Seminoles came out victorious 31-10. Seminoles coaches, players and fans alike hope that Orange Bowl victory carries over to a great 2013 season.

Florida State starts its season with a new signal caller under center as redshirt freshman Jameis Winston takes the reins over from E.J. Manuel who was picked by Buffalo in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Winston has excellent speed and will give the Seminoles a dual threat, but his passing game still needs polishing. Winston will give Florida State more on the ground then his predecessor Manuel did, but he is far from being the passer Manuel was.

Being a redshirt will help Winston as he was able to learn watching Manuel and did not have the pressure of learning the offensive terminology and playing at the same time.

The schedule favors the Seminoles, as the tougher games are later in the season giving time for Winston to get accustomed to the college game.

Opening at Pittsburgh on the road will be difficult and a tough test as Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the strongest in the conference.

After the opening game, the schedule for Florida State gets a bit easier as they will be at home for all but two games the rest of September and through October. The biggest challenge will be at Clemson in October, as the Tigers are predicted to battle the Seminoles in the Atlantic division for a right to play in the ACC Championship game.

The Seminoles will end their season against their biggest rival, the Florida Gators in Gainesville on November 30. Last season the Gators got the better of the Seminoles 37-26.

The overall schedule favors the Seminoles and should give them the opportunity to play for the conference championship in December.

An ACC championship could be in the works for this season, but with a redshirt freshman at the helm, a national title is a long shot.

Nevertheless, look for Florida State to battle Clemson for the ACC championship and qualify for one of the BCS bowls in January.

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