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Florida State vs Oklahoma State College Football Preview

Jimbo Fisher’s top-ranked Seminoles begin their national title defense under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium when they take on perennial Big 12 contender Oklahoma State. Florida State and the reigning Heisman winner, quarterback Jameis Winston, have their eyes set ona return to Arlington at season’s end to play for second straight national title. Coming off of a 10-3 year, expectations for Mike Gundy’s 10th season at the helm of the Cowboys are to be tempered, as they return only 10 starters, 6 from the offense and 4 from the defense.

The Seminoles also had some key departures from last year’s undefeated squad, including the losses of leading rusher Devonta Freeman, receiver Kelvin Benjamin, and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the NFL Draft. Florida State’s offense could easily be as potent as last year’s, which averaged 51.6 points per game. The passing game will be dangerous as they return leading receiver Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary, both NFL caliber players. Look for the Seminoles to use a running back by committee approach to replace the loss of Freeman, a 1000 yard rusher. Senior Karlos Williams, a former safety, should be the primary ball carrier with a trio of athletes; Ryan Green, Mario Pender, and Dalvin Cook, backing him up. The Seminole’s defense suffered some key offseason losses, especially in their front seven, but while the defense may lack experience it does have a good amount of talent. Jimbo Fisher’s defense should, once again, be a tough opponent for any offense. The Cowboys’ offense will be led by junior quarterback J.W. Walsh and senior tailback Desmond Roland, the team’s top running back in 2013. The receiving corps will be comprised of four sophomores;JhajuanSeales, MarcellAteman, Austin Hays, and Blake Webb, with Seales being the presumed primary target. The Oklahoma State defense lost star cornerback Justin Gilbert to the NFL, but retained one of the Big 12’s best corners in junior Kevin Peterson. The rest of the secondary may be a concern for the Cowboys, as there is little experience. The defensive line should be the best unit on Oklahoma State’s defense, led by tackle James Castleman. Barring any major setbacks, the Seminoles should be participating in the first ever College Football Playoff. Due to their recent success, Gundy and the Cowboys expect to contend for the Big 12 crown every year. This will be a difficult task in 2014 due to their tough conference schedule which includes road games against 20th ranked Kansas State, 10th ranked Baylor, and 4th ranked Oklahoma.

Keys to the Game

Florida State

  • Florida State did little wrong in their 2013 campaign, in fact, their first major slip up came in Jameis Winston’s offseason “Crabgate” scandal. If Winston and the Seminoles can forget “Crabgate” and pick up where they finished off last season, then they should start their title defense off with a win against a tough Oklahoma State Squad.

Oklahoma State

  • If this young Cowboy team beat the Seminoles, it would easily be considered one of the biggest upsets of the year. For that to happen, Oklahoma State’s defense must find a way to stop Winston and create turnovers in a game that will likely be an offensive shootout. The Cowboy’s must minimalize mistakes and capitalize on every scoring opportunity to dethrone the Seminoles.

NO KEY INJURIES TO DATE

Odds/Line: Florida State by +17.5 points

Conclusion

The 6th annual Cowboys Classic looks to be one of the better matchups of College Football’s opening weekend, featuring teams from two of the power five conferences. Florida State is looking to kick off their pursuit of another title with a big non-conference win, while Oklahoma State is out to shock the world with an upset that would shake the college football landscape. It should be an entertaining, high octane game.

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