ACC preview: Florida St. seeks respect in Atlantic Coast this season
If Pitt loses to Florida State next Monday at Heinz Field in its first ACC game, you can point to the Seminoles' superior athleticism and an ability to attract the nation's best recruits.
But don't underestimate the work of 105 media members.
You better believe that Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and wide receiver Rashad Greene were paying attention when the Seminoles were picked to finish second to Clemson in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Only 15 of 120 voters at ACC media days in Greensboro, N.C., last month said Florida State will win the conference championship game.
“We thank the nation for thinking that,” said Joyner, who was chosen preseason all-conference. “When you are on top, all you can do is fall. Now the sky's the limit because the ladder that we can climb has more room, so we can do a lot more things.”
Greene, bypassed on the all-ACC team by wide receivers Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Michael Campanoro of Wake Forest, said voters will be proven wrong.
“At the end of the season, we will be telling the media why they should have (voted for Florida State),” said Greene, who led the team with 57 receptions for 741 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Joyner said voters' disrespect is just what the Seminoles need.
“You want to be doubted; you want to have a chip on your shoulder,” he said.
Florida State is the defending conference champion, but it was the Seminoles' first title since 2005. When they defeated Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois, 31-10, in the Orange Bowl, it represented their first victory in a BCS bowl in 13 years.
That's why it will enter this season hungry for more.
Joyner said Florida State allowed itself to be victimized by lesser teams the past two seasons, losing to Wake Forest, 35-30, in 2011, and North Carolina State, 17-16, last year.
“We made that mistake, and we're not going to make that mistake again,” he said. “We are going to start with Pitt, and we are going to continue a game at a time and play everyone like they are in the way of winning a national championship.”
Florida State had a school-record 11 players drafted this year by the NFL, including quarterback E.J. Manuel and the entire defensive line. Few coaches recruit as effectively as Jimbo Fisher.
The Seminoles' classes have been ranked in the Rivals.com top 10 every year since 2008, and its 2014 group is currently third.
“We have set a standard around Florida State that we lose great players,” Joyner said, “but we bring in another group who will fill those shoes.”