A championship-worthy tilt will start Florida State’s football season when the Seminoles meet Alabama on Sept. 2 in Atlanta.
FSU is ranked No. 3 and Alabama No. 1 in the Associated Press and Coaches’ preseason polls. Two Sports Illustrated writers predict those teams will meet again in the national championship game.
As usual, expectations are high this season in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles return 20 starters – including 11 on defense – from last year’s team that went 10-3 and edged Michigan in a thrilling Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium.
FSU should be solid at quarterback with Deondre Francois at the helm. The redshirt sophomore threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and captured the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year award.
“He’s a big-time player,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He’s tough, accurate and can throw the ball.”
Standout defensive back Tavarus McFadden, who was a teammate of the Tribe’s Andre Jumper and Blevyns Jumper on state championship teams at American Heritage, tied for most interceptions in the country last season with eight.
Justin Motlow, the first Seminole Tribe of Florida member to play for FSU, returns for his fourth season. Motlow redshirted his freshman year. He appeared in two games in 2015. Last season he did not see any game action. In this year’s spring game, the 5-foot-11, 183-pound wide receiver from Tampa caught two passes.
FSU’s home games are against Louisiana-Monroe, Miami, North Carolina State, Louisville, Syracuse and Delaware State.
The Delaware State game on Nov. 18 is homecoming, which will feature the Tribe’s Miss Florida Seminole Randee Osceola and Jr. Miss Florida Seminole Kailani Osceola.
The Friday night block parties before FSU home games have shifted this season to the College Town entertainment district located a couple blocks from campus.
Brendan Carter and Renegade VI are back as Osceola and Renegade. The duo has served in those roles since 2014. Media outlets reported that Osceola and Renegade would not be with FSU in its opener against Alabama, which will take place in a new stadium, but rather make their season debut Sept. 9 in Tallahassee.