Top 50 teams in 2018: No. 23, Florida State

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Top 50 teams in 2018: No. 23, Florida State

Coach: Willie Taggart

2017 record: 7-6

Projected 2018 record: 8-4

Circle the date: Oct. 27 vs. Clemson

Bowl trip: Belk

Why No. 23: The new coach favors the run, and he has a team loaded with talented backs. Sounds like a great chance for first-year success. Cam Akers is coming off a 1,024-yard season and will be the focal point of Taggart's offense, with plenty of talented backups. ... James Blackman likely gets the starting quarterback job after a solid 2017 season. He needs to cut his interception total, though. ... Nyqwan Murray caught 40 passes last season and leads a receiver group that lacks depth. ... Three starters return on the offensive line and will be crucial to a winning season. ... New defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett has plenty of work to do replacing eight starters. ... The strength of the defense will be the line. End Brian Burns is the top returning tackler. ... The Seminoles open the season at home against Virginia Tech. They should sweep three early nonconference games, but then face a nasty stretch against Clemson, North Carolina State and Notre Dame.

Last year's ranking: No. 3

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