2016 season: 10-3, 5-3 in the ACC (3rd in the Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Jimbo Fisher (8th season)

Despite losing their all-time leading rusher and a few pieces on defense, the Seminoles find themselves in the top five to begin the season. Quarterback Deondre Francois is a big reason why after racking up 25 total touchdowns a year ago and leading his team to wins in tough games against Ole Miss and Michigan. But the sophomore may find himself flat on his back against strong defenses if his offensive line does not improve in front of him.

Francois’ line will be tested right away with a matchup against top-ranked Alabama in Atlanta. Although an early loss would not dash Florida State’s playoff hopes, the Seminoles face an uphill battle running the table after the opening weekend with matchups against No. 18 Miami, No. 16 Louisville, No. 5 Clemson and No. 17 Florida on the schedule.

Florida State enters the year with questions about its playmakers surrounding Francois. Junior Jacques Patrick and freshman Cam Akers are expected to replace the production of Dalvin Cook in the backfield and junior Nyqwan Murray has the potential to emerge as the Seminoles’ top wideout.

One area Florida State will improve in is in the secondary, where All-American safety Derwin James returns after a knee injury a year ago. With junior Tavarus McFadden—whose eight interceptions last season were tied for best in the nation—and a pair of senior linebackers in Matthew Thomas and Ro’Derrick Hoskins, the Seminoles should be a tough team to move the ball against.