After breaking the SEC’s seven-year streak of national championships on the gridiron and capping off the 2013 season with a perfect 14-0 record, Florida State will return more scoring this fall than any other ACC school. Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston enters his sophomore campaign leading an offense that is loaded with talent, and the Seminoles could very well lead the league in points for the second year in a row.
Below is a graph illustrating how much scoring each conference team is returning in 2014:
A few things stand out about the numbers listed above. For one, Boston College running back Andre Williams scored exactly twice as many points in 2013 (108) as every returning Eagles player combined (54). And while kickers are generally near the top of the list of players responsible for the most points in a season, explaining why BC, Clemson, Syracuse and Virginia Tech lost a chunk of their scoring from a year ago, Wake Forest kicker Chad Hedlund is coming back and the Deacons returning roster still only combined for 94 points last fall.
A lot can be drawn from these statistics, but they don’t necessarily tell the entire story. Some teams, such as the Tigers and the Tar Heels, run fast-paced offenses that naturally lead to high-scoring games, while programs like Virginia Tech are known more for making plays on the defensive side of the ball.
Miami and Louisville are among the schools with a lot of key pieces comig back on offense, but both are breaking in new quarterbacks and playing difficult schedules (the Hurricanes face Nebraska out of conference and have their traditional crossover with Florida State, while the Cardinals also square off with the Seminoles in division play and have a showdown with Notre Dame on their nonconference slate). North Carolina, on the other hand, has Marquise Williams returning after he went 4-2 as the starting signal-caller last year, but a shaky offensive line could make it tougher for the Heels to score in 2014.
The main takeaway is that Florida State will again be really, really good next season. Aside from Winston, the ‘Noles bring back Karlos Williams, who averaged 8.0 yards per carry in 2013, as well as a 1,000-yard receiver in Rashad Greene. In addition, offensive tackle Cameron Erving and guard Tre’ Jackson star on the best O-line in the ACC.
Whether or not the Seminoles can repeat as national champions this fall remains to be seen, but look for Jimbo Fisher to once again field an outstanding offense in his fifth year as head coach.