NCAA football gambling handicappers respected what legendary coach Bobby Bowden did for FSU but the past 9 NCAA football wagering seasons were below expectations.
Florida State won just 7 games straight up in 3 out of the past 4 seasons as the program grew stale under Bowden’s watch. The Seminoles finished 7-6 straight up and just 4-8 against the spread last year needed a Gator Bowl win over West Virginia to get over the .500 mark.
Jimbo Fisher, who was the Seminoles coach in waiting and offensive coordinator, has taken over for Bowden and given the program a much needed shot in the arm with a new and younger staff and a much more energetic and enthusiastic approach.
Fisher has taken complete control of the program and is already scoring results on the recruiting trail. Fisher said the program needs a change in attitude in order to compete successfully with the college football odds.
“I think we know we’re pretty good,” said Fisher. “Getting the mind right, and getting them to understand and care for each other and take ownership of each other, that’s crucial.”
The defense must improve if the Seminoles are to take the next step in the Atlantic Coast Conference as they allowed a humiliating 20 points per game last year, a 10-point leap from 2009.
Mark Stoops was hired by Fisher to coordinate the improvement efforts. Stoops took a defense at Arizona that ranked 109th in 2003 and improved it to 25th last year.
The offense could be a major asset with the college football lines as 9 starters return led by senior quarterback Christian Ponder. The unit averaged 30 points per game last year and is expected to be better with such stars as junior running back Jermaine Thomas returning.
Ponder thinks that the Seminoles could be a NCAA football gambling surprise.
“A lot of people are going to be surprised by the way we look once the season starts,” said Ponder, who passed for 2717 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.”
Florida State has shown a profit against the board in just 1 out of their last 6 seasons when they went 6-5 against the spread in 2008. They have been a big time overlay as a home chalk since 2001 with a mark of 17-31 ATS.