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Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in the country, and every conference has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to landing top prospects. This week, we are examining the BCS conferences plus Notre Dame to find each one's strength, the biggest obstacle each faces and the overall view of the conference. The ACC is up today.
Biggest obstacle: Getting out from under the SEC's shadow. This conference shares the same player pool and it needs every matchup versus the SEC to count. Clemson beating LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2012 was big, but over the course of the past few years Clemson, Virginia Tech and FSU haven't always fared as well, and South Carolina has been a thorn in the side of Clemson. This conference needs a resurgence from Miami and North Carolina as well as NC State. The middle- and bottom-tier teams in these two conferences are very comparable. The ACC needs its powers to consistently dominate on and off the field, and for recruiting classes from the likes of FSU, Clemson and Miami to produce double-digit wins.
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Hale: QB EJ Manuel and DE Bjoern Werner should see their stock rising for the postseason awards for which they’re in contention.
Corey Dowlar writes: Florida State’s method of getting the attention of 2014 defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)? The Seminoles sent more than 50 pieces of mail with their name on it in just more than 48 hours.
Hale: Terrence Brooks needs to curb some of his enthusiasm in hopes of avoiding further problems with cramping that cost him a couple of series against Murray State.
Hale: Q&A with Savannah State coach Steve Davenport on his team’s thrashing at the hands of Oklahoma State and how they’ll respond this week against FSU.
Corey Dowlar writes: Kendall Baker has early offers from Florida State and Vanderbilt, talks about his recovery from ACL and recruitment process.
Note: Join NoleNation at 2 p.m. ET for a chat with Dowlar.
Corey Dowlar writes: Brandon Jenkins’ season-ending injury puts the possible redshirting of Mario Edwards Jr. and Chris Casher in a new context -- not just for this season, but in regard to the signing classes of 2013-14 as well.
Corey Dowlar writes: 2014 LB Tre Williams, the latest target inside Alabama for FSU recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig, plans his visit to Tallahassee.
Hale: OL Menelik Watson, an unusually athletic big man who’s short on experience despite being a juco transfer, is today’s subject in NoleNation’s Carrying the Spear series of player profiles.
Also, check back this afternoon with NoleNation as David M. Hale attends Jimbo Fisher's news conference, as well as Seminoles afternoon practice.
Corey Dowlar writes: 2014 WR Johnnie Dixon prizes his ties to high school teammates now at Florida State and Florida.
Hale: NoleNation readers get their questions answered by Florida State linebackers.
Hale: CB Nick Waisome, who is battling freshman phenom Ronald Darby for the starting spot vacated by Reid, is today’s subject in NoleNation’s Carrying the Spear, profiling 50 potential impact players this season.
David M. Hale writes: The lauded Seminoles still have questions on their depth chart that could get answers during this afternoon’s scrimmage.
Hale: The shuffle at linebacker, aimed at shoring up the biggest weakness on FSU’s vaunted defense, is born not of desperation but logic.
Note: Check back with NoleNation late this afternoon for notes and news from Florida State's afternoon scrimmage.
Corey Dowlar writes: ATH Treon Harris tries to focus on his team’s goal of winning a high school state title.
Hale: FSU football player Bryan Stork's versatility and experience are scarce resources on a Seminoles offensive line that's a work in progress.
Corey Dowlar writes: FSU commit Marquez White, whose family is full of Alabama ties, will visit campus with his parents in tow.
Hale: Wide receiver Rodney Smith, a 6-foot-6 target with speed and more experience than most of the deep receiving corps, is Friday's profile in NoleNation's Carrying the Spear series of players who can make an impact.
RecruitingNation is offering a free 30-day trial of Insider access -- sign up now for the ability to chat with Dowlar.
Also see a wrap of NoleNation beat writer David M. Hale's comprehensive Seminoles chat from yesterday.
Hale: WR Kenny Shaw, who should fit in as a go-to option in the slot, is today’s profile in NoleNation’s Carrying the Spear series of 50 potential impact players.
Hale: O-linemen Daniel Glauser and Bryan Stork seem solid as starters, judging by Tuesday's practice.
Note: Check back with NoleNation later today -- Hale is at FSU practice today, while Corey Dowlar’s Recruiting Tracker will make its debut this afternoon.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- On the first day, it rained.
A day later, it rained again, and on through the rest of Florida State's first week of practice, forcing the Seminoles to move workouts to the wee hours of the morning, with players taking the field long before the sun rose.
"It's another reason for us to get this indoor facility," quarterback EJ Manuel said. "Win a national championship and maybe we'll get one next year."
Manuel's aside was meant to be humorous, but it underscores the reality of life on the margins of college football's elite.
A decade ago, things were different. Florida State was dominant, a perennial top-five team and the prototype by which other programs were measured. But the new millennium has not been kind to the Seminoles, once the crown jewel of the ACC but now overshadowed by SEC neighbors such as Alabama, Florida and LSU.
If the Seminoles want the perks that come with excellence, like that indoor practice facility -- there is no more room for mediocrity.
"Winning is everything, so when you don't win, your brand takes a move back," FSU athletics director Randy Spetman said. "It puts huge expectations on us, and we've got to come through with that. And I think we will."
12:30 PM ET South Carolina State 16 Clemson 3:30 PM ET Richmond Virginia 4:00 PM ET Georgia Tech Tulane 6:00 PM ET Old Dominion North Carolina State 6:30 PM ET Gardner-Webb Wake Forest 7:00 PM ET Murray State Louisville 7:00 PM ET Florida A&M Miami (FL) 7:00 PM ET Duke Troy 7:30 PM ET Citadel 1 Florida State 8:00 PM ET San Diego State 23 North Carolina 8:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 5 Ohio State