Let the FSU love-train begin.
My colleague, ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach, released his way-too-early top 25 for 2012, and the Noles check in at No. 8, followed by No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 22 Clemson and No. 24 NC State. With nine starters returning on defense, this is just the beginning of another offseason geared towards high expectations for Jimbo Fisher's team.
And yes, I saw the offense this year (or lack thereof).
For those of you who follow the blog closely, though, you might remember that at this point last year and throughout the offseason, I stuck with 2012 as being Florida State's year. I think the Noles could be good enough to be a top 10 team and possibly sneak into the national title conversation, but I'm more convinced they'll be good enough to win the ACC title and represent the league well in the Discover Orange Bowl.
Of course ...
This is the ACC. It's a November race. And Schlabach was spot-on to include NC State in his list. With FSU and Clemson in the same division, it won't be easy for the Pack to get to Charlotte, but Mike Glennon could be a special quarterback this year. The difference in Tom O'Brien's team when it's healthy is remarkable. He's a good coach, and he can get them there. Meet your way-too-early darkhorse prediction: No. 24 NC State.
It's good to see four teams getting some love early on, but it's even better to see them earn it at the finish line.