No. 6 Florida State

I miss Bobby Bowden’s renegade Seminoles, who did plenty of good and bad things on and off the field. The difference was Bowden could tell armed robbery jokes better than anyone and get most matters reduced to running extra stadium steps.

I visited Bowden in December of 2006 in advance of a third-tier bowl game against UCLA. It was down year, with more to come, and the sense was it might be time for Bobby to go.

He had a mess of military books on his shelf, so I asked Bowden to rank his all-time generals. [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

He mentioned Eisenhower, Grant, Lee and others before finally settling on Napoleon as his No.1.

“Napoleon?” I said thinking of the Battle of Waterloo. “His career didn’t end too well either.”

“Yeah,” Bowden said without missing a beat. “He played in the Emerald Bowl too.”

Modern-day FSU is just as talented but less interesting to me. Maybe we’re not far enough removed, yet, from the onerous Jameis Winston “investigation,” such as it wasn’t.

Florida State won the last BCS national title under Jimbo Fisher, made the first College Football Playoff playoffs and could win it all again this year. Again, I’m just not that interested.

Or, AS interested.

It is our duty to report, however, that FSU is loaded again and possibly ready to reclaim the ACC from Clemson. Fisher is the best recruiter east of Nick Saban and his team appears set to compete for the sport’s finest prizes.

Start with Dalvin Cook at tailback and go from there, Quarterback is settled for now with second-year freshman Deondre Francois, in part because senior Sean Maguire broke his foot and will miss the first couple of games.

Florida State plays a challenging non-conference schedule this year, opening against Ole Miss and finishing against Florida. This is the way it used to be in the early Bowden days, before Florida State joined the ACC in 1992, when the Seminoles took on all comers as a way of building a national reputation.

The ACC isn’t the tulip stomp it used to be now that Louisville and Miami are in the league, so matching last year’s 10-3 record isn’t going to be easy.

There is every reason to think the ACC race, and a potential playoff spot, will hinge on the Oct. 29 game against Clemson in Tallahassee. The Tigers won last year's game, 23-13, on their way to the national title game.

Rankman's countdown so far:No. 16 Boise State, No. 15 Washington,No. 14USC, No. 13UCLA, No. 12Stanford, No. 11 Oregon, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 7 Oklahoma[/membership]

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