Let's wrap up the Seminoles' spring workouts with some futures betting odds analysis, as spring football is over at Florida State, where there is a gaping hole to fill at quarterback.
Florida State had two previous Heisman-winning QBs before Jameis Winston arrived on campus in Tallahassee. Charlie Ward won it in 1993 and Chris Weinke in 2000. Neither turned out to be anything in the NFL -- Ward was a better NBA player. I think it's thus far to say that in his two brief seasons that Winston was the best quarterback in school history, and on Thursday he became the first Seminole to be chosen with the No. 1 overall pick. The Tampa Bay Bucs entrusted their franchise to Winston, who then continued to show his immaturity by posting a photo on Instagram of himself in a Bucs jersey with crab legs on his plate. Of course Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix grocery store in Tallahassee. I'm pretty sure the Bucs weren't amused by that picture and soon after it was taken down. But I digress.
No one can argue Winston's on-field talent. And no one can argue that Winston had the greatest freshman season in college football history in winning the Heisman Trophy (youngest to do so) and taking home just about every other major award in leading Florida State to a perfect record and the NCAA title. Winston wasn't quite as spectacular last season but still very good and won his first 26 starts overall – a feat unmatched by major NCAA Division I quarterbacks in history. His lone loss was his final game in the Rose Bowl to Oregon and its quarterback Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick on Thursday by Tennessee.
By the way, Week 1 of the NFL schedule: Titans at Bucs (-2.5 on NFL odds). We will see if both rookies are starting that soon.
Maguire's Job To Lose
While Alabama had no quarterback who had taken significant snaps to replace A.J. McCarron last season, FSU does have someone to replace Winston in Sean Maguire. Now a redshirt junior, he started the Seminoles' huge ACC opener last season against Clemson because Winston was suspended for yet another poor off-field decision. Maguire was pretty good in the 23-17 overtime win, completing 21 of 39 for 304 yards, a touchdown (which sent game to OT) and two picks. He would only play in two more games after that and just in mop-up duty.
So clearly Maguire has the edge in winning the starting job. Redshirt sophomore John Franklin III, redshirt freshman J.J. Cosentino and true freshman De'Andre Johnson were Maguire’s counterparts in the spring competition. Coach Jimbo Fisher went into the spring hinting he might officially name a starter but he didn't. In the spring game, Maguire wasn't super sharp, going 22 of 44 for 289 yards, two interceptions (one returned for a score) and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Johnson and Cosentino did play well. To be fair, Maguire faced the first-team defense and Fisher noted that Maguire was hurt by mistakes from his teammates, such as incorrect patterns run by young receivers and consistently high snaps from his young center. Johnson and Cosentino faced a second-team defense that had several walk-ons.
“I feel very good about Sean,” Fisher said last month. “Sean had a great spring, we have to play well around him. I like where he’s at right now.”
I'd say it's all but a lock that Maguire is under center when Florida State opens its season Sept. 5 against Texas State (nice scheduling!). FSU's first test won't come until Sept. 18 at Boston College in the ACC opener. But know this: the offense will not be Maguire's. It will be sophomore running back Dalvin Cook's. He wasn't used much at the beginning of last season behind Karlos Williams but it was Cook's job at the end. He closed the season with 144 yards against Florida, 177 against Georgia Tech in the ACC title game and 103 against Oregon in the Rose Bowl loss. It will be a run-heavy offense in 2015, at least until Maguire earns more leeway.
Regarding Week 1 College Football Picks, consider that Maguire wins job and FSU is 4-0 entering a big Oct. 10 game vs. Miami. After that ....