Florida State National Title Odds Plummet with Deondre Francois Injury

Matthew Jordan

Monday, September 4, 2017 7:30 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 4, 2017 7:30 PM UTC

You never want to overreact to what happens in the first week of the college football season, but it’s sure hard to see Florida State getting to the College Football Playoff without its starting quarterback.

No. 3 Florida State and No. 1 Alabama played in the greatest season opener in NCAA history on Saturday night in terms or rankings. The Seminoles’ defense played well enough to win in holding the Crimson Tide and their Heisman contenders, QB Jalen Hurts, RB Bo Scarbrough and WR Calvin Ridley, to just 269 total yards.

However, the Tide defense was just as good and held Florida State to 250 yards while forcing three turnovers in a 24-7 win. Plus, FSU was terrible on special teams with a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery on a kickoff return.

We had written previously that the loser of that game still had a good shot at reaching the College Football Playoff as long as it still ran the table.

That’s probably not an option for Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles with the news that star sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois is done for the season with torn ligaments in his knee. If you watched the game and saw the injury, it was clear it was going to bad a bad diagnosis. With about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Francois was sacked from behind by Crimson Tide safety Ronnie Harrison, which caused a patellar tendon injury in Francois’ left knee. Fisher said Monday that Francois is scheduled for surgery Tuesday and the timeline for his recovery is 4-7 months.

Francois started from Day 1 last year as a redshirt freshman and completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,350 yards (most of any FBS freshman) and 20 touchdowns. He also rushed for 198 yards and five scores. It’s nothing short of a crushing loss because Francois was going to be the focal point of the offense in 2017 with All-American running back Dalvin Cook now on the Minnesota Vikings.

Florida State had been +800 to win the national title entering the Alabama game on the BetOnline college football futures. Now FSU is +3300. Francois was +1600 on the Heisman odds but has been taken off that board.

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Deondre Francois carted off pic.twitter.com/TBoyg2flpt

— Noles247.com (@Noles247) September 3, 2017

Lanky freshman James Blackman, a three-star recruit from Belle Glade, Florida, replaced Francois against Alabama and he will start this Saturday against UL Monroe. Blackman will be the first true freshman to start for Fisher since he was an assistant at Auburn.  Fisher said FSU doesn't plan to change anything significantly with Francois out. Blackman was the lowest-ranked of the two QBs who signed in 2017. Four-star Bailey Hockman was ranked No. 180 in the ESPN 300. Another backup quarterback, J.J. Cosentino, attempted nine passes in 2016.

The Noles are -31.5 this week in their home opener against UL Monroe. They won’t have any problem there, but suddenly that home game against No. 18 Miami on Sept. 16 looks like a potential loss. FSU still has to play No. 16 Louisville, at No. 5 Clemson and at No. 17 Florida in the regular season. I see no way this team doesn’t lose at least one of those games.

The first of six official College Football Playoff rankings isn't revealed until Oct. 31. Florida State might already be eliminated by then.

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