Florida State's title defense begins with a stern test Saturday, as the national champion Seminoles open against Oklahoma State in Dallas. The Seminoles return 15 starters from last year's championship squad, including reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at quarterback, but they aren't easing into the defense of their crown. The Cowboys have won six straight season openers and have knocked off four top-10 foes under coach Mike Gundy, though they've never beaten a No. 1 team.
Florida State's 16-game winning streak dating to the 2012 season is one shy of the school record set from 1999-2000. The Seminoles' retooled defense gets a good early test against an Oklahoma State team that has been one of the nation's most prolific on offense during Gundy's tenture. "They are very diverse, they are very athletic, and they are very well-coached," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters. "They keep you off-balanced, and they are not scored to do things. They are very aggressive with how they play."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Florida State -17.5.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (14-0): The Seminoles return a number of key players from an offense that has put up 30 or more points in 15 straight games, but the receiving corps is thin on experience with starting receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw gone after combining for 108 receptions and 21 touchdowns a year ago. New defensive coordinator Charles Kelly inherits a unit that returns six starters and is especially strong against the pass, with returners having combined for 16 interceptions in 2013. Like they did a year ago, the Seminoles figure to have an advantage on special teams with the return of record-breaking kicker Roberto Aguayo and return specialist Kermit Whitfield.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (10-3): The Cowboys appear to be headed for a rebuilding year, as they're picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 and don't return much star power. Only six players on the roster have more than 10 career starts, and only one — receiver Jhajuan Seales — plays an offensive skill position. Quarterback J.W. Walsh isn't on that list — he has started only eight games — but could be poised for a breakout year after passing for 22 touchdowns and rushing for 10 while splitting time under center the past two seasons.
1. Florida State has outscored opponents 203-22 in season openers during Fisher's four-year tenure as head coach.
2. Oklahoma State has scored 20 or more points in 52 consecutive games and has at least one touchdown drive of faster than two minutes in 35 straight contests.
3. Winston has thrown a touchdown pass in 14 straight games, two shy of Chris Weinke's school record, while WR Rashad Greene has caught a pass in 29 straight contests.
PREDICTION: Florida State 41, Oklahoma State 27