On the strength of Al Thornton, Florida State is getting a lot of optimistic press prior to the beginning of the ’06-’07 campaign. The Sporting News jumps on the bandwagon today with a piece on the Seminoles that posits that–at least this year–FSU will be a basketball school rather than a football one.

The Seminoles have one of the ACC’s best players in forward Al Thornton. At 6-8, he can do just about everything on the court — rebound, handle the ball, slash to the basket. He’s a good 3-point shooter, and he also has an impressive midrange game — in other words, good luck to whoever’s assigned to defend him.

He’s complemented by a talented perimeter cast, led by transfer Toney Douglas and returning starters Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann. They’ll keep the Seminoles playing an uptempo attack, which will help offset the loss of the 6-9 Johnson and 6-10 Diego Romero.

As the Sporting News admits, part of the optimism for FSU is rooted in the fact that the ACC is so young this season. There will be a power vacuum, and FSU–along with Georgia Tech, Boston College and Maryland–are the four schools that are expected to be able to capitalize accordingly.

There are always surprises, of course, but a surge from the Seminoles would not too much of a shock. Coach Hamilton has done some tremendous recruiting during his time in Tallahassee, and though two of those stars left early for the NBA, there’s as much talent at Florida State now as there’s ever been.