With the ACC's revamped schedule, the Seminoles lost contests they would have likely been favored in against Wake Forest and Syracuse. Instead, FSU will now have to deal with a Notre Dame squad that has averaged 11 wins the last three seasons, last season’s ACC Coastal champion Virginia, and an up-and-coming North Carolina team led by quarterback Sam Howell.
The good news for FSU is its daunting non-conference slate is no longer. The exception is Samford, an FCS school from the Southern Conference, which is scheduled to come to Tallahassee. Every FCS conference but one (Ohio Valley Conference) has postponed its football season this fall because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic many, including the Southern Conference, are allowing members to play non-conference matchups.
FSU loses a neutral-site showdown with West Virginia, a trip to Boise State, and its annual rivalry contest with Florida. It’ll be the first time since 1958 that the Seminoles and Gators won’t meet.
Still, FSU hopes to play 11 games. Here’s how the Athlon Sports panel expects it to fare in those contests:
Athlon asked a few editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projection for Florida State in 2020.
Florida State Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Mike Norvell was a great hire for Florida State, but he’s stepping into a difficult situation this fall. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seminoles won’t have a typical offseason, hurting a first-year staff with its plans to install new schemes on both sides of the ball. Florida State’s quarterback situation is unsettled, but James Blackman has shown flashes of potential. Norvell’s background on offense could help Blackman put together a complete season, but he will be pushed by Jordan Travis and two freshmen. The skill talent for Blackman is solid, but big-time question marks remain up front. Florida State’s defense should show improvement under new coordinator Adam Fuller, especially with tackle Marvin Wilson back for his senior year. The revamped ACC schedule didn’t do Norvell any favors. The Seminoles have road trips to Miami, Notre Dame and Louisville. Also, North Carolina and Clemson come to Tallahassee. Getting to 6-5 or 7-4 would be a good debut for Norvell.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
It's not been the smoothest of beginnings for new head coach Mike Norvell down in Tallahassee but then again this has been an offseason unlike any other. The key is how the players respond when it's time to play. As much as I like the hire, I don't think Norvell can turn the Seminoles into an immediate contender in the ACC even if the lack of divisions means they don't have to worry about dethroning Clemson this season. FSU will bounce back somewhat but the Noles are still clearly behind the better teams in the conference, and they weren't given an easy schedule. But when all is said and done, I don't think anyone will complain too much if Norvell leads them to a winning record.
Mike Ferguson (@MikeWFerguson)
A 6-5 record is hardly considered a success by Florida State's standard, but it would equal the best win total of the last three seasons. The Seminoles face an absolutely brutal stretch to close September and open October. Eight wins would be a nice season and nine is probably the ceiling for the Seminoles. For that to happen, a lot would have to go right. With no spring practice and little time to get acclimated to a new staff, it’s hard to be overly optimistic. Four of FSU’s 11 opponents have a bye before playing the Seminoles.