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Florida State Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on the Seminoles' Schedule

Florida State Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on the Seminoles' Schedule

Florida State Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on the Seminoles' Schedule

Assuming a football season takes place in 2020, it will almost certainly be a shortened one for Florida State and first-year head coach Mike Norvell.

While the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already decided to play conference-only schedules this season, the ACC has yet to make its intentions known. If the conference was to follow suit, FSU would lose high-profile games against Florida, West Virginia and Boise State, as well as its home opener with FCS member Samford, with additional changes likely.

After consecutive losing seasons, FSU will look to right the ship under Norvell. Here's what the road ahead currently looks like from the easiest game to the most difficult:

12. Sept. 12 vs. Samford

Florida State has never lost to an FCS opponent, but Samford did put a scare into the Seminoles in 2018. FSU was forced to rally in the final quarter to avoid the upset. In 2019, the Bulldogs finished 5-7 for their first losing season since 2010.

11. Nov. 14 vs. Boston College

One of only two ACC schools to lose to Florida State in each of the last two seasons, Boston College is undergoing significant changes. AJ Dillon was the heart and soul of the Eagles' offense in 2019. He's now in Green Bay. Jeff Hafley is in his first season as Boston College head coach. BC hasn't won in Tallahassee since 2008.

10. Oct. 3 at NC State

Florida State snapped a two-game skid against NC State last season in Tallahassee. The Wolfpack are coming off a disappointing 4-8 season. NC State had the worst ACC record last year at just 1-7.

9. Nov. 19 at Syracuse

Syracuse demolished Florida State in the Seminoles' last trip to the Carrier Dome to snap a 10-game losing streak to FSU. The Orange return Tommy DeVito at quarterback. DeVito struggled mightily in last season's loss in Tallahassee. FSU is currently set to make a long trip on a short week.

8. Sept. 5 vs. West Virginia (Atlanta)

The opener set for Atlanta will pit two Power 5 teams that struggled last season against one another. This will be the fourth-ever meeting between Florida State and West Virginia. All have been held at neutral fields. This will be the first non-bowl meeting. The Mountaineers finished just 5-7 last season under first-year head coach Neal Brown.

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7. Oct. 17 vs. Wake Forest

Replacing quarterback Jamie Newman won't be easy, but Wake Forest didn't need him to beat FSU last season in Winston-Salem. FSU fell to Sam Hartman and company in a heartbreaker in 2019, 22-20. Tallahassee has not been a friendly place for the Demon Deacons in recent years, however. Wake Forest has not won at Doak Campbell Stadium since 2008. Since a 30-0 shutout of the Seminoles in 2006, the Demon Deacons have averaged less than seven points per game in trips to Tallahassee.

6. Oct. 31 vs. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's first-ever trip to Tallahassee as a member of the ACC comes on Halloween. The Panthers feature a scary defensive line that includes Jaylen Twyman and Patrick Jones. They'll be difficult to block for an FSU offense that has struggled up front in recent years. The Panthers also return an experienced quarterback in Kenny Pickett.

5. Sept. 19 at Boise State

After letting an 18-point lead slip away at home against the Broncos last season, Florida State will pay its first-ever visit to Boise State in mid-September. The Broncos are the premier program in the Mountain West and have long been a thorn in the side of Power 5 opponents. Boise State loses standout pass rusher Curtis Weaver, but will again be the odds-on favorite in its conference.

4. Nov. 7 at Miami

Miami has won three straight over Florida State and upgraded in a number of key areas this season via the transfer market. Former Houston quarterback D'Eriq King is explosive and Quincy Roche (Temple) is one of the nation's elite defensive ends. He'll play opposite another one in Greg Rousseau Jr.

3. Oct. 24 at Louisville

Florida State has won the last two meetings against Louisville, but the Cardinals appear to be the biggest challengers to Clemson in the ACC Atlantic entering 2020. Louisville rallied from an early 21-0 deficit last year to take a fourth-quarter lead, but the Seminoles held on for a 35-24 victory. The Cardinals have plenty of playmakers on offense, including quarterback Micale Cunningham, running back Javian Hawkins, and wide receiver Tutu Atwell.

2. Nov. 28 vs. Florida

From 2013-17, Florida State won five straight over rival Florida, but the arrival of Dan Mullen in Gainesville coupled with the departure of Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee has swung Sunshine State supremacy. In two years under Mullen, Florida has gone 21-5 with two New Year's Six Bowl victories. Florida returns star quarterback Kyle Trask after beating the Seminoles by a combined 81-31 margin over the last two seasons.

1. Oct. 10 vs. Clemson

The winner of the annual Florida State-Clemson game has gone on to win the ACC in each season since 2011. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, the winner of the last five meetings has been Clemson. Over the last two, the Tigers have outscored FSU 104-24. That included a 59-10 win over the Seminoles in their last trip to Tallahassee. That day, Clemson scored more points at Doak Campbell Stadium than any visitor ever. Over the last five seasons, Clemson has reached the College Football Playoff each year and has played for four national championships, winning two.

— Written by Mike Ferguson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

(Top photo courtesy of @FSUFootball)