FSU looks to navigate tough slate after dismal 2018
The 2018 season was one to forget for Florida State and first-year head coach Willie Taggart. The Seminoles went just 5-7, missing a bowl for the first time since 1981 and suffering a losing season for the first time since '76.
For FSU to get back to respectability, it will have to navigate through a difficult slate.
Of the 11 FBS teams that the Seminoles will face in 2019, nine made a bowl game and finished with a winning record last season. Four won at least 10 games. Two won New Year's Six bowls. One won the national championship.
Byes: Week 6, Week 13
Week 1 — Aug. 31 vs. Boise State (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Florida State won't be able to ease into its schedule as the Seminoles open the season in Jacksonville against Boise State. The Broncos won 10 games last season and narrowly missed winning the Mountain West title, falling to Fresno State in overtime, 19-16. Boise State has never been afraid to take on big-name programs and has defeated plenty over the last two decades. FSU is 14-2-1 all-time in Jacksonville.
Week 2 — Sept. 7 vs. ULM (Tallahassee, Fla.)
A rescheduled contest with ULM in 2017 allowed Florida State to keep its bowl streak alive. The contest was originally scheduled to be the home opener, but Hurricane Irma postponed the contest. The Seminoles are 2-0 all-time against the Warhawks, outscoring them 76-10 over the two contests. All three meetings were scheduled to be home openers for FSU.
Week 3 — Sept. 14 at Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
Florida State and Virginia haven't met on the gridiron since 2011 and not in Charlottesville since '10. The Cavaliers are coming off their first winning season since 2011. Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 0-2 all-time against FSU. Both games came while Mendenhall was the head coach at BYU.
Week 4 — Sept. 21 vs. Louisville (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Willie Taggart's first ACC win as FSU head coach came last season at Louisville as the Seminoles pulled off a thrilling 28-24 victory. The Cardinals did win their last trip to Tallahassee two years ago, 31-28. The contest will be the first ACC game for first-year Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield.
Week 5 — Sept. 28 vs. NC State (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Florida State wraps up the month of September against a new-look NC State team. FSU quarterback James Blackman passed for a career-high 421 yards in last season's 47-28 loss to the Wolfpack in Raleigh. At home against NC State was the stage where Blackman made his first career start two years ago — a 27-21 defeat. The Wolfpack were the first ACC team to beat FSU in consecutive years when they did so in 2001-02. The Wolfpack have never won three straight in the series.
Week 7 — Oct. 12 at Clemson (Clemson, S.C.)
The winner of the annual contest between Florida State and Clemson has won the ACC Atlantic in every season since 2009 and the conference in each year since '11. Last season, the eventual national champion Tigers handed the Seminoles their worst home loss ever, 59-10. In the process, Clemson became the first ACC team to defeat FSU in four straight seasons since the Seminoles entered the conference. The mid-October contest against Trevor Lawrence and company will be a real measuring stick for how far Florida State has come since last season.
Week 8 — Oct. 19 at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
In what was perhaps Florida State's most impressive performance of 2018, the Seminoles dominated Wake Forest 38-10 to notch their seventh straight win in the series. The last two in Winston-Salem however, weren't decided until the final drive. In the last visit, FSU quarterback James Blackman threw the game-winning 39-yard touchdown to Auden Tate with less than a minute to play to lift the Seminoles to a 26-19 win — the first for Blackman as a starter.
Week 9 — Oct. 26 vs. Syracuse (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Syracuse snapped a 10-game losing streak to FSU last season in the Carrier Dome with a 30-7 beatdown of the Seminoles. The Orange would go on to notch their first 10-win season since 1992. What they've never done, however, is win in Tallahassee. A missed field goal as time expired two years ago allowed FSU to escape with a 27-24 victory. The Orange will have to find a way to replace quarterback Eric Dungey.
Week 10 — Nov. 2 vs. Miami (Tallahassee, Fla.)
After losing seven straight in the series, Miami has defeated Florida State in each of the last two meetings and in both cases, in heartbreaking fashion. The Hurricanes rallied from 20 points down to top the Seminoles last season in South Florida, 28-27. It was the largest deficit ever overcome to beat Florida State. Each of the last five meetings has been decided by five points or less.
Week 11 — Nov. 9 at Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
The final win of 2018 for Florida State came over Boston College, 22-21. The Seminoles went ahead late on a long touchdown pass from Deondre Francois to Tamorrion Terry with less than two minutes remaining for their first win over a ranked team in nearly two years. Boston College delivered a 35-3 shellacking to FSU in the Seminoles' last trip to Chestnut Hill in late-October 2017. FSU has won eight of the last nine.
Week 12 — Nov. 16 vs. Alabama State (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Florida State and Alabama State will meet for the first time for what will likely be Senior Day in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have never lost to an FCS school although they were forced to rally last season in the fourth quarter against Samford. Out of the SWAC, the Hornets finished just 4-7 last season.
Week 14 — Nov. 30 at Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
After dropping five straight in the series, Florida ended FSU's bowl streak last season with a 41-14 victory over the Seminoles in Tallahassee. The Gators would go on to get their first major bowl win since 2009. That also happened to be the last season that Florida managed to beat FSU in The Swamp. The last FSU head coach to start his career 0-2 against Florida was Darrell Mudra in 1974 and '75.