At Florida State, the goal is to win the national title every year. Heisman-winning quarterback leaves… star player suspended… song remains the same. The folks in Tallahassee expect no less.
To win a national championship you need plenty of talent and a little bit of luck. We will see in the next four months if Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles have enough of each of those traits to contend in January.
Teams also need the proper schedule, one that provides some soft spots along with showcase opportunities. That Florida State has. The Seminoles’ big battles are on the road and victories in those games will give the College Football Playoff selection committee plenty to chew on.
Here are my rankings of Florida State’s toughest regular season games from 12 to 1.
12. Nov. 21 vs. Chattanooga
The Mocs have a very good program for FCS and their spot on the schedule could have the Seminoles looking forward. It won’t matter. Florida State will roll.
11. Sept. 5 vs. Texas State
Texas State had a winning record in the Sun Belt last year and played tough against Illinois. The Noles are not the Illini, though, and the Bobcats have some searching to do on defense.
10. Sept. 12 vs. South Florida
There is no doubt that the Bulls will be fired up to play their in-state foe. Head coach Willie Taggart’s team, however, is just not good enough to hang with FSU and South Florida’s offensive personnel will still be learning the newly implemented spread system in week two.
9. Oct. 31 vs. Syracuse
It looks like it is going to be a long season for the Orange. The only glimmer of hope for the ‘Cuse is that Florida State faces them the week after Georgia Tech and the week before Clemson.
8. Oct. 3 at Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons could have a nice defense that could slow down the Seminoles’ offensive attack. But Wake’s offense was awful last fall and they don’t have anyone that will scare Jalen Ramsey and the FSU defense.
7. Sept. 18 (Friday) at Boston College
Boston College has some considerable question marks coming into this season. But the Eagles gave the Seminoles their toughest regular season challenge in 2013 and a late Roberto Aguayo field goal was the reason Florida State survived last year’s contest.
6. Oct. 10 vs. Miami
This is always the biggest game of the year for the Hurricanes. Pass rush could be a concern for Florida State this year and if they give Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya time to throw, he could make the Seminoles pay.
5. Oct. 17 vs. Louisville
Despite losing star wide receiver DeVante Parker, Gerord Holliman’s 14 interceptions, and eight other NFL draft picks, many experts are high on the 2015 Cardinals. The front seven of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s group should be very good and you always expect head coach Bobby Petrino to manufacture some type of offense.
4. Nov. 14 vs. NC State
The Wolfpack have 14 starters returning from a team that finished 2014 very strong. They also play Florida State the week after the Seminoles go to Clemson. Finally, NC State has been a thorn in the Seminoles’ side for a very long time.
3. Nov. 28 at Florida
By the end of the season, new head coach Jim McElwain should have the Gators on the upswing. The Florida defense should be rigid and the Swamp will be primed for the arrival of their hated rival.
2. Oct. 24 at Georgia Tech
At times last year, Florida State’s rushing defense struggled. It better not be a problem heading into Atlanta because Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets will run, run, and run some more.
1. Nov. 7 at Clemson
The Tigers come into the season with very high expectations and they fully expect to wrestle the Atlantic Division crown away from Florida State. It will be a crazy scene the first Saturday night of November in Death Valley. The good news for the Seminoles is that they faced a similar scenario in 2013 and put a 51-14 beating on the guys in orange.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.