Seminoles' challenging slate bookended by two of the SEC's best
A new year will bring about more quality competition for Florida State.
The 2017 slate for the Seminoles includes the reigning national champions and a non-conference slate that features the two teams that played in the SEC Championship Game. All three of those contests will be away from Tallahassee.
The Seminoles will hit the ground running in 2017, opening the year against Alabama in Atlanta. Two weeks later, they open ACC play in primetime against rival Miami.
From No. 12 to No. 1, here are Florida State’s toughest opponents:
12. Nov. 18 vs. Delaware State
Florida State and Delaware State had the same number of wins over FCS schools in 2016. The problem? Delaware State is an FCS school. In what will likely bring a Senior Day celebration, don’t expect the FSU starters to last long in the Doak Campbell Stadium finale for 2017.
11. Sept. 9 vs. ULM
Jimbo Fisher has never lost a home opener as Florida State’s head man and don’t expect that to change against ULM. The Warhawks went just 4-8 a season ago and didn’t beat a team that finished with a winning record.
10. Nov. 4 vs. Syracuse
Since joining the ACC, Syracuse has been a perennial punching bag for Florida State. In the four prior meetings, the Seminoles have won by an average margin of more than 32 points. Quarterback Eric Dungey does return for the Orange, but this one is in Tallahassee.
9. Oct. 27 at Boston College
After breaking through with a bowl appearance and a winning season, Boston College is widely predicted to take a step back in 2017. The Seminoles are a perfect 7-0 against the Eagles under Fisher, but a long trip to Chestnut Hill on a short week could make matters interesting.
8. Oct. 14 at Duke
With Daniel Jones returning at quarterback, Duke has the potential to be a sleeper in the ACC Coastal this year. Among teams that were members of the ACC when FSU joined in 1992 however, the Blue Devils are the only team who hasn’t beat Florida State. The closest contest between the schools is 19 points in 2007. The last meeting was for the 2013 ACC title.
7. Sept. 30 at Wake Forest
After two big ACC games against Miami and NC State, a late September trip to Winston-Salem might not be a cake walk for Florida State. Although the Demon Deacons have scored just one total touchdown against FSU in the last five meetings, the last couple contests have been competitive. FSU won 17-6 in Tallahassee last season. In FSU’s last trip to Wake, the Seminoles needed an interception from Tyler Hunter in the end zone to seal the 24-16 victory in the final minute.
6. Sept. 23 vs. NC State
Florida State has won four straight over NC State, but has had to come from double digits down to win the last three. The Seminoles will meet the Wolfpack one week after opening ACC play against Miami. With so many returning to Raleigh, including Jaylen Samuels, Ryan Finley and Bradley Chubb, the Wolfpack are sleepers in the ACC, which makes this a tough early-season contest.
5. Sept. 16 vs. Miami
Florida State’s seven-game winning streak over Miami has been well-documented, but the last three have been decided by a total of 10 points and the Hurricanes have led in the second half in each. The teams open ACC play against one another this year. With an 8 p.m. ET kickoff, a hostile Doak Campbell Stadium crowd and Miami potentially starting a freshman quarterback, the Seminoles should have the advantage.
4. Nov. 25 at Florida
Florida State will look to notch its longest winning streak ever over Florida as it goes for five in a row to conclude the regular season. The Seminoles have won four straight, with three coming by double digits and two by at least 25 points. FSU has taken a shutout to the fourth quarter in each of its last three trips to Gainesville, but this could be Florida’s best offensive team under third-year head coach Jim McElwain.
3. Oct. 21 vs. Louisville
After a 63-20 thrashing last year by Louisville in the Bluegrass State, there could be a revenge factor as Florida State hosts the Cardinals in October. Although things fizzled by the end of the 2016 campaign, Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson has had his way with the FSU defense, even in a 41-21 loss in Tallahassee two seasons ago.
2. Nov. 11 at Clemson
The winner of the annual contest between Florida State and Clemson has gone on to win the ACC Atlantic in each of the last eight years and this year’s contest in Death Valley could be no different. The Nov. 11 showdown is the last conference game for both schools, perhaps making it a de facto ACC semifinal. Clemson has won the last two. The Tigers are the only ACC team to beat FSU in consecutive seasons under Fisher.
1. Sept. 2 vs. Alabama (Atlanta)
There are so many storylines for Florida State’s opener against Alabama, but the biggest one for FSU should be Alabama’s past success in neutral-site openers. The Crimson Tide have not had an opponent keep the game in single digits in an opener and many of those were against highly-ranked schools. Since 2008, Alabama has been college football’s premier power, winning four national championships and making eight major bowls.