A disappointing 7-6 season is in the rear-view mirror for Florida State and a new era is on the horizon. Willie Taggart takes over for Jimbo Fisher as the new head coach of the Seminoles as he looks to return the program to national prominence.
The start of the Taggart era however, won't be an easy one. By winning percentage from 2017, FSU boasts the toughest schedule in the country.
The Seminoles will get Clemson and rival Florida at home this season, but will have to travel to take on three teams that topped FSU a season ago. Here's the Seminoles' 2018 football schedule ranked from easiest contest to toughest matchup:
12. Sept. 8 vs. Samford
Willie Taggart has wasted little time forming a bond with the legendary Bobby Bowden. His first Saturday home game will come against the legend's alma mater.
11. Sept 22 vs. Northern Illinois
The Seminoles shouldn't sleep on Northern Illinois as the Huskies hung tough a season ago with a Boston College team that beat FSU rather convincingly (see below). The last meeting between the schools came in the Orange Bowl to end the 2012 campaign.
10. Nov. 17 vs. Boston College
Boston College handed FSU a 35-3 beatdown last season in Chestnut Hill, but attrition will be significant for the Eagles' defense. The Seminoles haven't lost at home to Boston College since 2008.
9. Sept. 15 at Syracuse
Florida State needed a missed field goal as time expired to top Syracuse last season in Tallahassee. The Orange returns quarterback Eric Dungey and will get this one in the Carrier Dome, where they upset Clemson a season ago.
8. Oct. 20 vs. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons haven't scored a touchdown in Tallahassee since pitching a 30-0 shutout in 2006. The last three meetings between FSU and Wake Forest however, have been very competitive, including two that were decided in the final minute.
7. Sept. 29 at Louisville
Few teams will be more relieved to see Lamar Jackson gone than Florida State, but Bobby Petrino's ability to coach should not be discounted. Louisville also has traditionally been a tough place for FSU to play. The Cardinals scored more points than any opponent ever in FSU's last trip.
6. Nov. 24 vs. Florida
Florida State has won five straight over its archrivals as Willie Taggart get his first taste of the heated series. Dan Mullen, the new head coach and former Florida offensive coordinator, makes his first trip to Tallahassee as the man in change.
5. Nov. 3 at NC State
NC State ended its four-game losing streak to Florida State last season in Tallahassee and will get to host the Seminoles this season. FSU is just 5-5 in its last 10 trips to Raleigh and has had to come from double digits down in each of its last two trips. Key contributors such as Bradley Chubb and Jaylen Samuels are gone for the Wolfpack, but quarterback Ryan Finley returns.
4. Sept. 3 vs. Virginia Tech
The start to the Willie Taggart era will be anything but easy for Florida State as Virginia Tech comes to town on Labor Day evening. The Hokies went 9-4 last season and finished 24th in the polls. Head-to-head, Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente is 3-0 against Taggart.
3. Oct. 6 at Miami
Fresh off a 10-win season, a New Year's Six bowl appearance and its first win over Florida State in eight years, Miami will get to host the Seminoles this season. The Hurricanes haven't won a home game over FSU since 2004.
2. Nov. 10 at Notre Dame
A long trip to frigid conditions to play in prime time will be a tough task for the Seminoles. You also can assume that there will be mention about the 25-year anniversary of the 1993 contest dubbed, "The Game of the Century." FSU won 37-0 in its last trip to South Bend in 2003.
1. Oct. 27 vs. Clemson
Clemson will try to become the first ACC team ever to beat Florida State in four straight meetings. This could be a statement game for first-year head coach Willie Taggart. The winner of the annual contest between the teams has won the ACC Atlantic in each season since 2009 and the conference in each year since '11.
(Top photo courtesy of seminoles.com)