Seminoles fans, the wait is finally over. Earlier this afternoon the Atlantic Coast Conference finally announced the 2013 football schedules for its now 14 team conference and the best news for FSU fans may be that there are no Thursday (or Friday) games on the schedule this season. With a schedule that ACC officials are claiming is “one of the most ambitious in the league’s 61 year history” it really is a miracle that FSU will only be playing on Saturdays and a national holiday in 2013.
LABOR DAY (Monday, September 2): Pittsburgh Panthers (Heinz Field; Pittsburgh, PA)
The Seminoles were selected as the welcoming committee for the Pitt Panthers official introduction to the ACC. The two teams have not met since the year after Dan Marino left his hometown to go play for the Dolphins, and the Panthers have barely been relevant since. With no preseason in college football opening week games are always an adventure and ESPN’s Heather Dinich is already on record saying it’s a “very real possibility that Florida State could lose to Pittsburgh in a nationally televised Labor Day game”, so this game is one to watch right out of the gates.
Saturday, September 14: Nevada Wolfpack (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
The 2013 home opener for FSU football is against an opponent that the Noles have never played. In a game that was originally scheduled for 2008 (and would have featured budding NFL superstar Colin Kaepernick) the Noles will look to get a win over the Mountain West Conference and find some rhythm with young players starting to define their roles in the first non-conference matchup of the season.
Saturday, September 21: Bethune Cookman Wildcats (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
Another Saturday, another first time meeting for the Noles. With the ACC looking to draw extra attention to the FSU/Pitt game by scheduling it for Labor Day the FSU athletic department was forced to find a last minute replacement for Wofford (who was originally scheduled for opening weekend). That replacement happens to be Bethune Cookman, an historically black university located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Without knowing (well really anything) about BCU’s football program I would have to assume this will be a cakewalk game for FSU, but that mentality has come back to bite this team in the past.
Saturday, September 28: Boston College Eagles (Alumni Stadium; Chestnut Hill, MA)
When all eyes in Boston will be fixated on the last series of the Red Sox regular season the Noles will travel to Alumni Stadium to take care of business in their second ACC road game of the year. The Noles have dispatched the Eagles pretty handily over the past two years (combined score 89-14) and unless new Eagles head coach Steve Addazio can turn things around quickly this will be a cold night for the Superfan faithful.
Saturday, October 5: Maryland Terrapins (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
This will be the last FSU/Maryland game for quite a while as Maryland is expected to leave the ACC once their dispute over the conference exit fee is resolved. FSU has won six in a row against the Terps (including a 41-14 blowout last year) and will look to send the turtles to the Big 10 with another blemish on its resume. Of all the games on the schedule this is the one to look most deeply as “the trap game” as this early October matchup comes immediately before a crucial bye week and the Noles know all too that you cannot take anyone lightly in college football.
Saturday, October 19: Clemson Tigers (Memorial Stadium; Clemson, SC)
FSU/Clemson gets early billing as the top conference game in the ACC in 2013. Last year’s 49-37 FSU victory was one of the biggest ACC games in years and even prompted ESPN’s “College GameDay” to make the trip to Tallahassee, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and the gang will be making the visit to Clemson for this showdown. The home team has won each of the last six meetings between the two schools, so this matchup should be a tough test that may end up deciding the Atlantic division and the ACC Championship.
Saturday, October 26: North Carolina State Wolfpack (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
I still don’t want to talk about what happened last season between these two teams. That should tell you all you need to know. The Noles are looking for revenge and honestly I would feel bad for new head coach Dave Doeren and whoever ends up replacing Mike Glennon at signal-caller for the Wolfpack, but then I remember last year. D’oh!
Saturday, November 2: Miami Hurricanes (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
Nothing quite like an in-state rivalry game to end what may end up being the toughest stretch of the season for FSU. Last year the Noles went into Miami Gardens and knocked off the ‘Canes 33-10. This year things may be a bit different as FSU lost its “offensive coordinator” James Coley to the ‘Canes over the offseason. Noles head coach Jimbo Fisher is 3-0 against the Miami during his tenure as the Seminoles leader so he’s certainly hoping to send this senior class out with a perfect record against the South Beach rivals.
Saturday, November 9: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (BB&T Field; Winston-Salem, NC)
As much as I hate to admit it the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are a barometer team for Florida State. It shouldn’t be that way, but three straight losses from 2006-2008 and then another bummer in 2011 have made this a game that FSU does get up a little bit more than usual for. The 52-0 win last year was definitely satisfying, but for anyone who sat through the disgusting 2006 rain soaked 30-0 loss in Doak Campbell Stadium there are still some horrific memories when it comes to the side from Winston-Salem. This game should be a victory for the Noles but if the last decade is any indication you CANNOT take anyone lightly.
Saturday, November 16: Syracuse Orange (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
The Orange last came to Tallahassee in October of my freshman year at FSU (2005) and Drew Weatherford tore apart the then Big East opponents to the tune of 17/26 for 234 yards and 3 TDs. That was a long time ago and the Orange have certainly improved since that day, but they have a tough test in replacing coach Doug Marrone who has moved on to the professional team in Upstate New York, signing with the Buffalo Bills for the same position. It should be interesting to see how Syracuse fairs in their first season in the ACC.
Saturday, November 23: Idaho Vandals (Doak Campbell Stadium; Tallahassee, FL)
The third first-time acquaintance for FSU will happen the week before the biggest game of the season. When the Idaho Vandals touch down at tiny TLH Airport before the game they will probably still feel at home. That will all change at kickoff when 60,000+ fans are performing the Warchant, welcoming the Vandals to Tallahassee. This game was another one that was scheduled late in the cycle due to the crazy conference re-alignment in progress, and for the sake of both teams I hope the Vandals are better than the one win squad they put together last year.
Saturday, November 30: Florida Gators (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Hogtown, FL)
It’s Florida State. It’s Florida. It’s the last Saturday in November.
THE GOAL — Saturday, December 7: ACC Championship (Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, NC)
BIGGEST GOAL — 2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship (Rose Bowl Stadium; Pasadena, CA)