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February 27, 2012
Florida State's potential path to a championship has been cemented. Warchant.com breaks down the Seminoles' slate.
The Seminoles will open with four straight home games before its first road game at South Florida on Saturday, Sept. 29. FSU's two biggest conference games are almost bookends on the schedule as it hosts Clemson on Sept. 22 and travels to take on VT on Thursday, Nov. 8. Here's how the 2012 slate looks.
Murray State Racers
Skinny: This was the designated warmup game for Florida State. The Racers were a high scoring bunch in the Ohio Valley Conference last season and fell just short of a bid in the FCS playoffs. Florida State's only game against a FCS opponent last season was Charleston Southern, which turned out to be a 62-10 win. Murray State won't be leaving empty-handed; the program will get $450,000 for making the trip to Tallahassee.
Savannah State Tigers
Skinny: Savannah State was the replacement for the canceled West Virginia game. The Tigers were a measly 1-10 last season. For perspective, they lost to another Tallahassee program, fellow FCS member Florida A&M, 47-7 last season. Florida State was stuck with scheduling another FCS opponent when West Virginia pulled out of the game just seven months prior to the season. The Seminoles will pay Savannah State $475,000 to make the trip to Tallahassee.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Skinny: While the Clemson loss may have been the most painful for the Seminoles is was the loss at Wake Forest that proved the most baffling. Coming off of a bye week following the Clemson loss, Trickett was ineffective at QB, which forced Manuel into action as FSU trailed in the second quarter. The Seminoles couldn't overcome five turnovers and would eventually fall, all but ending the Seminoles' ACC title chances after only two league games.
The Seminoles will be looking for revenge as they open ACC play.
Skinny:Though it came in the conference opener for Florida State, its loss at Clemson last September turned out to be the downfall of the Seminoles' chances at an ACC Title.
It's safe to expect similar stakes in 2012.
This will be the first key game on the Seminoles' slate as it stands in for back-to-back revenge games against Wake Forest and Clemson.
Last season, backup quarterback Clint Trickett was solid in his first career start (321 yards, 3 TD) as he stepped in for the injured EJ Manuel. But costly penalties and the inability to stop Clemson's glut of big plays led to the 35-30 defeat. The Seminoles would never see first place in the ACC Atlantic the rest of the way.
South Florida Bulls
Skinny: After being handed a loss at home by USF in 2009, the Seminoles head to Tampa for the second game of the two-game contract and its first road test of the 2012 season. USF comes off a disappointing 2011 campaign that saw it go 1-6 in league play and fail to win a home conference game. Expect a large contingent of Florida State fans in the stands at Raymond James Stadium.
N.C. State Wolfpack
Skinny: Prior to this schedule, the last four trips to Raleigh have come on Thursday nights. Now, the Seminoles have a Saturday tilt against the Wolfpack after going 2-2 in those Thursday visits dating back to 2004. The Seminoles had no trouble with the Wolfpack in 2011, shutting them out 34-0. But N.C. State managed to win eight games and has a solid quarterback returning in Mike Glennon.
Boston College Eagles
Skinny: The Seminoles had no issues dismantling the Eagles 38-7 in front of of a national TV audience on a Thursday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. last season. Florida State, which will face the Eagles after two straight road games, leads the all-time series 6-4.
Skinny: In its traditional mid-October slot once again, the Seminoles will look to continue its recent rash of success against the Hurricanes. This should be the Seminoles' first true road ACC test of the season.
The Seminoles held off a late charge from the Hurricanes in Tallahassee last season, needing to corral a Miami onside kick attempt to ice the game. Florida State was on the wrong end of several questionable calls in last year's contest including the Lamarcus Joyner's fumble return for a touchdown that was overturned and an ejection of linebacker Nigel Bradham late in the fourth quarter.
Duke Blue Devils
Skinny: Hard to believe that FSU's final ACC home game will come before November, but that's the case with its top-heavy home slate.
Florida State entered its 2011 game against Duke reeling from a three-game losing skid, a span of performances poor enough to have some experts pick Duke to upset the Seminoles. Florida State rolled early and the win served as the start to a lengthy winning streak.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Skinny: What a Thursday tilt this will be as the two powers of the league square of in what will be a raucous environment in Blacksburg, Va. Since both teams will enter 2012 as the favorites to win their respective ACC divisions, this should serve as the ACC's showcase game.
FSU has to be happy with the placement of this game considering it will enjoy a bye week and a home game against Duke prior to this monster matchup. Last season, FSU made the trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass. on just four days rest.
In 2007, the last time Florida State made the trip to Blacksburg, quarterback Christian Ponder made his college debut. The Seminoles lost 40-21.
Skinny: It's a good year for Florida State to get a road game against a Maryland program entrenched in turmoil. More than two dozen players have transferred out or left the team in the first year under head coach Randy Edsall including quarterback Danny O'Brien, who entered 2011 as a first-team All-ACC quarterback. The Terps struggled mightily last season and its performance in Tallahassee was no exception.
This is seemingly becoming the traditional FSU-Maryland placement when the Seminoles head to College Park.
With solid recruiting classes in tow once again this year, and with more familiarity around its respective head coaches, the two teams should be improved in 2012.