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July 29, 2010

Previewing FSU's September opponents

Warchant.com will be previewing all 12 of Florida State's regular-season opponents for the 2010 season.

Below is a breakdown of FSU's four foes for the month September along with each opponent's results from last season. Look for the October and November breakdowns in the coming days.

September 4th vs. Samford

Florida State begins the Jimbo Fisher era against the Samford, a team well known in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The Bulldogs begin the season ranked 17th in the Sporting News FCS Preseason FCS poll.

The game has local ties on both sides of the ball as Fisher will debut as a head coach against the same team he played quarterback for in 1987 under Terry Bowden. Fisher was selected the Division III National Player of Year that season.

Samford returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense. In all, 23 seniors will travel to Doak Campbell Stadium to take on FSU. Linebacker Bryce Smith has been named to the Buchanan Award Watch List (given to top defensive player in FCS). In 2009, despite being hampered by injury, Smith led the nation in solo tackles per game (7.2).

This is the second meeting all-time in the series. The first coming in 1950 with FSU beating Samford 20-6 in Tallahassee.

2009 Results
Sept. 5 at UCF L, 24-28
Sept. 12 Jacksonville W, 27-0
Sept. 19 Miles College W, 31-12
Sept. 26 at No. 10 Appalachian State* L, 7-20
Oct. 3 Western Carolina* W, 16-3
Oct. 10 Chattanooga* L, 7-14
Oct. 17 at Furman* L, 24-26
Oct. 31 at The Citadel* L, 16-28
Nov. 7 Georgia Southern* W, 31-10
Nov. 14 at Wofford* W, 27-24
Nov. 21 No. 10 Elon* L, 7-27


September 11th @ Oklahoma

This is by far the most anticipated game of the season for the Garnet and Gold and may be the most talked about game in years. FSU heads to Norman for the sixth meeting between these two teams with OU leading the all-time series 4-1. The last meeting came in the 2001 Orange Bowl in Miami when the Sooners earned an ugly 13-2 win and took home a national championship.

The 2010 Sooners are a lot stronger than their 8-5 record from a season ago. They did lose two of their best players in quarterback Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (No. 3 pick), but coach Bob Stoops' team no longer worries about rebuilding, they simply reload.

Quarterback Landry Jones started 10 games in 2009 while filling in for an injured Bradford. Jones was inconsistent for the most part, but finished up the year with his best outing, a three-touchdown, 418 yard passing game against Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

At receiver, Ryan Broyles gives the Sooners a proven weapon. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder led the Big 12 last year with 15 touchdowns. Brandon Caleb, Jaz Reynolds, and Dejuan Miller will give OU exceptional depth at that position.. The Sooners are also hoping recruits Kenny Stills and Justin McCay, who are major pieces on what some consider the best class Stoops has put together since he arrived in Norman in 1999.

In the backfield, FSU will go against a player it recruited hard as DeMarco Murray is the featured back for the Sooners. He may never be Adrian Peterson, but he's one of the most feared and talented runners in the Big 12.

This matchup also offers a chance for Bob Stoops to go up against his brother Mark, who was hired as the Seminoles' defensive coordinator in the offseason. It will be up to younger brother to stop the Sooner offense and bring home a "sod game" victory for the Garnet and Gold.

On defense, coordinator Brent Venables is one of the best in the game and his name has surfaced for many head coaching jobs in past years. He not only loses McCoy, but also starting cornerbacks Brian Jackson and Dominique Franks, as well as end Auston English. But, all-Big 12 linebacker Travis Lewis (led team in tackles the last two years) returns and end Frank Alexander is among the best at his position in the league. Combine those veterans with young tackles Casey Walker and Stacy McGee as well as ends R.J. Washington, and Price Macon, who thrived in spring practice, and many in Oklahoma are thinking back to the great defenses of the past.

2009 Results
September 5 vs. No. 20 Brigham Young* L 14-13
September 12 Idaho State W 64-0
September 19 Tulsa W 45-0
October 3 at No. 17 Miami (FL) L 21-20
October 10 Baylor W 33-7
October 17 vs. No. 3 Texas* L 16-13
October 24 at No. 25 Kansas W 35-13
October 31 Kansas State W 42-30
November 7 at Nebraska L 10-3
November 14 Texas A&M W 65-10
November 21 at Texas Tech L 41-13
November 28 No. 12 Oklahoma State W 27-0
December 31 vs. No. 21 Stanford* W 31-27


September 18th vs. BYU

Florida State's second home game of the season is a rematch of last years' impressive win in Provo, one of the signature wins of the 2009 campaign.

BYU returns two of the nation's top players at their respective positions. Junior left tackle Matt Reynolds landed on the Mountain West first team last season and was selected a 2010 preseason All-American. He's also a Lombardi and Outland trophy candidate. Safety Andrew Rich is also an All-America candidate as well as a Lott Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and Jim Thorpe award candidate.

Other standouts include cornerback Brian Logan, who ranked No. 2 in the nation last year in passes defended, and left guard Braden Hansen, who was a 2009 freshman All-American.

The biggest question mark facing the Cougars in 2010 is at quarterback. There is a four-man race to take over for Max Hall, who started the last three years. The Cougars may have to turn to true freshman Jake Heaps, one of their prize recruits in what was a Top 25 class.

It's a similar scenario at running back as three-year starter Harvey Unga withdrew from school and was selected in the NFL supplemental draft. J.J. Di Luigi and Bryan Kariya will share the duties, but neither has much big game experience.

The Cougars also lost one of the top tight ends in the nation. Fourth-round pick Dennis Pitta had over 800 yards receiving in each of the last three seasons and is the school's all-time leader with 221 receptions.

Despite all the key personnel losses, expectations remain high in BYU and for good reason. The Cougars are one of only six schools nationally to be ranked in both final polls and the final BCS standings each of the last four years. They are also only one of five teams to win 10 or more games each of the last four seasons.

2009 Results
Sept. 5, 2009 at Oklahoma W 14-13 1-0
Sept. 12, 2009 at Tulane W 54-3 2-0
Sept. 19, 2009 Florida State L 54-28 2-1
Sept. 26, 2009 Colorado State W 42-23 3-1 (1-0)
Oct. 2, 2009 Utah State W 35-17 4-1
Oct. 10, 2009 at UNLV W 59-21 5-1 (2-0)
Oct. 17, 2009 at San Diego St. W 38-28 6-1 (3-0)
Oct. 24, 2009 TCU L 38-7 6-2 (3-1)
Nov. 7, 2009 at Wyoming W 52-0 7-2 (4-1)
Nov. 14, 2009 at New Mexico W 24-19 8-2 (5-1)
Nov. 21, 2009 Air Force W 38-21 9-2 (6-1)
Nov. 28, 2009 Utah W 26-23 10-2 (7-1)
Dec. 22, 2009 Oregon State W 44-20 11-2


September 25th vs. Wake Forest

Wake Forest doesn't appear to be nearly as dangerous an opponent as its been in recent years. In fact, on paper, this matchup should be a relatively easy win for the Seminoles, who put together a dominant offensive attack in their last meeting with Wake and came away with a 41-28 win on the road.

The Deacons are having an identity crisis under center. Four-year starter Riley Skinner, who holds numerous school records, is gone and in his place are five quarterbacks with little to no game experience. Skylar Jones, who is more of a running threat, is the incumbent and according to head coach Jim Grobe, he is the starter if the season were to begin today.

At the receiver position, Devon Brown is their star, but running back Josh Adams is another threat in the passing game. Grobe said Adams may have the best hands on the team.

Grobe said that five or six positions are up for grabs this fall and none more imminent than defensive end and linebacker. Grobe believes redshirt freshman Justin Jackson can emerge as one of the ACC's top linebackers. He says Jackson is as fast as a defensive back.

2009 Wake Forest Results
Sept. 5, 2009 Baylor L 24-21
Sept. 12, 2009 Stanford W 24-17
Sept. 19, 2009 Elon W 35-7
Sept. 26, 2009 at Boston College L 27-24
Oct. 3, 2009 NC State W 30-24
Oct. 10, 2009 Maryland W 42-32
Oct. 17, 2009 at Clemson L 38-3
Oct. 24, 2009 at Navy L 13-10
Oct. 31, 2009 Miami-FL L 28-27
Nov. 7, 2009 at Georgia Tech L 30-27
Nov. 14, 2009 Florida State L 41-28
Nov. 28, 2009 at Duke W 45-34



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