Likely outcome: This game may be as close to 50-50 as any on FSU's schedule. A loss, though, appears most likely at this point. But again, anything can -- and most likely will -- happen.
Oct. 26 NORTH CAROLINA STATE
---Perhaps only story line on the minds of Seminoles fans will be this one: revenge. It may end up being on the players' minds, too.
LAst October, after sprinting to a 5-0 start and a promising, potential national championship campaign, FSU lost to the Wolfpack the sixth week of the season. Offensive conservatism and lacking defensive coverage versus short slant routes helped combine for a second-half meltdown in Raleigh, N.C. that FSU fans won't soon forget.
NC State quarterback Sean Glennon willed his team to a 17-16 comeback victory that effectively changed FSU's lofty postseason hopes. The national championship game was no longer a possibility. An ACC title, though, still was.
Now, in Tallahassee, FSU will want to prove itself after last year's defeat. The Wolfpack, with a new head coach, new quarterback and a host of other different faces, will be like many others on FSU's schedule this year; a team in transition.
2012 record: 7-6, lost the Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt
Likely outcome: FSU should roll to another win, particularly if it comes off a loss to Clemson the week before. Even if it comes off a win over Clemson, FSU should dominate in this game, too. If undefeated at this point, FSU's postseason hype could begin to increase.
Nov. 2 MIAMI
---This could be another solid installment in the FSU-Miami rivalry. Last October's game in South Florida was a good one before Miami native Devonta Freeman and his fellow tailback, James Wilder Jr. went off in the second half. The FSU backs combined to not only give the Seminoles a lead after senior Chris Thompson left with an ACL injury, but they gave the team the insurance it needed to pull away with what ultimately was a comfortable victory.
The year before, at Doak Campbell Stadium, another FSU win came down to a late-game onsides kick that went FSU's way.
Without the threat of NCAA sanctions -- which is a real possibility given the NCAA's bungling of the investigation into the Hurricanes' athletic programs -- there could be true meaning to this year's showdown. Expected to be a much improved team, the Hurricanes could very well be in the thick of the Coastal Division race. The Seminoles, too, should be chasing division championship dreams.
Year 3 under coach Al Golden will be defined in large part by how well his offense performs. The measurement of how well an offense performs often falls to the coordinator leading it. James Coley, who assisted with FSU's efforts from 2007 through this past season, is now Golden's offensive coordinator. That story line definitely will add intrigue to an already interesting ballgame.
2012 record: 7-5, didn't attend a bowl
Likely outcome: Another 50-50 game, this one should come down to the wire. FSU has the home-field advantage; although that does mean little in in-state rivalry contests. Don't be surprised if the Seminoles pull out a squeaker.
Nov. 9 at WAKE FOREST
---The Seminoles return to Wake Forest for the first time since their 2011 debacle. That year, two games after starting quarterback EJ Manuel went down with a shoulder injury, Trickett started and had a rough experience. Early interceptions and general bad luck -- Thompson had suffered another season-ending injury when he broke vertebrae in his back -- sent the Seminoles to a close defeat.
BB&T Field has been a bit of a bugaboo in year's past for the Seminoles, and for that reason, this game can't be considered a guaranteed win, either. FSU certainly has better athletes than Wake Forest and proved that with last year's 52-0 thumping in Tallahassee. Still, there is some kind of mythical force that takes over in Winston-Salem, N.C.
It hasn't been good.
2012 record: 5-7