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Breaking down Florida State's 2013 schedule game-by-game

Coley Harvey | Orlando Sentinel FSU reporter

1:46 PM PST, February 25, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE -- By now, you've probably seen Florida State's full 2013 football schedule. If not, we have you covered right here in this game-by-game breakdown.

For the Seminoles, a previously reported Labor Day game at Pittsburgh and a lack of Thursday night contests are two of the biggest story lines coming out of the full schedule release. Midseason trips to Clemson and Boston College also are part of it.

In order to get an idea of a few other story lines to watch for when the Seminoles play each of their 12 opponents, check out the blurbs below:

Sept. 2 at PITT

---The Seminoles begin defense of their 2012 ACC championship at the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Panthers, Heinz Field. One year after playing at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the Seminoles will be back in a professional stadium during their opener.

Of course, the game also will be the first conference game for the Panthers as they join the ACC. Current FSU defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri will have a bit of a homecoming this weekend. Not only did he play at Pitt, but one of his sons, Tino Sunseri, just ended a tenure as the Panthers' starting quarterback last season.

Speaking of quarterbacks, FSU's signal-caller will be a player who didn't start a game all of 2012. Either junior Clint Trickett, who has two career starts or sophomore Jacob Coker or redshirt freshman Jameis Winston will be under center.

2012 Record: 6-7, lost the BBVA Compass Bowl to Mississippi

Likely outcome: With Pitt still in some transition under now second-year head coach Paul Chryst, the Seminoles should roll to a road win.

Sept. 14 NEVADA

---FSU's game against Nevada was moved up one week as the Seminoles tried to tinker with inserting an extra bye week into their schedule, as well as working out the particulars of the opener with Pitt. So, instead of facing the Wolfpack on Sept. 21, they will welcome Nevada to Tallahassee on the 14th.

Not only will it be Nevada's first trip to Tallahassee, but it will be the first meeting period between the two teams.

The Wolfpack crew that comes to FSU in the fall will be different than the Nevada teams college football fans had come to know the last quarter-century. Chris Ault, the famed inventor and runner of the Pistol offense, retired this offseason. He was replaced by former Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian, the son of famed NFL general manager Bill Polian.

Since Ault instituted the Pistol in 2005, Nevada saw a recently sharp rise in national prominence. This past season, the Super Bowl-contending San Francisco 49ers even used the offense in their own gameplan as they tried to work to the strengths of young quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a former Nevada standout.

2012 Record: 7-6, lost New Mexico Bowl to Arizona

Likely outcome: Nevada will give FSU a stiffer early-season test than the Seminoles have seen in recent years, but the Wolfpack are still far from a finished product. FSU should roll to a second straight win.

Sept. 21 BETHUNE-COOKMAN

---After having to move Wofford in order to allow the Labor Day opener to take shape, FSU came up with nearby Bethune-Cookman as the replacement for the Terriers. The game against the Wildcats will be the second in as many seasons for the Seminoles against a historically black college or university. Last year, FSU hosted Savannah State -- a team that had one win in 2011 -- and rolled to a weather-altered, 55-0 win in the third quarter.

Although they are a Football Championship Subdivision team, the Wildcats should put up a stiffer fight than recent FSU FCS foes have. Not only do they boast a roster filled with Sunshine State standouts, many of whom have ties to FSU's own mostly homegrown bunch, but they made the FCS playoffs en route to a 9-3 finish last season.

Bethune-Cookman also played Miami last year and lost, 38-10.

This will be the first meeting between the in-state teams.

2012 record: 9-3, lost to Coastal Carolina in first-round FCS playoff game

Likely outcome: FSU should improve to 3-0 against this FCS team.

Sept. 28 at BOSTON COLLEGE

---FSU heads back to the Northeast for the first time since 2011 when it travels to Boston College. A key conference showdown, this game will be the Seminoles' first against a division opponent. Pitt will be a member of the Coastal Division once it joins.

The Eagles certainly will remember their trip to Tallahassee this past season after falling to the Seminoles, 51-7. Although they still are much like the first two teams on FSU's schedule -- in transition under new head coach Steve Addazio -- they are hoping to make a much better showing at home than they did on the road last season.

One good sign for the Seminoles with respect to this game is the fact that it will occur in September instead of late October or later. The weather should still be favorable and far from the bitter cold the Seminoles faced in their last trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass. With Pitt and Boston College in the first quadrant of the season, the Seminoles have to be glad they won't be making any chilly trips.

2012 record: 2-10

Likely outcome: FSU should grab another early-season win.

Oct. 5 MARYLAND (Parent's Weekend)

---This will be the last time FSU faces Maryland in the regular season for the foreseeable future. The Terrapins are, of course, heading to the Big Ten Conference.

Maryland's recruiting efforts have been decent in recent years, but the Terrapins still have been a long way away from keeping pace with the Seminoles. Other than its head-turning performance in 2010, Maryland has done very little to prove that it was a true Atlantic Division competitor. Winning in Tallahassee this season will be tough once again. FSU and Clemson are again favored to win the division. But coming one week ahead of a crucial bye week, this is one game the Seminoles could overlook.

They can't afford to.

2012 record: 4-8

Likely outcome: A win should be in the cards for FSU, but the Seminoles must be sure they fully focus on this game and not peek ahead to the bye week or to Clemson two weeks later.

Oct. 19 at CLEMSON

---Perhaps the game of the year, this figures to be a game that will have nearly all of the college football world's attention for the weekend. ESPN's "College GameDay" show, which made the trip to Tallahassee for last year's Clemson-FSU game, likely will consider a stop to Memorial Stadium this weekend.

Home-field advantage has been real in this budding conference rivalry over the years. The home team has in fact won each of the last six meetings. With a returning quarterback who could draw preseason Heisman Trophy recognition and a receiver who was an All-American as a freshman, Clemson stands good reason to win this game. But the Seminoles, winners of last year's sold-out, primetime matchup, are looking to reverse the series' recent trends.

The Atlantic Division could be won or lost with this game. The ACC championship could, as well.

2012 record: 11-2, beat LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl

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

Likely outcome: Bugaboo or not, FSU should solve the BB&T Field monster and come away with a big win.

Nov. 16 SYRACUSE (Homecoming)

---FSU returns home to close out its conference schedule with a homecoming showdown against Syracuse. Once again, the Seminoles dodged the bullet of having to avoid traveling to the cold Northeast late in the season. Of course, the Orange play inside a dome, but even being around likely cold weather can be bothersome and annoying to a team full of players from the Sunshine State.

Eventually, the Seminoles will have a late-season game in Upstate New York. Next year, in fact, they will have to play there as they return a trip against their new division foe.

Although the welcomes probably will be well worn by this point for the Orange, this contest still marks Syracuse's first trip to Tallahassee as a member of the ACC. For a non-football power, it should be a unique experience.

After a slow start last season, the Orange eventually came on and actually had a strong finish under fourth-year head coach Doug Marrone. The Pinstripe Bowl win over West Virginia helped validate the Orange as it heads to the more competitive ACC.

2012 record: 8-5, beat West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl

Likely outcome: The Seminoles still should be too much at home, and win. But don't bank on a blowout. It is wholly possible that FSU closes out its conference schedule with one, possibly two, losses. 

Nov. 23 IDAHO

---The Vandals come to Tallahassee with a big payday on the line. FSU is slated to give Idaho nearly $1 million as compensation for making the cross-country trip to play the Seminoles in their home finale.

It will be the first time the programs have met one another in football, and it will mark a rare trip east for Idaho.

Coming ahead of the annual season finale with the rival Florida Gators, the Seminoles are looking to end this part of their season with a bang.

2012 record: 1-11

Likely outcome: FSU has no reason to lose this game. Another big blowout should come as the Seminoles tune up for Florida.

Nov. 30 at FLORIDA

---In its second rivalry game of the season, FSU looks to make up for last season's loss with a big win in The Swamp.

After growing up throughout the season and eventually shining in his first Florida-FSU game, Gators starting quarterback Jeff Driskel looked more like a proven vet than a young signal-caller who had no idea what to do in a big game. FSU will be hoping to get an even better performance from whoever its quarterback will be at that point in the year.

Again, FSU will be starting the season with a new quarterback. Whoever that quarterback is, he will be starting in the Florida-FSU rivalry for the first time.

In their last trip to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Seminoles won a defensive slugfest, 21-7, thanks to four interceptions. They'll need similar help from their defense this year after giving up 37 to the Gators last November in Tallahassee.

2012 record: 11-2, lost the Sugar Bowl to Louisville

Likely outcome: With what the Seminoles have lost, and considering the way last year's game went, a road loss is a very real possibility. For that reason, the Seminoles have to be sure they handle their conference games in order to avoid any potential end-of-year letdown a loss to Florida could add. But again, anything could happen.

Email me at coharvey@orlandosentinel.com, and follow on Twitter at @os_coleyharvey.