After struggling for nearly three full quarters, the Seminoles put forth one amazing come-from-behind victory as they knocked off Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl, 18-14.
The offense was in reverse for most of the game, but in the fourth quarter, EJ Manuel got an extra boost from his defense and was able to put things away.
However, some are still on the fence as to whether or not Florida State has become a national championship contender heading into the 2012 season.
So, with the victory and the New Year, it is time to move forward by looking at the 2012 Florida State football schedule.
Thank goodness the Oklahoma Sooners are not on the schedule because for the past two seasons, the men from Norman has not given us much momentum heading into ACC play.
Instead of the mighty Boomer Sooners, Florida State picked up West Virginia. The game has already been scheduled (9/8) in Tallahassee with the time slot to later be announced.
There is a great chance it could be on the ESPN family of networks, but luckily the Noles will have a game under their belts, so it really will not matter if they play the game in your own backyard.
The Murray State Racers come to Tally the weekend before (season opener), which should allow everybody to get their feet wet on top of staying fresh.
Later in September, the South Florida Bulls get the Seminoles in Tampa, and we should note that the Bulls gave Miami FL some issues (1-1) in the past two seasons. BJ Daniels is returning, but their defense has had some issues.
If EJ Manuel continues to develop and build a rapport with a terrific group of young receivers, the sky is the limit for the Noles.
Way Too Early Projection: 4-0
Many have been asking already about next preseason's ranking and how much of an impact it will have if they come away flawless after September.
It is clear that the expectations will seemingly as always be high in Tallahassee. After all, FSU has been one of the premier programs in the country for the past 30 seasons.
Depending on many of the BCS bowls, the Seminoles could very well be ranked (just barely) inside the top ten.
As many of us have noticed, the polls in August do not matter until the primetime games are finished up at the end of September.
If the team can get out of September without any major injuries, the Noles could be looking great by October.
The home games look like the much easier slate of games in comparison to the roadies thanks to Duke, Boston College and Wake Forest.
Those three teams should be struggling, but that still leaves a home game that could be even more hostile than Oklahoma last season.
The Clemson Tigers are coming to Doak (date tba) in what should be a battle of top ten teams if both teams can avoid tripping up against solid non-conference competition (FSU v WV and Clem vs Aub).
Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins could give us some major issues like this past season, though Lamarcus Joyner, Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid will only get better in time for the matchup.
Clemson struggled miserably when they could not keep Boyd clean in the pocket and certainly Tank Carradine, Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins (should return) can harass the Tigers line.
The hope is that the interior of the defensive line will improve so much that when Mark Stoops brings the blitz, Boyd and opposing ACC quarterbacks will take a beating.
Way Too Early Projection: 4-0
The road woes for Florida State has been glaring for the past decade or so. In fact, FSU has 29 losses in the past 11 seasons on the road, and certainly 2012 may not be any easier.
Luckily, Florida State is expected to return a bevy of starters and overall players (15 starters, 105 total players give or take future transfer, injuries etc).
The four roadies against Maryland, Miami FL, NC State and Virginia Tech will certainly challenge the Noles.
Maryland went 2-10 last season and will be assumed as the easiest out of those four road games. Miami FL is always a challenge in such a prestigious rivalry game, but they are losing a few of their stars, so I look at NC State as the more dangerous game.
Mike Glennon can thread it well even though FSU drubbed his Pack this past season by limiting them to 166 yards of total offense.
The toughest game on the road will clearly be in Blacksburg where Florida State was smoked 40-21 back in 2008.
Logan Thomas will be back next season, and if David Wilson returns for them at running back, we could be looking at a game that may be your preview of the ACC Championship.
Way Too Early Projection: 3-1
Overall, the schedule is not a cake walk by any means but is very manageable. The game in Blacksburg may be the only game where Florida State is not favored, but the game the Noles should obviously be wary of the most is against Clemson.
The Noles-Tigers matchup could be one of the ten premier games to look forward to next season. The Clemson offense against the Florida State defense alone may be one of your most electrifying battles of the 2012 college football season.
I do believe the winner of that game will not only go on to win the ACC Championship and represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl, but the momentum could perhaps carry into something even more special.
It is never too early to start talking FSU football for next season since we are officially in the 2012 calender year.
Happy New Year's everybody!