Florida State's path to the National Championship just got a little smoother.
Big East champion and record-setting Orange Bowl victor West Virginia wants to back out of a home-and-home series starting next year. The Mountaineers cite the transition to the Big 12 Conference as a factor in the decision.
Naturally, this is great news for Seminoles fans. First, 2012 regular season opponent Virginia Tech lost their star running back David Wilson, who will declare for the NFL Draft. Now, FSU has its only major non-conference competition backing out of the fray. Now that the underclassmen-filled offensive line will improve for next year, it is difficult to find any opposition that can beat the Seminoles sans themselves.
A 12-0 regular season is not out of the question.
Of course, the Seminoles will have to manage ACC games. Jimbo Fisher must fend off FSU's Achilles Heel on the road at North Carolina State. Even if the Wolfpack hadn't recovered from losing star quarterback Russell Wilson in to the Wisconsin Badgers, the date should automatically be circled (regardless of reason).
NC State has beat FSU five times in the teams' last 11 contests. Tom O'Brien's squad also enters 2012 on a hot streak. After entering mid-November limping at 5-5, NCSU quarterback Mike Glennon went on fire against eighth-ranked Clemson, crushing the Tigers 37-13. Glennon and company finished the year with renewed confidence and three consecutive wins.
The 'Noles won't be comfortable in Doak Campbell Stadium for this round. NC State Head Coach Tom O'Brien will be sure to remind his players of the 34-0 shutout they experienced in Tallahassee this year. The upperclassmen will also be spurred, wanting revenge for a 2010 home loss to the Seminoles, which cost the Wolfpack their first-ever berth in the ACC Championship Game. Needless to say, the date screams upset.
In addition, the Virginia Tech Hokies always pose a problem for the 'Noles. Even with David Wilson gone, Frank Beamer and VT Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster will pressure the Seminoles' verdant Offensive Line mercilessly. And there is always the upset waiting in Miami Gardens.
Needless to say, the 2012 edition of the Seminoles will not dissapoint under lofty preseason expectations. But how will they guard their weak points?