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South Florida could surprise Florida State in Week 5.
Florida State did not have an exceptional 2011 season. They finished 9-4 overall (5-3 in ACC), 23rd in the AP Top 25 and third behind Clemson and Wake Forest in the ACC Atlantic Division. However, many experts are expecting big things from the Seminoles in 2012.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach ranked them seventh in his preseason top 25. He attributes most of last season’s woes to injuries along the offensive line and quarterback E.J. Manuel. With a healthy squad and a strong recruiting class in 2012, Schlabach predicts that Florida State will be one of the top teams this coming season.
The Seminoles open up their season with back-to-back home games against FCS opponents Murray State and Savannah State, followed by back-to-back home games against ACC opponents Wake Forest and Clemson. Florida State should have no trouble in the first two weeks, and, although neither Clemson nor Wake Forest will be a cakewalk, they are familiar conference foes. The Seminoles will not be taken out of their comfort zone until Week 5 when they visit Raymond James Stadium.
Florida State makes their first road trip of the season when they face South Florida—a team they have not played since 2009. South Florida had a lackluster 2011 season, finishing with a 5-7 overall record after starting the season off with a four-game winning streak. If Florida State becomes preoccupied with their ACC schedule, they could easily overlook a team like South Florida.
The Bulls are a team with an interesting amount of talent. They have played up to their competition in the past—South Florida stunned 16th ranked Notre Dame in Week 1 last year, handing them a 23-20 loss. Now, the Bulls have the opportunity to pull off tremendous upsets in back-to-back seasons.