Florida State Football: Previewing the Noles 2014 Schedule
It became the official slogan of the 2014 Florida State season when Jameis Winston revealed it to the public.
“Actually we made up a little slogan: From Dallas to Dallas,” Winston said to The Dallas Morning News. “Obviously, we want to win our first game and hopefully we’ll end up there in the last one.”
#DallasToDallas, of course, refers to FSU playing their first game in AT&T Stadium, where the first-ever College Football Playoff title game will take place. So, with six more months until football season starts, what better to do than take a look at the Seminoles' 2014 lineup and see what its going to take to end up in Jerry Jones' stadium for the second time?
Week 1: Oklahoma State (AT&T Stadium)
Florida State starts its season off right where it hopes to be when the season ends—in Arlington, Texas. But the first time around, the Seminoles know who their opponent will be.
Oklahoma State, which played its postseason bowl in the same stadium, is coming off a 1-3 season that saw the Cowboys end up at No. 17 in both the AP and USA Today Sports Coaches Poll. OSU loses 29 seniors this offseason, which includes 12 starters. The Cowboys should be ranked coming into the matchup, but not highly, though the addition of a neutral-site game against a Top 25 opponent will do its part in helping relieve some of the "FSU plays a weak schedule" talk.
Week 2: The Citadel
Florida State's home opener against The Citadel is its one non-conference cupcake opponent, reflective of the new playoff system which is going to put emphasis on strength of schedule.
There isn't much to say about the Bulldogs, other than hopefully they get their money's worth when they come to town. It should be just another day at the office for the Seminoles.
Week 4: Clemson
The battle of the intra-division rivals is in Tallahassee this year after last year's Top 5, 41-14 beatdown, courtesy of the Seminoles. This game is always one to watch, and it's very realistic that Clemson comes into this game ranked.
The Tigers are losing the two most essential parts of their offense (quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins) but coming back is defensive end Vic Beasley. A tough conference game becomes that much easier by being in Doak Campbell Stadium as well as the Seminoles having the privilege of coming into the game following a bye week.
Week 5: North Carolina State
For some, the Wolfpack's presence on the schedule is something to look forward to, due to their perrenial status as an ACC bottom-feeder. For others, just the mention of NC State brings back post-traumatic flashbacks to EJ Manuel taking sacks and Mike Glennon throwing a touchdown in the waning seconds to upset the Seminoles in 2012 and end their national title hopes.
Last year's game was a 49-17 blowout, but in 2014, the Seminoles head back to Raleigh to try and exorcise some of the demons of the past. A familiar face will be taking snaps, as UF transfer Jacoby Brissett has spent his year on the bench and is now eligible to play for the Wolfpack.
Week 5: Wake Forest
You guys remember how this one went last time around, right? A 59-3 victory, spurred on by a school-record six interceptions in the contest, one that went back for a touchdown. The Seminoles also scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery.
With the Demon Deacons hiring a new coach and Florida State returning much of the same terrifying defense, this year's game could look very much the same, especially because the game is in Tallahassee this time.
Week 6: Syracuse
Florida State is getting exposed to all parts of the country in 2014, heading to Syracuse to take on the second-year member of the ACC. Last year's game was all Seminoles, all the way and should once again be the same. The Orange are returning a good number of players and will be more comfortable in their second year under Scott Schafer.
Syracuse is coming off a pretty successful season, 7-6 with a bowl win over Minnesota, but it remains to be seen how much that can carry over into a game with the Seminoles.
Week 7: Notre Dame
The Irish and Seminoles last squared off during the 2011 bowl season, where FSU won a close game 18-14. Since then, each team has played in a BCS National Championship with significantly different outcomes.
If Notre Dame was a full member of the ACC, this would be the Seminoles' hardest conference game, but since the Irish are partly in the ACC, this is up there with Florida as the toughest non-conference game. The Irish struggled a bit in 2013, but they get back quarterback Everett Golson, who missed the year due to academic issues.
Notre Dame and Florida State used to be one of the biggest games in college football and come October 18, it could very well be that way again.
Week 9: Louisville
Florida State gets to hang out with the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, heading to Louisville on a Thursday night. The Cardinals won't be nearly as explosive now that potential No. 1 pick Teddy Bridgewater has moved on to the NFL, but Thursday night games are never easy to play in, though the Seminoles benefit from having a bye week after the Notre Dame game.
Louisville is losing a number of playmakers and shouldn't be a top 15 team like last year, but it'll still be a challenge to head on the road to a new environment. This could be the last tough game for FSU for a few weeks.
Week 10: Virginia
The Seminoles get to renew their rivalry with Virginia, which is apparently a trophy game. The winner gets the Jefferson-Eppes Trophy, and, no offense to the Cavaliers, the winner should be Florida State. The Cavs only won two games in 2013, against BYU and VMI, and averaged only 19.8 points per game.
There's a reason that Virginia is the homecoming game.
Week 11: Miami
Florida State heads down to Coral Gables to take on Miami, where it hasn't lost on the road since 2004. The Hurricanes will be without quarterback Stephen Morris, which is a good or bad thing depending on which person you ask.
Duke Johnson, Miami's fantastic running back, will be back in action after his season ended against the Seminoles last year, and he could be out looking for revenge. Whoever the Hurricane's quarterback is will have a good number of receivers to throw to, though the defense could once again be an issue for Miami in 2014. They won't be reaching the top ten like they did last year, but rivalry games are always tough ones, and this could be an interesting one.
Week 12: Boston College
A matchup that has lost its quality over the years but could be getting better, Florida State takes on Boston College in the final ACC game of the year. Steve Addazio has done a good job of getting the Eagles competitive once more, as they were close in a couple games with good teams last season. They played FSU close, until Jameis Winston hit Kenny Shaw on a touchdown in the waning seconds of the second quarter to further spread the legend of Famous Jameis.
With this being the last game before Florida, there's the possibility of Boston College getting overlooked, though its hard to imagine that Jimbo Fisher won't be paranoid of that the whole week.
Week 13: Florida
The season finale between Florida State and Florida is usually a tight one, as everything goes out the window when the two meet. Even last year, with the Gators going through their worst season in the modern era, they managed to hold the Seminoles scoreless in the first quarter.
This year, with Florida not decimated by injuries, it should be much better and Will Muschamp will be coaching for his job. If Jeff Driskel can return from injury and lead a competent offense, the Gators' defense can take care of the rest, and the team has the potential to be a top 15 team. The last time these two played in Doak Campbell, UF exploited some FSU weaknesses to grab an early lead and then after an EJ Manuel fumble late, secured the game.
Of course, if FSU is to repeat, they have to still play in the ACC Championship as well as a semifinal game that will take place in either New Orleans or Pasadena. #DallasToDallas is possible, but first, FSU has to navigate through one of the more difficult schedules they've had in recent years.