The Florida State Seminoles are coming off their best season in more than half a decade and finished with 10 wins for the first time since 2016. The ‘Noles have been through their ups and downs in recent years and now head into 2023 with high expectations after ending after being named No. 10 in the country in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 11 in The AP Poll to end the year.
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The schedule for FSU could be considered difficult due to a projected top-10 season opener against the LSU Tigers, the start of an early bye after week four, and then an eight-game challenge that ends with an annual matchup against Florida. Gators.
Regardless of which path the Seminoles take, here’s a list of the toughest matchups the ‘Noles will face down the road.
FSU will take on the Tigers after a road game against Boston College. Florida State is historically bad in Death Valley, winning just one of its last eight games at Clemson, and depending on how tough the LSU and BC games are, the ‘Noles could see that streak continue. However, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will bring in a new offensive coordinator in Garret Riley, and a new starting quarterback.
The Tigers are returning four of the five starting offensive linemen from last year, so that should take some of the pressure off quarterback Cade Klubnik, but whether or not they’ll solve their offensive woes when FSU comes to town remains to be seen. Florida State’s biggest offensive problem will be running back Will Shipley, who rushed for 1,182 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.
One of the more intriguing stories to follow will be how FSU head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Alex Atkins take on the Tigers defense, which has two top 5 linebackers returning in Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter for Pro. Football Focus and also returns four out of five starters on the defensive line. Outside of LSU, this will be the toughest matchup on the schedule before the start of the year.
The Seminoles head to ‘The Swamp’ to close out their regular season by taking on Billy Napier’s Florida Gators in their historic annual rivalry game. Last season, FSU beat UF 45-38 in overwhelming fashion at home.
The backend of Gator’s defense has shrunk with safeties Trey Dean III and Rashad Torrence II moving to the NFL. They’ll also have true freshmen on the defensive line’s two safeties because of how depleted they were last season, which will cause them problems up front.
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There is an open quarterback competition between Graham Mertz III and Ohio State transfer Jack Miller on offense. Regardless, they have two solid running backs to take the pressure off whoever is under center.
Either way, come the end of November, you should know who both teams are. FSU should win this game, but Gainesville is always tough and even though they’ve won four of the last six, they haven’t won in the swamp since 2017.
This was a draw between Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. The Demon Deacons lost starting quarterback Sam Hartman, who transferred to Notre Dame in the off-season, which could significantly affect the slow mesh offense Wake Forest is known to run. Florida State has to face them on the road and then the Panthers on the road again the following week, so it could be a tougher matchup.
Pittsburgh faced significant losses in terms of talent following its 9-4 season. They had the most players selected of any ACC team in the 2023 NFL draft, but they also have 12 Athlon Sports preseason All-ACC projections trailing only Florida State and Clemson, who have 15.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi will have his guys ready and they usually rise to the occasion against tougher opponents. Florida State could find itself in a sleeper game regarding both matchups.
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