I always look at the schedules and think "who's the landmine unexpected loss" that seems to happen to almost every team during the year. This is my thoughts on our schedule, which is extremely tough all around (which can actually improve a teams focus, IMO) so ANY week may see a stumble, but there's one true "trap" game (and a couple other mini-traps) I think we need to be VERY careful of.
First, I'll sort the games by general Category, mainly because I LOVE reading all the articles on here that give way more info than may be necessary, but who cares--- we don't ever cry TMI when it comes to FSU Football, do we?
I think we can all recognize the "Challenge" games where we will be equal to or perhaps even surpassed by the talent on the opposing sideline. Oklahoma, Miami, and Florida top that list. These are the games where we will never need any extra motivation, and are the biggest games in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd "trimester" of the season.
Then there are the "Sphincter" Home Games where we're playing tough teams of good talent, and everyone recognizes that we COULD lose. I'd expect us to be favored by 7 points or less, and the opponent is one that we recognize as a quality opponent or rival. This season, I see BYU, Clemson, Boston College and North Carolina as those teams.
The third category for purposes of my very first FanPost on TN are the "Roadies"- Road games against lesser opponents: @ Virginia, NC State, and Maryland.
Samford is our "Preseason Scrimmage", and is only relevant in this post in that it gives us a warm up before Oklahoma. Wake Forest is the only "Home Gimmie" where we'll be favored by a large margin.
The "Trap" games I see are ones where I believe 70% of us think there's no way we'll lose the game, and the other 30% are those who play the "We're gonna lose and hope we win" fan-strategy before every game anyway.
"Trap" games are typically "Roadies" or "Home Gimmies", because a team is normally focused against rivals and ranked teams. That focus we naturally give to the bigger games actually is what causes the "overlook" factor that seems apparent in the trap games.
That gives us Wake Forest, Virginia, NC State, and Maryland as potential "trap" games. I'm also going to mention a few other "sphincter" games as well, as depending on how a season progresses, a team that may have looked dangerous during preseason, may fall off the radar and turn into a potential trap game.... These I'd call "Loose Sphincters".
My main Loose Sphincter trap game is Boston College. Perennially undervalued, the fact that we're 2-3 against the Eagles, never having won in Doak against them should give us added revenge motivation in this game... the fact that it's the week after Miami and before an open date will allow us to focus on them clearly. However, if we beat Miami we run the risk of overconfidence, and if we lose to Miami we may have post-loss depression, although I don't think either of those will be the case.
Clemson and North Carolina, being later in the season, run the risk of having a disappointing season underway by the time we face them, leaving a dangerous team with their backs against the wall.
Thursday night road games are always a trap risk, but the fact that we have our open date the week before helps give us time to prepare for NC State, cutting down that risk.
Wake Forest has beaten us too many times over the past 4 years for us to take them lightly, taking them off the trap list.
Maryland is the week before Florida, and we've lost there as underdogs 2 out of the last 3 trips. Coming so late in the year, depending on how our season is going, though, I don't see this as too much of a trap. Maryland is just going through the motions this season, and I think by this time of the year we'll be pretty strong.
So... That leaves "THE" trap game of this schedule to be.... At Virginia !?!?
Yes. The Cavaliers.
Picture the setup. We upset Oklahoma (which I think is a fair possibility), dominate BYU when those Provo boys come down to sea-level in mid September, and exact home revenge on Wake Forest. We'd be 4-0, getting tons of buzz and likely ranked in the top 15. Virginia has a new coach too, so they'll have new hope and confidence, and they have 2 gimmie games (Richmond, VMI) and one crusher (@ USC on Sept. 11th) to give them a 2-1 record, unranked and pretty unknown. After USC they have an open date to heal up, play VMI, then we come to town.
FSU plays @ Miami the following week, so overlooking an unranked, bottom of the 2009 ACC barrell Virginia squad would be natural. We havn't played them in several years, and lost the last time we did travel to Charlottsville... You might remember... it was 2005, and we were 5-0 and #4 in the country, Virginia was 3-2 and unranked. Jimbo Fisher hasn't faced them, they'll have new offense and defense, Al Groh tended to recruit well, although he fell off the last couple years...but in 2007, for example they had 7 4-stars and 11 3-star recruits, so their upper-classmen right now are talented!
So beware the Cavaliers.... My biggest worry for the "stunner" loss.