Let me begin by saying I'm about as big a "Garnet colored glasses" wearing fan you'll ever meet. Brimming with optimism at this time each year, my dream of #1 rated offense, #1 rated defense and undefeated season is still unsullied. While I'm not the statistician that other mods here are, and can't break down whether some recruit would work better at the "3 or 5 technique", I do know my FSU history and "big picture" analysis of our team. I don't get caught up in the weeds of "win shares", but rather focus on the intangibles in my analysis.
I called the NC State loss last year based on the intangibles. (I never "predict" a loss, per se..again, garnet lenses.. I simply had it as our main "trap" game where a loss was much more likely)
So I wanted to share my opinion on the upcoming season's schedule from a more "intangible" perspective.
First, in general.. This schedule couldn't be better for a BCS run. The perceived higher difficulty with road games at Clemson and Florida is actually mitigated by a more balanced layout. Last year we had a 4 game home start, then 5 out of 7 on the road. This year, we don't have more than 3 out of any 7 games on the road, which is the most "home based" schedule since 2001.
Also, all predictions today are based on minor injury issues... should we lose major starters, that of course would change things.
Now, to the game-by-game analysis- The # listed is my list of "most likely loss"
@Pitt- Some people are pointing at this game as a potential upset, but this game actually falls #5 on my "possible loss" list. With preparation time, JF has always had a good game-plan. Throw in Sunseri on our staff, and I would be very surprised if we're not prepared to make a splash in our first game. Even though it's on the road and Pitt will be stoked, this has the makings of a blowout in our favor
Nevada- We need to take Nevada seriously as far as a team goes, as this actually could be an upset possibility. Nevada will have had 2 games under their belt, and last year opened with an upset loss at Cal as 10pt underdogs. We'll have had a week off however, and film of their first game against UCLA, so unless our QB has a week 2 turnover fest (which "could" happen) we should be able to win... but I'd be interested in the point spread. #7
Bethune- no problem #12
@ Boston College- Interesting in that BC has an open date before playing us (although you could say us having the "other" BC at home is equivalent) after a road game at USC. Astro-turf game should work for us. #6
Maryland - Very minor trap game week before a bye. #9
@ Clemson- We should be undefeated. While this is #2 possible loss on my list, having the open date is a huge plus. Both teams should be ready. I actually think we win this game. Streaks end. The "haven't won since" argument is irrelevant. My hope is that Clemson upsets UGA to set up the big top 10 showdown.
NC State- No way, no how do we overlook this revenge game. #10
Miami- Definite danger and #3 simply based on talent and tradition, and the one most folks would say is the "Trap game". I don't ever look at Miami as a trap however... rivalry games are never overlooked. Just because we should be favored doesn't mean it's a trap game. We won't be favored by more than 10. Miami very well may be 7-0 if they pull the UF upset (which is ALSO a good possibility!) and the hype will be tremendous. It would actually work in our favor should Miami be undefeated or 1 loss and ranked. Worst case scenario is Miami is 4-3 (losses to UF, Ga Tech, UNC) and we're undefeated and riding high. Miami plays well here, is NOT intimidated and is ALWAYS dangerous.
@ Wake Forest- THIS is the trap game!! Yes, lowly Wake Forest ..."Seriously?" you ask... Yes! The team we destroyed 52-0 is the #4 possible loss on my list and is the true "trap" game. They return 15 starters, including Sr QB Tanner Price, Sr. WR Campanaro and Sr. RB Josh Harris. We know that Grobe can coach. The setting is simple... We're coming off Miami, NC STate, and Clemson in back-to-back-to-back games...all 3 are emotional games. Wake will likely be coming off of 2 road losses @ Miami and @ Syracuse, and we'll be 10+ favorites, especially if we're undefeated. It won't be any prime-time matchup, nobody will be watching, and we just have not played well at Wake. Your HOPE is that the upset last trip to Winston-Salem would have us ready, but you would have thought that about NC State as well.... 2 years is too long for revenge memories. We got revenge last year...Can we avoid the trap?
Syracuse- #8 Not a cake-walk, and if we do come ready against Wake and beat them easily as we SHOULD, then this moves up in upset possibility. Syracuse upset Mizzou on the road last year, but in general they are not a good road team.
Idaho- #11 We could be looking ahead to UF and sleepwalk through this game and not cover whatever the huge spread will be.
@ Florida- #1 likely loss based solely on environment and talent... Also, UF has a really tough schedule. They could likely be out of the SEC East race entirely, and the only jewel left for them would be to ruin our BCS Dreams. Should be an epic matchup.
Of course... I could also be completely wrong. Go Noles!