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Florida State football schedule analysis: FSU, Clemson have tough ACC stretches

Who do you like for the Atlantic Division?

The 2015 Florida State football schedule was released Thursday, though Tomahawk Nation readers already knew about half of it. I've already broken down the individual teams and the order, but there's another aspect worth discussing: sequencing.

When teams play each other matters quite a bit.

For Florida State, the open is pretty manageable with Texas State, USF, Boston College, a Bye week and Wake Forest. And that's what FSU wanted, according to sources within the program. FSU lost half of its starters and the vast majority of its best players, so having some extra weeks to evaluate roster configurations is beneficial.

If FSU wants to be in a position to win 10 games (including a bowl) and go to the ACC Championship Game, as it has done in four of Jimbo Fisher's five seasons, it will need to get right by October 10, when Miami comes to town. And there is very little letdown, hosting Louisville the following week before traveling to Georgia Tech.

A home game against Syracuse might be a bit of a respite before traveling to Clemson right after for the game that has decided the division for the last half-decade. And hosting N.C. State the week after is a clear trap game.

But what about other division contenders?

Clemson opens its ACC slate with a Thursday night game at Louisville on September 17, gets a bye, then plays Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Boston College, at Miami, at N.C. State before hosting FSU. Teams get only one bye week in 2015, so where it is placed is quite important.

Louisville doesn't really have a tough stretch of ACC games, and gets Pitt and Virginia as its Coastal Division rotation, hosts Clemson on a Thursday night, and gets a bye before traveling to Florida State.

And Miami, while not in FSU's division, has a brutal stretch in which it finishes out the year playing at Cincinnati, at Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, at Duke, Virginia, at North Carolina, Georgia Tech and then at Pitt on a Friday still recovering from the cut blocks of Georgia Tech.