Disclaimer: First off, I have to apologize for the rooting guide’s absence last week. Living in Jacksonville Beach, I had to escape the wrath of Matthew. Luckily, I ended up going unscathed against two Hurricanes last weekend and we’re back with our usual FSU rooting guide this week BECAUSE I’M NOT A GATOR AND I DON’T CANCEL MY OBLIGATIONS WITHOUT VALID JUSTIFICATION.
Since our last rooting guide, the Seminoles’ season has taken a slightly different course. FSU dropped an ugly home game to UNC and, in essence, ended their slim playoff and ACC title hopes. However, the ‘Noles still have an outside shot at a New Years Six Bowl berth. From here on out, that will be the target for our rooting guide and our desired outcomes. We’ll also have a little more fun at the expense of our rivals, and we’ll root for a little more chaos, just because we have been afforded that luxury.
Florida State faces Wake Forest on Saturday, then the ‘Noles will enjoy their bye week prior to Clemson coming to town. A win on Saturday could no doubt help FSU climb in the AP Top 25 poll for two straight weeks, so FSU fans should be rooting against teams that are currently ranked ahead of the ‘Noles but are within striking distance.
With that, let’s get to our games for Week 7. We have a pretty solid slate of matchups lined up for this weekend. All game times listed are EST.
Duke at No. 7 Louisville, 7:00 (Friday), ESPN: Duke. Talk about some chaos. FSU would love to have Louisville drop two more conference games, so why not Duke? For Louisville, it’s a weird Friday night game coming off a bye coming off the tough Clemson loss. Louisville has NC State at home next week.
NC State at No. 3 Clemson, 12:00, ABC: NC State. More chaos. Clemson has NC State on Saturday, followed by a bye week before traveling to Doak Campbell to take on the ‘Noles. Florida State would need to beat Clemson and also have them lose one more conference game to have any outside shot of winning the Atlantic Division. Perhaps an NC State squad, riding high off their Notre Dame win, can catch the Tigers napping one week short of their bye week and FSU prep.
North Carolina at No. 16 Miami, 3:30, ABC or ESPN2: Miami. I guess we’ll put our rooting interests on Miami to not totally flake and fall apart post-FSU for the first time in a while. UNC just got embarrassed at home in the rain by VA Tech last week (how FSU managed to lose to North Carolina is beyond me), but hopefully this week the visiting Heels can avoid Miami fans spitting on them or hurling beer bottles at them on the sideline. Don’t forget, ‘Canes: you can try to justify trashing your timeshare NFL stadium as “swagger,” but don’t expect your security deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
No. 17 Virginia Tech at Syracuse, 3:45, ESPNU: Cuse. FSU doesn’t play Virginia Tech, but they do play Syracuse on November 19th. For strength of schedule purposes, FSU fans should root for an unlikely home Orange upset over the Hokies on Saturday.
UConn at South Florida, 7:00, CBSSN: South Florida. The 5-1 Bulls lead the AAC East standings, and their lone loss of the year came to FSU. For strength of schedule purposes, FSU fans should root for USF to beat UConn on Saturday and perhaps even sneak into the AP Top 25.
Tulsa at No. 13 Houston, 7:00, ESPN2: Tulsa. FSU fans should hope that the Houston collapse continues in order to move FSU up ahead of the Cougars in the AP Top 25 rankings. Houston has likely squandered their playoff chances, and FSU fans should be pulling for USF to win the AAC anyway.
Kansas State at No. 19 Oklahoma, 12:00, ESPN: Kansas State. The Wildcats are 3-2 and unranked. Oklahoma is 3-2 and ranked. FSU fans should root for the Kansas State upset solely because OU could be New Years Six Bowl competition down the road. It also helps to root for the Big 12 collapse to continue.
No. 20 West Virginia at Texas Tech, 12:00, FS1: Texas Tech. See above.
Kansas at No. 11 Baylor, 3:30, FS1: Kansas. At No. 11, Baylor remains the top ranked team in the Big 12. Kansas is 1-4, but
nearly should have beaten TCU for a second straight year last week, allowing the Horned Frogs to score 10 unanswered 4th quarter points to pull out a 1-point win. FSU fans should pull for the Jayhawks to upset Baylor in Waco in order to get the Bears out of the Seminoles’ way in the AP Top 25 standings and to continue the Big 12’s collective conference struggles in 2016.
No. 10 Nebraska at Indiana, 3:30, ABC or ESPN2: Indiana. The Hoosiers have already beaten Michigan State, and looked respectable in a three-score loss to Ohio State in Columbus last weekend. They return home this weekend to take on No. 10 Nebraska. Florida State fans should root for Indiana to find a way to upset the Huskers so the ‘Noles can continue to climb in the AP Top 25 standings.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 8 Wisconsin, 8:00, ABC: Ohio State. Here’s a game that could have a substantial impact on FSU’s ability to make a New Years Six Bowl. Wisconsin is ranked six spots ahead of Florida State in the AP Top 25. The Badgers are coming off a loss to Michigan, and they’re now a game behind Nebraska in the Big Ten West standings. FSU won’t be catching Ohio State in the rankings this year, but they can definitely catch and jump Wisconsin. FSU fans should be rooting for Ohio State to hand Wisconsin a second loss on Saturday to help FSU’s standing in the next AP Poll.
Watch your back though, Urban. Michigan has a bye week this week, and you can bet ol’ Jim is spending his free weekend scouting this game. That is, if he’s not too busy ordering more milk at Ruth’s Chris like the kid who peed the bed in Home Alone.
No. 21 Utah at Oregon State, 4:00, PAC12: Oregon State. There’s two good reasons to pull for the Beavers on Saturday: they’re playing No. 21 Utah, one of the two ranked teams in the Pac 12, and they’ll play No. 5 Washington next Saturday. The Pac 12 is really, really bad, and it is in FSU’s best interests for someone in the conference to go ahead and cannibalize the two remaining good teams in it. Oregon State has a chance to be that team in back-to-back weeks.
Stanford at Notre Dame, 7:30, NBC: Stanford. Remember two weeks ago when Stanford was about to crack the AP Top 5? That seems like an eternity ago. Fans were looking forward to this matchup in the offseason, but it’s morphed into a dumpster fire battle of disappointment. FSU fans unfortunate enough to have to witness this game should pull for Stanford because the ‘Noles won’t be facing Stanford any time soon, but FSU will be dealing with Notre Dame in 2018. The more purple-faced chaos and uncertainty in South Bend, the better.
Mississippi State at BYU, 10:15, ESPN: BYU. After losing at home to South Alabama week one and getting blown off the field against Auburn last week, the negativity that typically festers around Starkville has been triggered earlier than usual this season. Clanga has a bleak 2-3 record with four ranked opponents still left on the schedule. Mississippi State fans think they’ll even it up against BYU merely because they’re in the SEC, ignoring the fact that BYU is coming off a 17-point win over Michigan State in East Lansing last weekend. If Mississippi State fans are confident because #SEC, FSU fans should root for BYU because #SEC. Dan Mullen should have parlayed that brief 2014 No. 1 MSU ranking into a real job, but if he isn’t careful, he might be out of a job in Starkville sooner rather than later.
Vanderbilt at Georgia, 12:00, SECN: Vanderbilt. Kirby Smart has suffered through an underwhelming first season in Athens. Georgia beat Nicholls State by two points in his home opener, squeaked by Missouri by one point on a crazy fourth down, then got clobbered by Ole Miss and lost to Tennessee on a Hail Mary. People have even taken notice that he resembles a Checkers manager on the sideline. Needless to say, it’s already been a long 2016 season for Kirby and the unranked Bulldogs.
Let’s go ahead and make that season a little longer and add some turmoil in Athens. FSU fans should pull for Vanderbilt because it’s not the last weekend in October and because a loss to Vandy would be embarrassing for a team that FSU recruits heavily against.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 9 Tennessee, 3:30, CBS: Alabama. Similar premise to Ohio State: FSU isn’t catching Alabama, but they can catch No. 9 Tennessee in the AP Top 25 and Tennessee losing helps FSU’s chances at reaching a New Years Six Bowl. The Vols are ranked five spots ahead of the ‘Noles, and they’re coming off their first loss of the season. If you need another reason to root against Tennessee, they have dismissed Danny O’Brien, the defensive lineman who was carted off Kyle Field last Saturday. Pretty low move, Butch. FSU fans should root for Bama to win its ninth straight over Tennessee on the Third Saturday in October (Here’s to looking at your future in two years, Miami fans!).
Missouri at No. 18 Florida, 4:00, SECN: Missouri. Can we talk about how poorly this LSU game debacle was handled by UF for a minute? This entire situation perfectly epitomizes UF: overt arrogance for no reason whatsoever. IN SOME TYPES OF WEATHER THEY’LL CANCEL GAMES ALTOGETHER. Why did Foley cancel this game in the first place with no backup plan? If the storm was so bad in Gainesville (spoiler alert: it wasn’t), why did you wait until AFTER LSU flew there, allegedly in harm’s way, to cancel the game? Florida State, traveling a day later than normal, skirted around Hurricane Matthew to get to Miami. NC State and UNC played home games on Saturday in far worse conditions. Fellow conference-mate South Carolina agreed to move their home game to Sunday. So it’s rather fitting that UF’s little cowardice stunt backfired and cost them an extra home game. For those keeping track, here’s an exhaustive list of UF’s 2016 home games: UMass, Kentucky, North Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina. That home slate makes the Mountain West blush. How pathetic. Can’t wait to play you guys in Tallahassee the week after you travel to Baton Rouge.
Turning to Missouri, it looks like Luke Del Rio will return from injury to play against the Tigers on Saturday. Too bad no one on the Gator coaching staff bothered mentioning that to backup QB Austin Appleby before he spoke to the press and made himself look like a fool.
I would compare the operation of UF’s football program to that of a clown show, but clowns have been unfairly slandered enough lately. Don’t believe me? Ask Will Grier about his opinion of the program.
No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 22 Arkansas, 7:00, ESPN: Arkansas. This week’s Hero of College Football Award goes to University of Arkansas Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Dr. Lawton Nalley. This upstanding gentleman had the audacity to remind Bret Bielema just how terrible he is at his job after the Hogs got smacked around by Alabama last Saturday. How did Bert respond? The minions of Bert’s lawless dictatorship known as Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium arrested him. But seriously, no arrest can erase the fact that a professor at the University of Arkansas yelled, “If I had your record I’d be ****ing fired, **** you” at Bret Bielema. I mean, the guy has degrees from both Mississippi State and Kansas State, so trust him when he says that he knows bad football when he sees it. His academic research focuses on plant breeding and international development, which tells me he’s all about feeding the world. You know what else he’s feeding? Global hatred for Bert. Get this guy tenured ASAP. Kudos, Dr. Nalley.
As for this game, FSU fans can’t really go wrong here. If Arkansas wins, it’ll help the ‘Noles move up another spot in the AP Top 25. If Ole Miss — FSU’s premier win of the season to date — beats the Razorbacks, it will help FSU’s strength of schedule. Based on the heroics of Dr. Nalley this week, I’ll personally take Arkansas on Saturday.