It seems like every football season, the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule includes an interesting quirk by which Florida State winds up playing several teams coming off of bye weeks. The disadvantage is obvious: whereas the ‘Noles had to prepare for and play another team in the previous week, their opposition often had that same stretch of time to game plan solely for the Seminoles, not to mention heal up while FSU's health was in jeopardy against another challenger. Pair that with the fact that the Florida State game is already circled on the calendars of many ACC teams, and the complaints of myriad ‘Nole fans are far from unjustified.
The 2016 schedule, however, does not include such advantageous bye week placements for FSU foes. In fact, the only Seminole opponent that has a bye week before its date with Florida State is Clemson, and, since the ‘Noles get a bye as well, this is essentially a draw before what should be, once again, the conference's spotlight game, and one of the biggest of the entire nation's college football slate, as things now stand.
However, while no team except the Tigers get a bye before matching up with the ‘Noles, most may as well. That's because numerous squads draw some of the ACC bottom feeders prior to their big game vs. FSU. We know that, by this point, you've already seen plenty of analyses about Florida State's 2016 schedule, but let's take another look, with a focus on each team's matchup the prior week.
Monday, September 5: Ole Miss (Orlando, FL)
As the opening game of the season for each team, this may seem a moot point, as neither program will have faced an opponent to this point. But, given the immense talent leaving Oxford early for the NFL, while the ‘Noles return every offensive starter and several key defenders, the Rebs may have to spend more of their time teaching than prepping.
Saturday, September 10: Charleston Southern
CSU's schedule has not yet been released, but a source within the Charleston Southern program has told me that the Buccaneers "could still shuffle that weekend," as they're looking to plug-in an 11th game. Depending upon the quality of that prospective opponent before FSU, they stand to be at an even larger disadvantage than they already will be, which is substantial. So let's not spend too much time here on CSU-- which I probably already have.
Saturday, September 17: at Louisville
While the ‘Noles will be coming off an FCS opponent, the Cardinals will be defending their home turf after traveling to face a Power-Five team (kind of), as UL is coming off a game with a Syracuse team that finished 4-8 last year and 2-6 in the ACC.
Saturday, September 24: at South Florida
For the second-straight week, FSU's opponent will be coming off a date with the vaunted Orange. Consolation: at least they're both in the Carrier Dome.
Saturday, October 1: North Carolina
Prior to their rare visit to Tallahassee, the reigning Coastal Division champs will do something else rather rare for a 2016 FSU opponent: play some real competition the week before. They'll host last year's second-place Coastal finisher, the Pitt Panthers. This is one of just two games against top-three ACC divisional finishers that 'Nole opponents will play the week before facing FSU.
Saturday, October 8: at Miami
Back to the dregs. Prior to welcoming the Seminoles, the 'Canes will play at Georgia Tech in one of only three road games for an opponent before seeing the 'Noles. Tech went 3-9 last year, including a 1-7 ACC mark. Their only 2015 conference win came against-- let's just move on.
Saturday, October 15: Wake Forest
In what could well be the Seminoles' first noon conference game of the year, FSU will play a Demon Deacon team that could very well be coming off one the week before. Why's that? Wake will host, yes, Syracuse before heading to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Saturday, October 22: Bye
Would it kill you to call your mother?
Saturday, October 29: Clemson
As has already been mentioned, good on the ACC for giving each team a bye prior to this Tally showdown.
Saturday, November 5: at NC State
FSU fans already have certain negative associations with Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. So they really won't enjoy reading that, before hosting the 'Noles, the Wolfpack will have a nice home scrimmage against the only ACC team to go winless in conference play last season: the Boston College Eagles. Across the P5 conferences, BC joined just Oregon State and Kansas in doing so last year.
Friday, November 11: Boston College
For just the second time all season, FSU will face a team coming off a game against a team with a winning record the previous year. The Eagles host Louisville on 11-5.
Saturday, November 19: at Syracuse
The 'Noles have a big game the next week, so like three of their opponents, they get the gift of 'Cuse as an appetizer, proving that the universe does, in fact, have at least some sense of balance. The Orange are coming off a home game vs. NC State, which was a respectable 7-6 last year, but 3-5 in ACC play.
Saturday, November 26: Florida
The Gators take on Big South behemoth Presbyterian prior to coming to Tallahassee. The Blue Hose went 2-9 last season. Just hope the guys from College Gameday can secure lodging for that epic showdown in Hogtown.
So if we combine last year's records for the teams that FSU's opposition face the week prior to their tilts against the 'Noles, we get a cumulative record of 43-67 last season (a 39% winning percentage). It gets worse: those coming off ACC matchups do so against teams that lost more than twice as much as they won in the conference last year, with a combined 2015 ACC winning percentage of 32.8% (21-43).