Welcome, friends, to the first real weekend of college football. As Florida State fans, we are all primarily focused on the ‘Noles’ huge matchup against Alabama on Saturday night. The game is being billed as the Greatest Opener of All Time, complete with weird program artwork and a terrible ESPN ad featuring the latest musical stylings of Taylor Swift for some reason. Because when I think college football, I think Taylor Swift. Great job connecting with the youths, ESPN. I’m shocked your ratings are in the tank.
That being said, the start of the college football season is a time for celebration. There are other important, glorious games to watch all Labor Day weekend long. For these other games, Tomahawk Nation has got you covered with our Week 1 FSU football fan rooting guide. We’ll take a look at what results from across the country Florida State football fans should be rooting for that will ultimately help FSU’s chances in securing a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Per usual, these games will be organized by conference later in the season. With opening weekend being mostly OOC matchups, however, this week’s rooting guide is organized by date and time of kickoff. All broadcast times listed are Eastern Standard Time. Let’s dive in.
Friday, September 1, 2017
#8 Washington at Rutgers, 8:00, FS1: Rutgers. Washington QB Jake Browning, the reigning Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year, returns for his junior campaign as he seeks to defend the Huskies’ Pac 12 title and lead them back to the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, Rutgers, suffered through a truly painful 2-10 campaign in 2016. The Scarlet Knights scored a combined 86 in nine conference games, including just 27 points in the seven conference games in which they didn’t play Minnesota or Purdue. They were shut out four times, including a 39-0 home loss to Penn State, a 49-0 loss at Michigan State, 59-0 loss at Ohio State, and a 78-0 home loss to Michigan, a loss that was so ugly I am legally obligated to provide a disclaimer for children under 13 trying to click this recap link.
Rutgers, the program credited with winning the first-ever intercollegiate football game over Princeton in 1869 (a thrilling 6-4 win), has seen its share of embarrassment. We’d like to see Rutgers upset Washington, but we know that isn’t happening. We’ll settle for a touchdown and some friendship.
Colorado State at Colorado, 8:00, PAC12: Colorado State. The Rams beat the doors off of Oregon State last week, and they’ll take on another Pac 12 team on Friday when they travel to Boulder to face their in-state rival, Colorado. FSU fans should be rooting for the Rams, a non-Power Five conference member, to beat yet another Pac 12 team, as they gear up to play Alabama in two weeks. College football is weird thing - Colorado State will have played two games before Florida State even kicks off their 2017 season opener.
Utah State at #9 Wisconsin, 9:00, ESPN: Utah State. Go look at Wisconsin’s 2017 schedule. It is Charmin soft. Seriously, Utah State might be the second-toughest OOC game on Wisky’s schedule, outside of BYU, a team that only beat Portland State by two TDs last week. This schedule makes BCS-era schedules look daunting.
FSU fans should be rooting for a Wisconsin loss every single week. The chances of them dropping a game are frankly few and far between. Go Aggies.
Boston College at Northern Illinois, 9:30, CBSSN: BC. This game is going to be an atrocity to watch, unless you enjoy torturing yourself with scoreless football games, but FSU fans should root for their fellow ACC Atlantic Division mate to beat Norhern Illinois. If you find yourself with nothing to do at 9:30 on Friday night, flip over to CBS Sports Network and just enjoy bein’ a guy watchin’ guys bein’ dudes. What could be better than that?
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Kent State at #5 Clemson, 12:00, ESPN: Clemson. The Tigers aren’t going to lose at home to Kent State, and FSU’s SOS would tumble if they did. It doesn’t make much sense to root for Kent State on Saturday, although that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t mind it if Clemson’s QB play is sloppy coming out the gate.
Akron at #6 Penn State, 12:00, ABC: Akron. A Zips upset of #6 Penn State in the opening week of the 2017 season would be fantastic...and unlikely. FSU fans should root for the Fighting Terry Bowdens to pull off the upset in Happy Valley on Saturday, which could help provide some early-season breathing room for the ‘Noles in case of a loss Saturday night.
Maryland at #23 Texas, 12:00, FS1: Maryland. People seem to be a little quick to definitively say that Texas is back. They did the same thing last year too, when the Longhorns beat Notre Dame in a thriller. Both of those teams would tank and both would miss a bowl game, and now Charlie Strong is working in Tampa rather than Austin. FSU has solid recruiting pipelines in both states, but Texas is ranked and Maryland isn’t. Texas is also much more likely to be a threat to FSU in both the short-term and long-term. For these reasons, Florida State fans should root for Maryland on Saturday.
Wyoming at Iowa, 12:00, BTN: Wyoming. The Wyoming Cowboys play in the non-Power Five Mountain West Conference, and a Wyoming win over Big Ten member Iowa would be a great way to start the year for the Cowboys. I won’t lie, I like Wyoming as an under-the-radar sleeper team this season. Their QB, Josh Allen, might be the best QB you’ve never heard of, and could very well be the top QB taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. If you haven’t watched Wyoming and Allen play yet, do yourself a favor and tune in to this nooner on Saturday. They’ll also host Oregon at home in two weeks.
Bowling Green at Michigan State, 12:00, ESPNU: Bowling Green. It’s early in the season, and there’s no downside to rooting for underdog Bowling Green to go into East Lansing and continue Sparty’s misery from last season. There is greater potential upside for Florida State and the ACC down the road if the collective Big Ten performs poorly early in the year. ‘Noles fans should therefore pull for Bowling Green.
Cal at North Carolina, 12:20, ACCN: UNC. I have to give Cal credit, they’re scheduling a decent OOC schedule for 2017. They’re playing in Chapel Hill this weekend, then in two weeks they host Ole Miss (what a culture shock Berkeley will be for that traveling fanbase). That being said, FSU fans should root for UNC on Saturday. These early P5 vs. P5 OOC games will be important later in the season for SOS purposes, especially against the Pac 12. Cal’s body clocks will likely be messed up for this East Coast nooner, which could play a factor. FSU fans should root for the Heels in this one.
Bethune-Cookman at #18 Miami, 12:30, ACCN: Miami. If FSU is to win the Atlantic Division and play for an ACC title and a CFP berth, the ‘Noles will need the Coastal Division champ to be decent this season. The ACCCG needs to be that last feather in the cap to get the ACC champion into the CFP, especially if the ACC champion has 2 losses.
In a perfect world, we’d all obviously prefer Va Tech or UNC to win the Coastal Division, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, I think we can agree that Miami tanking every season after losing to the ‘Noles has gotten old (let me stop you right there and clarify that FSU beating Miami will never, ever get old). It might hurt to hear, but Florida State fans should acknowledge that Miami being better this year (and yet still inferior to the ‘Noles, obviously) ultimately helps Florida State. If you’re still not convinced, here’s two additional reasons: (1) FSU is not guaranteed to play Va Tech or UNC this year; and (2) if FSU and Miami finally meet in the ACCCG this year, Florida State has the chance to extend its winning streak over the Canes to 9 (!!!!) and take the overall series lead.
That doesn’t mean that we openly root for Miami. We’d all take great joy if Bethune-Cookman gives Miami a game on Saturday. Hey Miami, don’t get any of your starters hurt this weekend, you’ve got a huge trip to Arkansas State next weekend before coming up to Tallahassee to take your annual loss to FSU. By the way, great move scheduling a road trip to Arkansas State, a team so irrelevant that Arkansas refuses to schedule them. Arkansas has played college football since 1894, Arkansas State has played college football since 1911, and they have played exactly zero times in 106 years of sharing that state. 5 Rangz Yo.
NC State vs. South Carolina (Charlotte, NC), 3:00, ESPN: NC State. The Wolfpack almost have a tiny amount of hype going into this season, which means that they’ll undoubtedly come out flat and likely lose an ugly game to an inferior Sakerlina team on Saturday in Charlotte.
Please don’t embarrass our conference against the vastly-inferior SEC East, NC State. You’ve got to be better than that.
Shoutout to all the Wolfpack fans heading to Charlotte this weekend to watch your team play in something not called the Belk Bowl.
#11 Michigan vs. #17 Florida (Arlington, TX), 3:30, ABC: Michigan. I don’t think this pick needs any explanation. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but something like 50% of Florida’s current roster has gotten caught defrauding their own university and won’t be eligible for this game. Sad! Just in time for the Gators to schedule an opening game away from the Swamp against a team with a pulse for the first time in decades, too. I think the real crime here is Florida’s passing attack. If you want to talk about true theft, Luke Del Rio is still on full scholarship as a QB at the University of Florida.
I want the outcome of this game to be as ugly as these terrible all-yellow highlighter alternate jerseys Michigan is wearing. I hope this game gets so out of hand that Jim Harbaugh uses a shark meme photo board to signal in play calls in the second half. Maybe the Gators will line up a towel boy at WR, who knows. Look on the bright side Florida, you get to be relevant for something other than being offered up as a sacrificial lamb to Alabama in Atlanta in three months. Have fun.
Temple at Notre Dame, 3:30, NBC: Temple. Don’t let the fact that Notre Dame opens the 2017 season with Temple distract you from the fact that Notre Dame went 4-8 in 2016. Maybe the new strategy for John Swofford should be to embarrass Notre Dame into joining the ACC as a full-time member. Another disastrous campaign and an impending Brian Kelly explosion after he stops pretending to “be nice” in order to save his job might do it. FSU fans should root for Temple to beat Notre Dame.
Stony Brook at #19 USF, 4:00, ESPN3: Stony Brook. USF has either scheduled a body of water or an oddly-named subdivision to play them on Saturday, because there’s no way that a school named Stony Brook exists or operates a functioning college football program. Regardless of what makes their Brook Stony, I’m sure this opponent will still put up 3+ scores on Charlie Strong’s defense.
Kentucky at Southern Miss, 4:00, CBSSN: Southern Miss. USM beat Kentucky by 9 in Lexington last year, so this isn’t exactly an upset. FSU fans should root for non-P5 C-USA member Southern Miss to complete the home-and-home series sweep over Kentucky on Saturday.
Charleston Southern at Mississippi State, 4:00, SECN: Charleston Southern. Remember last season’s opener when Mississippi State CLANGA-ED their game-winning FG off the upright to lose at home to South Alabama?
How great would it be for this to be repeated again this year against Charleston Southern? It would only be topped by Mississippi State then going on to finish the year with a winning record in the SEC West, proving to everyone that you can consistently lose to a FCS school and also beat Texas A&M in the same year because #ItJustMeansMore in the mighty SEC West.
Florida State fans are somewhat familiar with Charleston Southern and should root for the Bucs to pull the upset on Saturday.
Western Michigan at #4 USC, 5:15, PAC12: Western Michigan. The PJ Fleck-less Broncos head to Los Angeles to take on Sam Darnold and the #4 USC Trojans in their season opener. SC is the early favorite to win the Pac 12, and they’re ranked directly behind the ‘Noles in the AP. FSU fans should pull for the unlikely Western Michigan upset on Saturday.
Appalachian State at #15 Georgia, 6:15, ESPN: App State. Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of App State going up to Ann Arbor and pulling one of the greatest upset in recent college football history.
How great it would be for the ‘Neers to celebrate that anniversary by doing the same thing to Georgia on Saturday. Scheduling this game seemed like a bad idea from the get-go for UGA, and I hope Appalachian State stays hot, hot, hot* and makes the Bulldogs pay for it.
*Seriously this is one of the greatest university recruiting videos I have ever seen and I promise you will not regret clicking on this link.
Georgia Southern at #12 Auburn, 7:30, SECN: Georgia Southern. Speaking of upsets, I vaguely remember Georgia Southern beating another SEC team at home without completing a pass in the past few years. Auburn is a trendy pick to compete with Alabama for the SEC West this season, and Barn fans seem excited and intrigued by the arrival of Baylor transfer QB Jarrett Stidham. This is all the more reason to root for our favorite southern Georgia Sun Belt program to pull out another SEC upset on Saturday.
#16 Louisville vs. Purdue (Indianapolis, IN), 7:30, FOX: Louisville. The Cardinals open their season against Purdue, a school in the Big Ten that is best known for being terrible at football but still managing to produce effective NFL QB’s. FSU fans should hope Louisville beats Purdue on Saturday night in Indy, because that would be one of the most embarrassing OOC losses for the ACC in recent memory and ultimately hurt Florida State’s CFP chances down the road.
South Alabama at Ole Miss, 7:30, ESPNU: South Alabama. See the Mississippi State game preview above, add in some snarky Hugh Freeze jokes, acknowledge Ole Miss’s self-imposed bowl-ban, likelihood of an additional mountain of impending NCAA sanctions, and general return to irrelevancy. Root for South Alabama because it’s your patriotic duty to root against the Rebels. USA! USA!
BYU vs. #13 LSU (New Orleans, LA), 9:30, ESPN: BYU. This game was originally scheduled to be played in Houston, but was moved to New Orleans after the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. BYU did not look good at all last week against Portland State, and now they’re playing LSU in a de facto home game for the Tigers.
It would be tough enough just to have to be on Bourbon Street as a BYU fan, but this one could get ugly early. It will be interesting to catch a first glimpse of the new coaching staff and offensive system in place at LSU, which is worth making this the commercial timeout flipback game for ‘Noles fans watching our tilt at home. FSU fans should pull for the Cougars in this one, with low expectations.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
#22 West Virginia vs. #21 Virginia Tech (Landover, MD), 7:30, ABC: Va Tech. This should be an interesting game to watch on Sunday evening. It appears that Justin Fuente has Va Tech moving in the right direction heading into his second year in Blacksburg (side note: Fuente has already won more ACC Coach of the Year awards (one) than Jimbo Fisher, what a farce). Like we mentioned in the Miami game preview above, the ‘Noles will need the Coastal Division champ to be decent this season if FSU is to win the Atlantic Division and play for an ACC title and a CFP berth. Va Tech is a preferable choice to win the Coastal over Miami, and they very well may. I’m looking forward to watching this old Big East rivalry game, as well as scouting VT. This game could also have CFP implications down the road. FSU fans should root for their conference mate in this one, but everybody wins because there’s a primetime college football game on Sunday.
Texas A&M at UCLA, 7:30, FOX: UCLA. The head coach for the losing team might as well get a head start on looking for employment next season. Both Kevin Sumlin and Jim Mora Jr.’s seats are piping hot, and neither of these programs took advantage of their in-state rivals being “down” when they had the chance. USC is now back, and Texas appears to be trending in the right direction. These two teams have never lived up to their lofty, albeit unreasonable, expectations, and I don’t expect either of these head coaches to be around next season. I’m picking UCLA purely because FSU recruits Texas more than California.
Monday, September 4, 2017
#25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA), 8:00, ESPN: Georgia Tech. Hey look, a third straight night of primetime ACC football. Sure, this game is the also-ran of the weekend. Sure, ticket prices are likely to be 1⁄3 the price of the FSU-Bama game played in the same stadium two nights before. Sure, the Champions of Life might fire Butch Jones if he can’t win the sorry SEC East. Sure, watching Georgia Tech’s offense is the college football equivalent of putting sunscreen in your eyeballs to watch the eclipse. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be watching. FSU fans should root for the conference mate in this one.
What’s your prediction for the FSU-Bama game?
This poll is closed
Noles by 3 pts. or less
Noles by more than 3 pts.
Bama by 3 pts. or less
Bama by more than 3 pts.