Welcome, friends, to week four of the strangest college football season we’ve experienced in a while. The Florida State Seminoles are playing their home opener tomorrow, September 23, against NC State. It really does seem like forever ago that FSU last played a football game. It’s been a long, difficult wait, but the ‘Noles are finally back. Ten straight weeks of ‘Noles football sounds glorious. And no need to worry, we’ll get to take some revenge out on a Hurricane soon enough.
After the FSU-NC State nooner is complete, there will still be other important games being played that ‘Noles fans should keep an eye on. And after a two week absence thanks to Irma, I’m back with our usual weekly FSU football fan rooting guide to help you do just that. We’re taking a look at what results FSU football fans should be rooting for in these week 4 games that will ultimately benefit the ‘Noles.
Let’s get into the games, which are segmented by the home team’s conference. All times are Eastern. As usual, let me know in the comments if you disagree.
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Kent State at #19 Louisville, 12:00, ACCN: Louisville. Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals got embarrassed by Clemson at home in primetime last weekend, but a sleepy home nooner against Kent State should help them get back on track. Now that Louisville has been exposed, FSU fans should selfishly root for the Cardinals to win every game between now and their trip to Doak on October 21st. The better Louisville looks now, and the higher up the rankings they climb, the better FSU’s schedule looks, and (hopefully) the sweeter the revenge will taste.
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech, 12:20, ACCN: Georgia Tech. Pittsburgh got blown out in Stillwater last weekend by Okie State and it appears evident that Pitt has experienced a huge dropoff from last year. Georgia Tech managed to blow a late game lead to Tennessee, who celebrated by flaunting around a homemade trash can on the sidelines because Butch Jones is a great motivator of millennials. This is the same Tennessee team that then put their season in said trash can by managing to lose to Florida last weekend.
I guess FSU fans might as well root for Georgia Tech in this one. Neither of these Coastal teams are great, but the worse Pitt performs throughout the year, the worse that Oklahoma State win looks. It is still early, but the Pokes may be poised to hang around the Top 10 for most of the season in a weak Big 12.
Old Dominion at #13 Virginia Tech, 2:00, ACCN: Virginia Tech. There’s no upside for FSU fans to pull for FCS Old Dominion upset over the Hokies this weekend. The ACC desperately needs this year’s Coastal Division champion to be solid, and it’s no secret that most ‘Nole fans would prefer Virginia Tech to represent the Coastal in Charlotte rather than Miami.
Boston College at #2 Clemson, 3:30, ESPN2: BC. It’s still early, and maybe Auburn and Louisville aren’t great teams, but Clemson does not appear to have fallen off as much from last year as we might have initially expected. The ‘Noles can use all the help they can get in their quest to unseat Clemson in the Atlantic Division. No matter how unlikely or improbable, FSU fans should root for the Boston College upset in Death Valley on Saturday. Who knows, maybe the Tigers will get caught napping after smashing Louisville last weekend. Help us out, Steve Addazio. Be a dude.
Toledo at #14 Miami, 3:30, ACCN: Toledo. Like the ‘Noles, the Miami Hurricanes have not played a football game in 21 days. Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Coral Gables, they spent this past week preparing for the Toledo Rockets at Disney World. Normally, I would make a joke about Disney World being an appropriate place for Miami to practice because, like Miami’s ACC Championship trophy case, Disney World is a made-up, magical world consisting of fairy tales, fanciful dreams, and nothing substantive. But I’m definitely not going to do that; that would be insensitive.
But hey, why not pull for Kim Jong Un’s (likely ) favorite college football team to upset the Hurricanes this weekend?
Wake Forest at App State, 3:30, ESPN3: Wake. FSU plays WF in Winston-Salem next weekend. The Deacs have started 3-0 in back-to-back years for the first time since 1946-47, and they have outscored their three opponents by a combined score of 131-27. App State, a Sun Belt member, lost to UGA in week 1 and struggled to put away a bad Texas State squad last week.
It’s week 4 and there’s no upside to rooting for an App State win on Saturday, so FSU fans should root for their fellow ACC Atlantic Division member.
Duke at North Carolina, 3:30, ESPNU: Duke. The Blue Devils are 3-0 and share the best record in the Coastal Division with Va Tech. Meanwhile, the Heels are 1-2 and already seem lost. LSU graduate transfer QB Brandon Harris has not shown any signs of improvement so far in Chapel Hill, and threw 2 picks in UNC’s 35-30 opening week loss to Cal. The Noles will play Duke in a few weeks, but won’t play UNC this year. It would benefit FSU to have Duke win this rivalry game, so ‘Noles fans should pull for the Blue Devils.
West Virginia at Kansas, 12:00, ESPNU: Kansas. Poor Kansas. The Jayhawks are off to a 1-2 start (same record as Texas, one game better than Baylor), and their two losses have come to Central Michigan at home and at Ohio. Would anyone like to guess when KU won their last road game? It was September 12, 2009. President Obama was eight months into his first term, the iPad had not yet been invented, and Miami had gotten its last win over FSU just five days prior. Talk about a long time ago! The Jayhawks thought their best chance to get that first road win in 8 years was last week at Ohio, but it wasn’t to be.
Meanwhile, West Virginia did its only job of the season for FSU’s purposes, losing to Virginia Tech on opening weekend. If you’re in Lawrence, Kansas this weekend (for reasons known only to you and God) with three spare dollars, you can attend this Big 12
#16 TCU at #6 Oklahoma State, 3:30, ESPN: TCU. The Pokes beat Pitt so badly last weekend, Pitt went to extreme measures to keep their students in their seats through the end of the game:
What a deal, Pitt! pic.twitter.com/O3o9j5GntR— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 16, 2017
Following the steps of prior Big 12 contenders, Oklahoma State likes scoring points in bunches but doesn’t like playing any defense. The Cowboys are averaging 54 points per game so far in 2017. They’re also averaging 607 yards of offense per game. They’re also allowing 332.7 yards per game on defense, which could be concerning given that they’ve only played Tulsa, South Alabama, and Pitt, who are not exactly the most potent trio of college football offenses. Luckily, Okie State plays in the Big 12 where defense is optional and the points don’t matter. Usually the last team with possession wins. FSU fans should hope that team is TCU on Saturday. Oklahoma State is ranked ahead of FSU, and TCU is not. Go Frogs.
#3 Oklahoma at Baylor, 6:30, FS1: Baylor. Gross. Baylor’s disgraced athletic department should be permanently disbanded and liquidated for the atrocities the people in power there were willing to cover up in exchange for a season or two of college football relevance...but it would be very helpful for FSU if this Baylor squad, which has thus far lost to Liberty, UT-San Antonio, and Duke, managed to catch #3 Oklahoma off-guard this weekend.
UNLV at #10 Ohio State, 12:00, BTN: UNLV. Ohio State is ranked ahead of FSU and UNLV is not only a member of the Group of Five Mountain West Conference, but also lost the largest point-spread upset in college football history to Howard in week 1. This is Ohio State’s last out-of-conference regular season game this year. FSU fans should root for UNLV to pull the upset in Columbus on Saturday...but don’t hold your breath.
#8 Michigan at Purdue, 4:00, FOX: Purdue. Since when were the Boilermakers a trendy team? After nearly upsetting Louisville in week 1, Purdue stomped Missouri last week and host Khaki Pants Man at home this weekend. The 3-0 Wolverines are ranked ahead of FSU and won’t play a ranked opponent for another month (at Penn State October 21). Saturday will go a long way to determining whether Michigan has a competent offense. We’ll also see if Purdue is for real, or just caught lightning in a bottle early on. Either way, FSU fans should root for the Boilermakers on Saturday.
#4 Penn State at Iowa, 7:30, ABC: Iowa. The Cornpeople are hosting Penn State in this week’s pivotal primetime Big Ten matchup. Like 90% of Big Ten conference games, these two teams will sport uniforms that look like they’re permanently stuck in the 1940’s and (just going out on a limb here) will likely average two yards per play in a 17-14 thriller. You’re welcome, I just described every Big 10 game ever, and I just saved you from dedicating four hours of your weekend to watch this game.
You have to give James Franklin credit though, it seems like just yesterday that Penn State people were convinced their program would never again return to national prominence. This will be a big test for his young Nittany Lions, who are playing away from Happy Valley for the first game this season. FSU fans should root for unranked Iowa to beat #4 Penn State.
Notre Dame at Michigan State, 8:00, FOX: Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish couldn’t beat Georgia at home, and Michigan State hasn’t played anyone with a pulse yet. FSU’s strength of schedule could potentially benefit from a Notre Dame win more than a Michigan State win here because Notre Dame still has four more ACC teams left on their schedule. Both of these programs are trying to rebound from atrocious 2016 campaigns, and my TV is still trying to recover its purple hue from the broadcasts of Brian Kelly’s face. FSU fans should pull for the Irish, although this game won’t have much impact on FSU’s season outlook and I doubt most ‘Nole fans will ever root for Notre Dame.
#23 Utah at Arizona, 10:30 (Friday, 9/21), FS1: Arizona. The 2-1 Wildcats lost to Houston two weeks ago, and undefeated #23 Utah had to escape to beat BYU by 6 in the Holy War. The Utes are ranked, and they’ve lost to Arizona 4 of the last 5 times, so they get our wrath this week. Besides, I’m still not quite over the Utes removing their awesome mountain range sleeves on their jerseys. FSU fans should root for Arizona to muddy the early season Pac 12 South standings a bit in this late (Friday) night matchup.
#5 USC at Cal, 3:30, ABC: Cal. Not only is Cal-Berkeley out here smashing trash cans on their own campus in open revolt against controversial speakers whose world views they do not agree with, but their football team smashed garbage-arm QB Brandon Harris and the UNC Tar Heels in week 1, and followed it up by beating Ole Miss last weekend. Cal has accounted for 1 of the 2 Pac 12 wins over a SEC team and the only Pac 12 win over an ACC team so far this season. World beaters!
This weekend they’ll get USC at home in their conference opener. While the college football pundits love to quickly and prematurely deem the Trojans as “back” (see: last season, prior to 52-6 loss to Bama; see also: Miami), we still need USC to figure out who they are exactly. They looked downright dreadful in their opener against Western Michigan, then beat Stanford (who just lost to San Diego State and who we now know is a fraud) in unimpressive fashion, then had to go into overtime to beat Texas at home, a team that got rolled in week 1 by Maryland. Is USC a good football team? Are the Trojans still the favorite to win the Pac 12? Off the top of your head, can you name anyone on their roster not named Sam Darnold? There’s no clear answer to any of those questions, but this weekend’s tilt with 3-0 Cal may go a long way towards providing some clarity in the Pac 12.
#7 Washington at Colorado, 10:00, FS1: Colorado. The defending Pac 12 champion Washington Huskies are 3-0 and are currently ranked five spots ahead of FSU in the AP. Their conference opener opponent, Colorado, is also 3-0. The Buffaloes beat Colorado State in week 1, clobbered Texas State in week 2, and took Northern Colorado to the woodshed last weekend. CU is racking up yards in bunches on offense, but their defense is surrendering yards in bunches as well. Defending Pac 12 Player of the Year Jake Browning has thrown for 8 TDs and just 1 INT through 3 games, and might be licking his chops in anticipation for this one. FSU would benefit from a Colorado win on Saturday, so ‘Noles fans should root for the Buffaloes to upset the Huskies in Boulder.
#24 Oregon at Arizona State, 10:00, PAC12: Arizona State. The Ducks tweeted that they were “back” after beating Nebraska at home 2 weeks ago by a touchdown.
Oregon is back. Ducks top Nebraska, 42-35. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/RHBGtSodbn— GoDucks (@GoDucks) September 10, 2017
By this metric I guess that means Northern Illinois is “double back” after beating Nebraska in Lincoln by 2 touchdowns last weekend. Usually you have to accomplish something first before you can return to it, which applies both to Oregon and Northern Illinois, who each have a grand total of zero national titles. FSU fans should root for the struggling Sun Devils to put the Ducks back in their place on Saturday.
#1 Alabama at Vanderbilt, 3:30, CBS: Vanderbilt. Welcome to 2017, where the Vandy Commodores have the most impressive out-of-conference win of all SEC East teams (last week against Kansas State) and they definitely have the best QB in the SEC. Is Vandy on its way to winning the conciliation prize that is the SEC East? How long will it be before Georgia and Florida fans are riding the coattails of Vanderbilt’s accomplishments?
I will laugh hysterically if Derek Mason leads Vanderbilt to a SEC East title before Kirby Smart and Georgia. But first things first, I think we would all love to see Vandy give Bama a game on Saturday. Go ‘Dores.
#17 Mississippi State at #11 Georgia, 7:00, ESPN: Mississippi State. The Battle of the Bulldogs should be a good one. Georgia jumped FSU in the latest AP poll, which really doesn’t matter in the short term, but might in the long term because they only play two more teams that are currently ranked (and one of those teams is Florida, which really shouldn’t count as a ranked opponent, but I digress). The SEC East is a buzzsaw schedule with tough games every single week, don’t let those pesky facts and statistics tell you otherwise. You can’t just waltz into Nashville or Lexington or the Columbias and expect to win, PAWWWWWLLLLLL! Mississippi State put an absolute whoopin’ on LSU last weekend, but they’re still ranked behind FSU and they have more viable chances to lose as the season rolls along.
Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald is from Richmond Hill, Georgia, and has really developed well going into his second year as the starter in Starkville. This will be a homecoming of sorts for him. I’ve also come to respect Dan Mullen, a coach who manages to consistently win 8 games in the SEC West despite having far fewer resources and recruiting advantages than every other program in that division. His Bulldogs might have caught a mediocre LSU team at a bad time, or they might just be a flavor of the week. Either way, FSU fans should root for Mississippi State on Saturday.
Syracuse at #25 LSU, 7:00, ESPN2: Syracuse. Coach O and the LSU Tigers got clobbered by Mississippi State last weekend. Another loss like that and the Cajuns will once again renew their annual calls to bring Jimbo back to the Bayou. How’s the whole “let’s fire Les Miles, our winningest coach in program history” idea working out for LSU so far? If you think LSU fans are angry now, just try to imagine Syracuse coming in and pulling off a night game upset in Death Valley.
Best of luck, Cuse. We’re rooting for you. Keep your mascot’s gigantic head low, it’s an easy target for battery tosses.
#15 Auburn at Missouri, 7:30, ESPNU: Missouri. Auburn nearly lost to Mercer at home last Saturday. Fun fact: I didn’t even know Mercer had a football program until last Saturday. Meanwhile, the other Tigers are going to eventually regret joining the SEC, and I think that day is coming sooner rather than later. I mean, sure, Missouri won the SEC East the first two years after it joined, but that was to be expected when they made that huge step down in competition from the mighty Big 12. This program just isn’t built to compete long-term far outside the traditional SEC geographical footprint with a weak recruiting pipeline. Did I mention Missouri lost to Purdue 35-3 at home last weekend? Yikes. Regardless, FSU fans should root for Missouri to beat Auburn on Saturday.
#20 Florida at Kentucky, 7:30, SECN: Kentucky. Alright Cats, let’s have a serious discussion. Did you watch Tennessee-Florida last weekend? I know you guys were busy beating South Carolina, but I believe that DVR technology has finally made its way to the Bluegrass State.
You guys haven’t beaten the Gators since 1986...1986!!! That’s 30 years. I wasn’t even alive then. How sad.
I know you guys see how poorly coached the Gators are, how terrible their offense is, and how many players they still have suspended. I know you guys are feeling confident coming off your win over the Gamecocks. You’re 3-0 probably for the first time since Reconstruction, I don’t know. This is your year to end this ugly streak. This Florida team is not good. Jim McElwain was hired because his offense looked great at Colorado State, but he’s only managed 9 offensive TD’s in UF’s last 8 games and he’s ruined every QB he’s ever coached in Gainesville. Have some pride in your program and beat the damn Gators. And maybe run the ball when you’re 6 inches from the goal line.
Who will win the Mississippi State-Georgia game?
This poll is closed