It’s finally here.
The start of the college football season, at least for three of the five major conferences, is a time to celebrate and rejoice, despite the awful year we have collectively endured.
Florida State Seminoles football kicks off the Norvell era Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, their closest geographical conference mate that they play roughly...checks notes...once per millennium. Doak Campbell will be restricted to roughly 25% capacity, or double the typical crowd size for a Miami home game.
In our weekly FSU football fan rooting guide, Tomahawk Nation will take a look at what results from across the country Seminoles fans should be rooting for, with the ultimate goal of helping FSU’s chances of securing a spot in
the College Football Playoff a bowl? A decent bowl? The Top 25 rankings? A trip to Charlotte? I don’t know, let’s relish in the fact that football is back (for those of us south of the Rust Belt) and simultaneously have some fun at other program’s expense.
In the past, the games will be organized by conference later in the season. With fewer games and almost all conference-only schedules, this week’s rooting guide is organized by date and time of kickoff.
All broadcast times listed are Eastern Standard Time. Let’s get in to this weekend’s matchups. Remember, the rooting guide isn’t liable for your crappy betting results!
Saturday, September 12
Syracuse Orange at No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels, 12 p.m, ACCN: Syracuse. I can’t recall a 7-win team getting more mileage out of a close loss than UNC. The Orange are being spotted 22 points?! Maybe Syracuse can generate some of that magic than has lead to actual upsets of Clemson against the Tar Heels...in front of a crowd of no one. The media seems to love the narrative of UNC. Let’s root to ruin that early.
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns at No. 23 Iowa St. Cyclones, 12pm, ESPN: Louisiana. Talk about a dud of a national broadcast matchup. I know we all love college football, but we’re going to leave a remote College Gameday broadcast from Winston-Salem (more on that later) straight into a thrilling Louisiana-Iowa State matchup. You have to love this stuff to endure that kind of mediocrity. Iowa State seems to be a darkhorse pick to win the Big XII, and they’re ranked (ahead of FSU), so let’s root for the Ragin’ Cajuns in an upset.
UL-Monroe at Army Black Knights, 1:30, CBSSN: Army. The Black Knights’ triple-option offense was machine-like last weekend against Rick Stockstill’s Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Given that the Naval Academy was forcibly decimated by BYU, it’s nice to see that at least one of the service academies can provide us with an entertaining alternative to modern air-it-out offense. Army is playing a hodgepodge schedule, but we may have to reevaluate this later in the season if they go on a hot streak.
Duke Blue Devils at No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 2:30, NBC: Duke. This is a matchup of two teams FSU will play, but I have no remorse pulling for the Blue Devils to upset a top ten Notre Dame squad. I’m also going to take the opportunity here to note that Notre Dame IS NOT A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE ACC, despite what you may constantly see on ESPN and the ACC Network. Nothing like trying to troll the conference that rescued your season by doing it wrong:
In a sign this will take some getting used to:— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) September 9, 2020
Notre Dame Stadium put the on-field ACC logo in the wrong spot last weekend and had to move it. Still between the 20-yard and 30-yard lines, but now inside the hashmarks instead of outside them.
Remember, the top two teams in the ACC by winning percentage will play in Charlotte. Notre Dame is currently favored to finish the season with the second-best record in the ACC. An upset by Duke, the last team FSU plays during the regular season, would go a long way in helping FSU’s chances of making it to Charlotte.
Thanks for the NBC money, Notre Dame. Join the conference permanently or have fun playing Navy 12 times next year.
Austin Peay at Pittsburgh Panthers, 4pm, ACCN: Pitt. FSU plays Pitt later in the year, and frankly a Panther upset against somebody named Austin Peay does FSU no favors. Let’s save the Pitt losses for conference play, specifically on November 7.
Missouri State at No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners, 7pm: Missouri State. For whatever reason, OU still likes to pay-per-view some of its home games like its 1997. So maybe no one outside of the Sooner State sees OU play its only non-conference game of the year. Add in Lincoln Riley’s interesting comments about COVID testing results earlier this week, and you may have a perfect recipe for a repeat of Army’s near-upset of Oklahoma in overtime two years ago that no one saw because...pay-per-view. Either way, no harm in rooting for an upset that will likely not plausibly affect FSU.
The Citadel at South Florida Bulls, 7pm, ESPNU: The Citadel. I still haven’t forgotten the 2009 debacle. And thanks for indirectly giving us Willie Taggart.
No. 1 Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 7:30, ABC: Wake Forest. It’s still a little surprising that College Gameday is “visiting” Winston-Salem this weekend, albeit remotely. At least with zero fans in the stands, or roughly 4,000 fewer fans than a typical Wake home game, everyone across the country will get to experience the usual ferocious home atmosphere that Snuggie Hill provides the Demon Deacons.
There’s no reason not to root for an improbable Wake Forest upset here, but certainly don’t count on watching this one closely into the second half.
UTEP at No. 14 Texas Longhorns, 8pm, LHN: UTEP. Texas is ranked, so an unlikely upset in Texas’ only non-conference game of the year benefits the ‘Noles.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Louisville Cardinals, 8pm, ACCN: Louisville. Similar to Pitt, this would be a bad loss for Louisville but do nothing to affect their conference winning percentage. Let’s save some UL losses for ACC play, specifically on October 24.
Coastal Carolina at Kansas Jayhawks, 10pm, FSN: I was not aware that Coastal Carolina had a football program, were you? I’m only including this game to prove that there is technically a late game on TV, even without the Pac-12. I just can’t generate fake-hype for a Coastal Carolina-Kansas game. Maybe Les eats some artificial turf, I don’t know.
Let me know in the comments where I’m wrong. Go ‘Noles!