The ACC released its 2017 football schedule Tuesday, as Florida State fans got their first glimpse at the gauntlet ahead of the ‘Noles. And while we knew that there would be some stiff competition ahead, this year’s schedule is quite fair, if not beneficial, for FSU.
We already knew that the Seminoles would be facing Alabama in Atlanta to open the season, followed by a home opener against Louisiana-Monroe. No disrespect to ULM, but that essentially means that, after playing the Tide, the ‘Noles will have two weeks to prepare for when Miami comes to town in week three. Getting the Hurricanes early is also a plus for FSU because the ‘Canes will be breaking in a new quarterback and secondary. And since UM gets a couple of cupcakes to open the year, this should be a matchup of ranked teams.
Some could posit that hosting NC State the following week may set up as a let-down game for the ‘Noles after playing Alabama and Miami in two of three weeks. However, the Wolfpack aren’t nearly the threat in Tallahassee that they are in Raleigh.
The Meat— or lack thereof
Then FSU gets a stretch consisting of games at Wake Forest and Duke sandwiched around a bye week. This is a nice soft span in the heart of the season, which should help in getting players healthy— and it also leads up to the Seminoles’ October 21 home game against Louisville. Meanwhile, the Cardinals play seven straight games before having to face FSU (advantage: ‘Noles).
Florida State then has a road Friday night game at Boston College. The good news is that this is the only non-Saturday game on the schedule (with no Thursday games!); you’ll recall, last year, Jimbo Fisher’s repeated insistence upon how challenging schedule shifts and alterations can be for a team. On the other hand, Boston at night on October 28th could be rather chilly— flipping this date with the September 30th Wake Forest contest in North Carolina would be optimal, but no schedule is perfect.
That said, this one is pretty close to it for Florida State, as it then hosts Syracuse prior to concluding ACC play at Clemson, and welcomes Delaware State ahead of a season-ending trip to Gainesville. Clemson has a tougher road before the FSU game, playing a Georgia Tech team that can seriously alter your squad’s health via the cut block, and then playing at an NC State team that had the Tigers all but beat in 2016 prior to getting the ‘Noles. On the other hand, getting Clemson late could be tougher than early, as it may have achieved some cohesion by then after replacing a number of big-name players.
So every time FSU has a marquee opponent, it gets a lesser squad the week (or even weeks) prior. That’s huge. Contrast that with Clemson, which, after hosting Auburn, travels to Louisville the following week, then hosts BC ahead of a trip to Virginia Tech. That’s a rough stretch. As far as others coming in fresh to play the Seminoles, only one team, Syracuse, has a bye before its game with FSU. NC State should also be ready to go, as it hosts Marshall and Furman before traveling to Tallahassee.
But again, all in all, you’re very pleased with this schedule if you’re an FSU fan.