The other day, I wrote about the possible on-field repercussions of Florida State’s game against Louisiana-Monroe being cancelled. Now, after the rescheduling of what was supposed to be the Seminoles’ ACC opener, against Miami, FSU will face an even longer layover, marking three weeks between when the ’Noles lost to Alabama and when they’ll host the NC State Wolfpack on September 23.
So does this work for or against Florida State? Ambivalence dominates the answer to that question. Let’s start with the downside. The tilt against the Hurricanes is now taking place on October 7, which was to be each team’s off week. Well, they can say bye-bye to that bye, meaning 10 straight games to finish the year, 11 should either (or both) make the ACC title game. That’s a long time without a break, and it’s not like you can elect to absorb injuries early on, with all this time off. The Seminoles will have to weather the storm, down the stretch, without a break.
Three weeks off, after the start of the season, is simply unheard of, outside of awaiting a bowl game that typically means next to nothing. But instead of waiting on a glorified exhibition to close out its season, FSU continues to bide its time while waiting for the 2017 campaign to really get off the ground. The swings have been amazing: fall camp leading up to a historic match with the Tide— and then, essentially, another fall camp, while just about the rest of the college football world has moved on.
And perhaps some voters have as well. The Seminoles dropped in both major polls this weekend, following their cancelled ULM contest. We’ll have to see if more teams leapfrog them in the wake of yet another Saturday off on the 16th.
While the ’Noles won’t have played from 9/2-9/23 when they finally face off with the ’Pack, NCSU will have taken the field each weekend. Following their bed-defecating against South Carolina, North Carolina State beat Marshall and will host Furman on Saturday. They’re not top-tier opponents, but it’s game action, which must seem like a distant memory for the Seminoles.
But let’s get into the upside of these developments for FSU. Most importantly, freshman quarterback James Blackman has had a ton of extra time to prepare for his first start, a plethora of practices as QB1 with the first-team offense. Moreover, his first start won’t come against a bitter rival in a primetime game. Make no mistake, NC State is not in the habit of playing soft against Florida State, and their defensive front, like Miami’s, is stout. However, the Wolfpack is not the ’Canes.
Also, the UM game was moved early enough that ’Noles will have had basically two weeks to prepare for the ’Pack, while NCSU still had to prep for Furman (sure). FSU, after coming off of this much rest, should also be healthier than North Carolina State.
As far as how the new game day plays out for the schedules of FSU and Miami: advantage Seminoles. For Florida State, the UM game plugs in between road games at Wake Forest and Duke, and I almost fell asleep while typing that. The Hurricanes go from a road Friday-nighter at Duke, to FSU, and then must regroup, mentally and physically, following a rivalry game to host Georgia Tech and its option attack.
The final potential advantage for the Seminoles? Special Teams. No, seriously. It’s tough to make substantial changes in the middle of the season, and that’s precisely what FSU’s STs needed following the egg they laid vs. ’Bama. But three weeks? A lot can get done in three weeks of uninterrupted time. Let’s see if all that time without a game makes a difference here.