Florida State football is off to a rather atypical start. The ’Noles have begun 0-2 for just the first time since 1989— but this year’s squad has even more in common with the ’89 team.
Each began with a top-10 ranking against a non-conference opponent on September 2. In 1989, FSU fell to Brett Favre’s Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Jacksonville. This year, Alabama defeated Florida State in Atlanta.
After that, the Seminoles returned home and dropped another game. In ’89 to Clemson, in ’17 to NC State. And in each season, FSU’s once-lofty ranking disappeared entirely after the 0-2 start.
With one ranked opponent already under their belt in both years, what awaited each time was the Seminoles’ first true road game. In 1989, FSU traveled to No. 21 LSU. The task is slightly easier this time around, as Wake Forest is the next foe. But while the ’Noles won’t be playing a ranked team this time around, they hope that the results will remain the same, as Florida State topped the Bayou Bengals in ’89.
The LSU game was the first of four ranked opponents that 1989 FSU would beat after that 0-2 start. Two at home (Auburn, Miami), two on the road (LSU, Syracuse). And you guessed it: the 2017 Seminoles have four games left against presently ranked teams as well. The ’Noles will host Miami and Louisville before playing at Clemson and Florida.
The big question of course, is if this Florida State team can finish like that ’89 squad. Namely, perfect. the 1989 Seminoles ran the table to finish at 10-2, which concluded with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Nebraska.
Both teams were led on defense by a standout safety, be it LeRoy Butler or Derwin James. Each had a first-year starter at QB— even if Peter Tom Willis was a redshirt-senior and James Blackman is a true freshman. What remans to be seen is if this year’s iteration of FSU football can also rebound from its 0-2 start to finish at No. 3 in the nation, the very ranking with which it began the season.