Welcome back, sweet, beautiful college football season. Oh, how we have so deeply missed you. Labor Day Weekend is here, and that means one thing: tuning all of our senses into the first full weekend of endless college football coverage. Which senses have been dormant, you ask? Each and every one of them. All five of them. Like a bear coming out of hibernation, our senses of sound, sight, taste, smell, and touch have been rejuvenated. You don’t even have to believe me, I’ll prove it to you.
Perk up your ears, all self-respecting college football fans! Coming off a totally rad and definitely applicable hit from Taylor Swift last season, ESPN’s 2018 college football anthem “Natural” by Imagine Dragons should get your audible senses psyched. “Ah yes, Imagine Dragons! This makes me excited for sports!” says no one except for Patrick Reed. This is yet another bizarre choice by ESPN, making all college football fans who aren’t 12 year old girls (or Patrick Reed) confused and angered by yet another questionable audio choice.
Sound not your thing? Are you moved more by a canvass of sight? Well then feast your eyes on the visually appealing captain goober himself rocking an ugly-ass pair of Jordans with work socks and a black suit! You can tell he’s a natural at connecting with the youths because UF is ranked just behind Purdue in the current 247 recruiting rankings.
Dan Mullen wearing a pair of new Jordan IV’s.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 17, 2018
“Custom-made for the Gators,” he says. pic.twitter.com/nDa95q5zvp
Can you taste the excitement...of the Larry the Dr. Pepper guy finally retiring his exhausted act and graciously removing himself from the endless cycle of television commercial segments on Saturdays? I for one am grateful he’s heading off to the greener pastures of retirement. He’ll enjoy taking his Social Security check and likely need for additional Medicare coverage due to the high blood pressure and diabetes caused by drinking all those Dr. Peppers.
Maybe you’re a fan of smell. CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE CANES ARE ROCKING?! Good on you, Miami, for attempting to prove that if the the adage “look good, play good” is accurate, its inverse must also be true. Best of luck with your garbage season.
Or maybe touch is your preferred sense. Anybody other than Jim McElwain want to touch whatever this thing is that the Ole Miss Landsharks rolled out in August? I’m not sure if I should terrified or confused. Either way, I didn’t realize North Mississippi was a natural habitat for sharks. You learn something new everyday.
The start of the college football season is always a time for celebration. Whatever senses you prefer to celebrate with most, know that Tomahawk Nation is here to provide our weekly FSU football fan rooting guide. We’ll 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...or at least a New Years Six bowl berth.
As in the past, the games will be organized by conference later in the season. With week one being mostly out-of-conference matchups, however, 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 the matchups! Go ‘Noles!
Friday, August 31, 2018
Army vs. Duke, 7pm, ESPNU: Duke. We’ll go with the Blue Devils based on conference affiliation in this one. Duke is looking to build on its 7-6 campaign from a year ago, while Army won 10 games and defeated San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Syracuse vs. W. Michigan, 6pm, CBSSN: Cuse. This would be an ugly and unnecessary opening loss for Dino Babers and the Orange in Kalamazoo. FSU plays Syracuse in a few weeks and would prefer Syracuse not to have a bad blemish like this one on its resume. ‘Noles fans should root for the Orange in this matchup.
Utah State vs. No. 11 Michigan State, 7pm, BTN: Utah State. Why not root for the Aggies in the upset? Utah State is a member of the non-Power Five Mountain West, while Michigan State is one of a few contenders for the Big 10 East division title and a possible CFP spot. They’re also ranked ahead of FSU. Sparty, coming off a 10-3 campaign from a year ago, has a lot of firepower returning in QB Brian Lewerke and RB LJ Scott. They go to Tempe to face Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils next week.
W. Kentucky vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, 9pm, ESPN: Western Kentucky. Willie Taggart’s alma mater is opening with a top five opponent many believe are primed for a run at the Big 10 title and a CFP spot. Although extremely unlikely, FSU fans owe the Hilltoppers some allegiance or gratitude in pulling for an upset in Camp Randall.
San Diego State vs. No. 13 Stanford, 9pm, FS1: San Diego State. The Aztecs will face their toughest opponent of the season in week 1 as they travel to Palo Alto to face the Cardinal. Stanford is ranked ahead of FSU and are one of the two main contenders for the Pac 12 North division title and a possible spot in the CFP. Florida State fans should root for SDSU in an unlikely upset in this one, keeping with the mantra of knocking off potential CFP competitors in the Pac 12.
Colorado vs. Colorado State, 9:30pm, CBSSN: Colorado State. Believe it or not, Mike Bobo is already in his fourth year at Colorado State. The Rams opened the 2018 campaign with an upset loss to Hawaii at home, FSU fans should root for a CSU bounceback over the coming weeks. CSU, a non-Power Five conference member, will play their in-state rival and Pac 12 member, Colorado, before getting Arkansas at home next week. The week after that, the Rams travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators (this series was part of the package that came with Jim McElwain going to UF). FSU fans would be wise to make sure CSU gets out to a good start on Saturday. Just like last year, Colorado State will have played two games before Florida State plays their season opener.
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech, 12pm, ESPN: Texas Tech. In a sense, the Rebels are dangerous because they aren’t bowl-eligible again this year. That being said, Texas Tech isn’t starting the season ranked, but could play spoiler against the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, and West Virginia later in the season in Big 12 play. Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat. Ole Miss might be the worst team in the SEC West. Let’s save an Ole Miss upset for later in the year when it matters more, as they probably don’t have too many in them.
Oregon State vs. No. 5 Ohio State, 12pm, ABC: Oregon State. THE Ohio State University finally learned what most college football fans in the Sunshine State already knew: Urban Meyer is in fact a rather terrible person. Remember when he threatened to fight a Orlando Sentinel reporter and called him a “bad guy” for quoting one of his players? That was child’s play. Remember when he fostered a murderer on his roster at Florida? Apparently he forgot. Even so, Ohio State couldn’t muster up the moral clarity to fire the same guy who also harbored an alleged spouse abuser for years. Ohio State seemingly admitted wrongdoing on Urban’s part by suspending him for three games, but then didn’t fire him. At least he didn’t cover up his players getting tattoos and selling merchandise. That’s a line OSU won’t cross.
Oregon State is coming off a 1-win season and went through an ugly coaching change in the last year. The Buckeyes should take care of the Beavers even without Meyer. Regardless, we’ll join the rest of the nation and the civilized world in rooting for Oregon State.
No. 23 Texas vs. Maryland, 12pm, FS1: Texas. The Longhorns are coming off a disappointing first year under Tom Herman, which included a surprise opening loss to Maryland in Austin. Texas will be looking for revenge this time around in College Park. UT is starting the year ranked behind FSU, but Maryland has had a rough offseason of their own. Can Texas take a leap forward and compete with Oklahoma? Time will tell. In two weeks, they’ll host USC.
Florida Atlantic vs. No. 7 Oklahoma, 12pm, FOX: FAU. Who wouldn’t love to see Lane Kiffin leads his Owls into Norman and come out with an improbable upset? Oklahoma is ranked ahead of Florida State, and they’re the best hope for the Big 12 to earn a spot in the CFP. One conference has to get left out, and if history is any indication, its likely to be the Big 12 or the Pac 12. Maybe FAU can help us with that early this season. I would love to see Lane’s Twitter troll job afterwards if this happens.
Furman vs. No. 2 Clemson, 12:20pm, ACCN: Furman. A full-time Clemson student is playing QB for Furman. Clemson is starting Kelly Bryant at QB over Trevor Lawrence. Crazier upsets may not have happened, but this would be an eternally hilarious storyline. It’s not happening, so just root for Furman anyway.
Northern Illinois vs. Iowa, 3:30pm, BTN: NIU. The Huskies are a non-Power 5 team and they open the year at Big 10 member Iowa. Northern Illinois comes to Tallahassee a few weeks from now as well. They might as well help bolster FSU’s resume a bit. Florida State fans should root for NIU.
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn, 3:30pm, ABC: Auburn. Following with this theme, Washington is likely the biggest threat in the Pac 12 to take a spot in the CFP this season. In conference play, the Huskies have to go to Utah and Oregon, but they get Colorado and Stanford at home. In week one, they are a bigger threat than Auburn, who will close with Texas A&M at home, at Georgia, and at Bama in three of their final four weeks. Losses later in the season are more likely with Auburn’s schedule than with Washington, and the Pac 12 has consistently been viewed as the weakest of the Power Five conferences heading into the 2018 season. At least one conference will be left out of the CFP, and it could very well be the Pac 12. UW is the biggest threat to that notion. FSU fans should therefore be rooting for Auburn.
West Virginia vs. Tennessee, 3:30pm, CBS: West Virginia. Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a rough year for everyone in the SEC East not named Georgia. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers go to Raleigh in two weeks to take on NC State. In FSU’s best case scenario, NC State knocks off a ranked West Virginia team at that point. Meanwhile, Tennessee will likely be battling to finish third or fourth in the SEC East. It would be preferable for FSU to see West Virginia win this one against Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers.
Appalachian State vs. No. 10 Penn State, 3:30pm, BTN: App State. These Big 10 powerhouses are really flirting with disaster by continuing to schedule Appalachian State in week one out-of-conference games. Ask Michigan how that turned out 11 years ago. The difference in now and then is that App State went 9-4 in 2017, shared the Sun Belt conference title last year, and beat Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. They’re no pushover. Penn State is ranked in Top Ten. FSU fans should root for a Mountaineer upset in this one.
North Carolina vs. Cal, 4pm, FOX: UNC. It seems like the Tar Heels have opened with Cal for about a decade now, but we’ll take North Carolina strictly for the conference affiliation. UNC will be looking for some revenge following last year’s 35-30 Bears victory in Chapel Hill. Plus, Larry Fedora is on the hot seat. One conference is left out of the CFP, and it has typically been the Pac 12 or the Big 12. A UNC win would help that trend continue.
UNLV vs. No. 15 USC, 4pm, PAC12: UNLV. Easy call here. Mountain West member UNLV isn’t a threat. USC is ranked ahead of FSU and, although replacing Sam Darnold at QB, is a perennial threat and favorite to contend for the Pac 12 South division title and a possible CFP spot.
Indiana vs. FIU, 7pm, CBSSN: FIU. The Golden Panthers are looking to build off their 8-5 in the C-USA last season under first year head coach Butch Davis. They’ll also take on Miami in three weeks (we all remember the last time they played each other). Meanwhile, IU is coming off a 5-7 campaign under their first year head coach Tom Allen. The Hoosiers will have a few chances to pull off some big upsets in their Big 10 later in the season. For this reason alone, FSU fans should be rooting for the Group of Five C-USA squad to win this game.
Cincinnati vs. UCLA, 7pm, ESPN: Cincinnati. Everyone will be watching to see some Chip Kelly magic in his first game as the head coach of the Bruins. Don’t expect too much, as the cupboard was left pretty bare. The inaugural season under the Kelly regime could be rough. Cincinnati also struggled last year, going 4-8 in their first year under head coach Luke Fickell in the American. Neither of these teams are likely to be much of a threat this season, but UCLA could play spoiler in the Pac 12 down the road. FSU fans should root for the Bearcats for this reason alone.
SF Austin vs. No. 18 Mississippi State, 7:30pm, ESPNU: SF Austin. Starting QB Nick Fitzgerald is suspended for this one. Mississippi State is starting the year ranked one spot ahead of FSU and they’re a trendy choice to contend for the SEC West. You know what would derail those hopes? A loss to the FCS Lumberjacks. FSU fans should root for SF Austin.
Charleston Southern vs. Florida, 7:30pm, SECN: Charleston Southern. If the latest rumors are correct, the Gators are struggling to sell 60,000 seats in the Swamp for their exciting home opener against Charleston Southern. You can feel the anticipation rising in Gator Nation as jorts and knock-off Jordans abound. Let’s get one thing straight: the Gators aren’t taking any unnecessary “L’s” as is evidenced by Dan Mullen’s “Relentess Effort” tweet below. Harvard of the South, baby.
Dan Mullen's Gators may give relentless effort on the field, but Florida's social media team may want to brush up on how to spell "relentless" pic.twitter.com/1KKwJJADL1— Sydney Hunte (@SHWrites) August 26, 2018
Middle Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt, 7:30pm, SECN: Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders play in the C-USA. Vanderbilt is in the SEC. Based on those conference affiliations alone, FSU fans should root for Middle Tennessee in this one. The Blue Raiders will go to Athens in two weeks.
No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 12 Notre Dame, 7:30pm, NBC: Notre Dame. Florida State plays Notre Dame later in the season, and the Fighting Irish are a pseudo-ACC member. FSU won’t face Michigan in the regular season, but Michigan will have plenty of potential future losses on its conference schedule facing the likes of Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State. Both teams are ranked ahead of FSU, but Michigan is ranked closer to the Seminoles. There would be little upside to rooting for a Notre Dame loss this early in the season except for emotional purposes. FSU fans should therefore pull for a Notre Dame win.
Akron vs. Nebraska, 8pm, FOX: Akron. The Cornhuskers’ favorite son Scott Frost makes his return against Terry Bowden and the MAC-member Akron Zips. It may take a couple years for Frost to get Nebraska turned around, but the Big 10 West could be ripe for the taking. No reason not to root for the Zips in this one.
Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama, 8pm, ABC: Louisville. This one could get really ugly really quick, but FSU fans should be watching this one. The Cardinals are a bit of an unknown and have a lot of questions beginning with Lamar Jackson’s replacement at QB, Jawon Pass. Unfortunately Alabama is not the ideal lab rat you want to open with in order to find that out. That being said, I guess theoretically it would help FSU’s resume to have a team in its division defeat the top ranked team in the country. Just don’t count on it.
UTSA vs. Arizona State, 10:30pm, FS1: UTSA. Let’s be honest: we all can’t wait to see if the weird Herm Edwards experiment works—or more likely, implodes. I personally couldn’t wait to see Herm’s bizarre post-game press conference antics after an opening game home upset against UT-San Antonio. Bring on the Pac 12 upset after dark.
BYU vs. Arizona, 10:45pm, ESPN: BYU. Kevin Sumlin takes over the Arizona program and should fit well, but the Wildcats are coming off a 7-6 season and aren’t necessarily a threat in Sumlin’s first year in Tuscon. Meanwhile, the independent BYU Cougars will have played Wisconsin and Washington by the end of September. It would be nice to see the Fighting Mormons take out one of those two teams ranked ahead of FSU. For those reasons, its advantageous for BYU to pull out this victory Saturday night.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU, 7:30pm, ABC: Miami. I know, I know. We’re not rooting for the Hurricanes. We’re rooting for Miami to be undefeated when FSU rolls into town in October. This unfortunate outcome is what’s best for FSU. Plus, I have serious reservations about Coach O surviving the full 2018 season in Baton Rouge. I think things could get ugly quick on the Bayou. It would do FSU a disservice to have Miami be upset in this one...but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be enjoyable to watch.