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Discussing Florida State’s updated 2020 schedule

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The schedule is out and it’s a tough one.

Florida v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Atlantic Coast Conference released their plans for the updated 2020 Florida State Seminoles football season. The conference made the decision to move to a “10+1” format in order to better comply with COVID-19 concerns.

The announcement revealed that Florida State will now have a home slate of the Clemson Tigers, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Pitt Panthers, and the Virginia Cavaliers. On the flip side, FSU will visit the Duke Blue Devils, the Louisville Cardinals, the Miami Hurricanes, the North Carolina State Wolfpack, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The staff at Tomahawk Nation have strong thoughts about the release. We go back to the roundtable to break it down.

Let’s just jump right to the elephant in the room. Does FSU have the toughest ACC slate of opponents?

NoleThruandThru: Yes. No one got screwed worse than FSU in this slate. Thanks, Swofford! And before anyone comes at us with the geographic argument, Tallahassee to South Bend is 919 miles away. Tallahassee to Wake Forest is 629 miles away, and Tallahassee to Blacksburg is 618 miles away. None of the NC triangle teams play Clemson. This ain’t based on geography alone, folks.


Taking off WF to make FSU travel to Notre Dame is just silly.

TimScribble: I am honestly not sure how Florida State could have received a tougher draw. They are playing the two toughest Atlantic teams in Clemson and Louisville. They have the two best Coastal teams in UNC and Miami. And they also have Notre Dame.

Evan: It could have been worse. FSU dodges Virginia Tech and the ‘85 Bears.

ricobert1: Is this a prank?

Perry: I mean, Virginia Cavaliers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons both have pretty gross schedules themselves — Virginia has to go on the road to Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami while Wake Forest just gets absolutely front-loaded. I’ll say it this way: FSU got possibly the worst slate of opponents it could’ve gotten while trying to build back up momentum and confidence.

CoachAB: Hands down! I hear others saying “stop whining and be happy there’s football.” Well my response is NO! It is ridiculous that the conference would dump this schedule on a year 0 coach.

Can I add that potentially adding UF at the end is also idiotic? This is a season where wins are going to really help you rebuild your brand. This whole “we have to play Florida” mindset is silly. Give me another winnable game because 7-4 sells a lot better to recruits then 6-5 does.

Matt: I’m not sure we can actually tell. Who knows how prepared teams will be or how much improvement their players will have made. On paper, under normal circumstances, I’d say Wake has the hardest schedule, with FSU being second or third hardest. In reality, it all looks like a crapshoot, except for UNC, which seems to have a much easier schedule than the rest.

What games do you believe are Florida State’s “guaranteed” wins?

TimScribble: Georgia Tech and NC State, that’s the list.

Lastnoleofkrypton: Duke, Tech, NC State, UVA, Pitt.

Evan: This is 2020. Nothing but pain is guaranteed. With so much uncertainty on what teams will have available, the number of practices they have and how those practices are conducted makes things pretty questionable. Oh wait, they’ll destroy Clemson.

Perry: Virginia, Georgia Tech and NC State.

NoleThruandThru: Guaranteed, I’d guess NC State and Georgia Tech only, but you could also make an argument for Duke, Virginia, and maybe Pitt if their DL starters sit out the season.

ricobert1: This is a prank.

CoachAB: Virginia, GT, and NC State I think are as close to locks as this schedule presents.

Matt: GT and NC State, with UVA and Duke being close.

What ACC team ended up with the easiest schedule of opponents?

TimScribble: Louisville. The Cardinals are not playing Clemson this year. They also have games against Syracuse, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. The Cardinals should go 4-0 against those opponents.

NoleThruandThru: Louisville fans should be rejoicing right now. UNC and NC State also got off fairly easy, shocker right? Swofford-ed.

ricobert1: seriously guys stop messing with me

LastNoleOfKrypton: The ACC felt bad for Louisville after what Ham and the boys did to them this past winter.

Evan: Yeah, Louisville seems about right followed by UNC. Hey, you know what’s curious? All the triangle teams dodged Clemson. Weird coincidence...

Perry: I’m going to go Duke here, actually. They get to avoid Clemson and Miami, get FSU at home and, as far as scary games go, only have Notre Dame and North Carolina.

Matt: UNC. Their toughest opponent by far is Notre Dame, and that game is at home. NC State, Cuse, BC, and Wake might be the four worst teams in the league and they play them all. No Clemson, no Louisville, no Pitt (who’s I think will be stout this season), and they can’t play themselves.

With the announcement of the new schedule, it was also announced that the money from Notre Dame’s NBC TV rights would be shared among all teams. Should this only be shared with the teams playing Notre Dame or the entire conference?

NoleThruandThru: All I’m gonna say is that it’s amazing how ND bent Swofford over on this. Kudos to the Irish.

Lastnoleofkrypton: Swofford giving out one last hurrah of incompetence on his way out the door; good riddance.

Evan: Since FSU is playing Notre Dame I’d like to only see teams playing Notre Dame get the money but it makes more sense to split it among the entire conference. Whether FSU and Clemson fans like it or not we’re all in this together.

Perry: Redistribute the wealth baby — we’re all passing around that Notre Dame gold and feasting like we just jumped the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

ricobert1: haha I knew this was a prank, ND is not even a member of the ACC

CoachAB: ^^ I like this guy

Matt: Should be shared with the whole league. We share bowl revenue with the whole league, even though some teams don’t make bowls. We share NCAA Tournament revenue with the whole league, even though some teams don’t make that. Don’t see why this would be any different. And as an aside, I’m really excited to have the Irish in this set up and expect it will accelerate the process of them eventually joining the league in full.

The ACC is dropping the divisions for this season and instead having the teams with the two best records play in the conference championship. Should the ACC keep this model going forward?

NoleThruandThru: I’m fine with keeping two divisions but they should redistribute the teams based on geography now that COVID may mean a new normal for travel. I’d say move BC and Syracuse into the Coastal and GT and Miami into the Atlantic, and rename them North and South divisions.

Lastnoleofkrypton: Everything he said^^^

ricobert1: ...guys...

CoachAB: Can we join the Big12? Pac12 open? But I like Evans pods idea...

Evan: Pods, son!

Matt: Just go read that article Evan linked.

Does playing this season hurt or help Coach Mike Norvell? Should fans root against a season at this point?

Evan: Fans should not root against the season. Recruits see games and if FSU can be competitive it’s progress from last year regardless of the record. I think the most important thing is for coaches to get out there and build relationships. If the season happens they’ll at the very minimum have their face on TV and be more recognizable. It’s certainly not an ideal scenario but any football will be better than no football for FSU.

NoleThruandThru: You can only fully sell recruits on your vision and product by playing the games and showing that it’s translating to the field. I hate this conference slate for FSU because the games in which FSU could’ve really showcased its new schemes against lesser competition (Samford, BC, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and West Virginia) have been scrapped or replaced by tougher opponents (UNC and Notre Dame). This is a worst-case schedule for a new coaching staff trying to show recruits that the culture and schemes are changing successfully. Norvell’s job just got a hell of a lot harder if football is played this season.

Lastnoleofkrypton: This really sucks for Norvell because behind the scenes you can kind of tell that folks are chomping at the bit to buy back in but most want to see FSU look competent and win games against; which is a reasonable position to be in.

Covid and the incompetent ACC taking away three wins and adding possibly/likely three losses is a sucker punch to the face.

Perry: This is me getting on my millenial soapbox here, but rooting against a season for something selfish like wins (instead of like, to prevent subjecting college kids to doing something for free what others are getting paid millions to do) seems a bit off. Norvell has shown an ability to traverse adversity over the last few months, both in situations out of and in his control. Having a valiant, impressive showing on a schedule in what amounts to a Year -1 would raise up not just the profile and momentum of the program, but instill a bit of confidence and drive that’s been missing in the overall team ethos.

ricobert1: [smoking a cigarette nervously, rocking, mumbling soothing words to self, unblinkingly]

CoachAB: Kids want to see progress inside and outside of the program. What does progress look like? Is that wins or being able to line up right? We will see but in no way, shape, or form does this schedule help. Does it ensure failure? No, but this makes it more like year -1 than year 0.

Matt: Why would any self-respecting college football fan ever root against a season from happening?

If you had your choice, what would have been the perfect schedule for Florida State?

TimScribble: I would have been fine with having Florida State mostly play a “local” schedule. Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Miami, Duke, Wake Forest, Louisville, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. That is a possible 7-3 or 6-4 record plus the non-conference game.

NoleThruandThru: ACC games against BC, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Duke, NC State, Miami, and one of Notre Dame/UNC/Virginia Tech would’ve been ideal. A couple games where you’re a big underdog and can benchmark against the conference’s best, a handful of games that could go either way, and half the schedule against teams you should absolutely beat. But we all know Swofford would NEVER allow that to happen!

Perry: I really, truly do not care about playing anybody in this conference, so if I had the choice, I’m running a full Florida team gauntlet featuring everybody in the state. If we’re playing by the rules, FSU would have games against Miami, the Tech twins, Virginia, Duke, NC State, Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Pitt, with West Virginia as the non-conference pick. (Scared money don’t make money, and FSU is going to need plenty of money.)

Lastnoleofkrypton: There is absolutely no reason why FSU should be playing a football game in the state of Indiana if this is about minimizing risk for the athletes. An ten-game slate of UNC, NCST, WF, UM, Duke, GTech, Clemson, UVA, VT, & UF for OOC is perfection to me but FSU can’t have nice things.

Evan: I’d like to have seen pods. Sorry to hammer home the point but the ACC is dropping the ball by not trying something a bit more off the wall out. If that couldn’t happen then I would have like to have seen FSU play it’s division mates and then add a few Coastal teams. Why FSU is not playing Wake Forest and BC is beyond me. No matter how easy or difficult those teams might be maintaining that yearly game lends more credence to the divisions, that nobody can remember the names of, mean something. Maybe BC gives FSU COVID and now there’s a rivalry? Or maybe FSU gets few more games they’re likely to win? Please?

ricobert1: Life is a vapor, strewn as mists of time; falling carelessly, effortlessly, flowing onward, infinitely. This is our emptiness, our abode, our trek through a universe that never should have remembered itself.

CoachAB: Give me what is there but replace UNC with Wake or BC and don’t pick Florida up as your plus 1. That’s how close this is to not being that bad. Sad part is we have no clue what teams will look like week to week. How many Miami kids are going to sit out? Lawrence playing for Clemson?

Matt: I would have liked to have kept the West Virginia game because it would have been a likely win on the national stage, while also giving us a nice chunk of change. I was also looking forward to a long-awaited trip west to Boise, but such is life. As for the conference games, I’m good. Maybe a one-year break from Clemson would have been ideal, but there was no way the league would lose out on a game between Clemson and FSU.

Now that we have that out of our system, let us know your thoughts. Did the ACC make this an impossible first season success for Coach Norvell and the Florida State Seminoles?