TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With games against both national finalists, as well as a meeting with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, the Florida State football team already knew that its 2017 schedule would be among the toughest in the nation.
On Tuesday, the Seminoles learned exactly how that schedule falls on the calendar. Including contests against powerhouses Alabama and Clemson, FSU will face eight teams that went to bowl games last season.
The Seminoles will also open and close their ACC slate against their two biggest conference rivals, head north for a Friday-night game and, as usual, wrap up the regular season in Gainesville, Fla.
Here are the highlights:
All eyes on Atlanta
Eighteen months after it was first announced, Florida State and Alabama will meet at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in what will be one of the most anticipated regular-season contests in recent history. The Seminoles and Crimson Tide (14-1 in 2016) will christen Atlanta’s state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 2 in a game that will immediately shape the College Football Playoff race. FSU’s first appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will also mark the first time that FSU’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban meet as head coaches. (Fisher coached against and the Crimson Tide as FSU’s offensive coordinator in 2007.) Since Fisher took over at FSU in 2010, he and Saban are the two winningest coaches in college football: Fisher’s 78 wins are second only to Saban’s 86.
Extended home stand
Following their trip to Atlanta, the Seminoles will head back to Tallahassee, where they will enjoy their first three-game home stand since 2012. FSU begins its home slate on Sept. 9, when it hosts Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Monroe (4-8 in 2016) at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU beat ULM, 34-0, on Sept. 3, 2011, the only previous meeting between the two.
From there, the Seminoles embark on back-to-back ACC games against Miami (9-4) and North Carolina State (7-6) – teams that provided FSU with two of its most dramatic victories in 2016.
FSU opens its conference schedule against the Hurricanes for the first time since 2009. The game also marks the earliest meeting between the Noles and Canes in a non-season opener since Sept. 16, 1972. Miami will be breaking in a new quarterback, as Brad Kaaya, the school’s all-time leading passer, declared for the NFL draft following the 2016 season.
Another ACC Atlantic test awaits in Week 4, as the NC State Wolfpack visits Tallahassee on Military Appreciation Day. Despite its 7-6 record, NC State finished the 2016 season with wins in three of its last four games. That includes a victory over Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl.
Tour through the Old North State
The Seminoles will play back-to-back road games just once, and even that comes with a welcome bye week in between.
FSU’s first true road game will take place at Wake Forest (7-6 in 2016), where the Seminoles will visit a Demon Deacons team coming off its first bowl win in five years.
Then, following an open date on Oct. 7, […]