Was Florida State’s schedule tougher than it is given credit for?


There’s a narrative going around that Florida State’s schedule puts them at a disadvantage when they play the Auburn Tigers on January 6th. This is obviously a laughable reason to say Auburn will win the game. The Tigers may yet defeat the Seminoles, but that won’t be be why.

One only has to look at Florida State during their amazing run of top 5 finishing seasons from 1987 – 2000. Florida State joined the ACC in 1992, and during that run the Noles ACC schedule was questioned just the same as it was then.

There’s even an SEC example. Kentucky’s 2011 basketball team that won the national title played exactly 1 ranked SEC team (Florida) during their entire SEC schedule of games, and had just 2 teams make it to the 2nd weekend of the NCAA tournament.

That didn’t stop FSU from winning 2 National Titles and going 6-3 in major bowl games from 1992 – 2000 seasons.

I will grant you that Auburn played a tougher top to bottom schedule than Florida State. I don’t think anyone would argue other wise.

That said it was Florida State’s pure dominance that at times made it’s schedule look far weaker than it really was. I’ve seen FSU play in person twice, and they are just simply a special team. Let’s take a look at a schedule that some are questioning…

Game 1 – Florida State 41 Pittsburgh 13

Florida State manhandled a Pitt team on the road that beat Notre Dame in Heinz Field. Before you dismiss Notre Dame, the Irish beat Michigan St, Arizona St, USC (post Lane Kiffin) and BYU.  It was Pittsburgh’s worst loss of the year. Oh and Pittsburgh featured the nation’s most celebrated defensive player in Aaron Donald. Pitt is a Bowl Team.

Game 2 – Florida State 62 Nevada 7

Nevada wasn’t good, but it was Nevada worst loss of the year.

Game 3 – Florida State 54 Bethune-Cookman 6

FBS schools were beating FCS schools left and right this season, and FSU beat a 10-3 one without breaking a sweat. Nothing to hang your hat on certainly, but still sometimes a good FBS school can throw a scare into a FCS school. It didn’t happen here.

Game 4 – Florida State 48 Boston College 34

This was FSU’s toughest game of the year. Still it was a 2 TD win over a team that had a Heisman finalist and the country’s leading rusher in Andre Williams. It was Boston College’s only loss of the year at home.  BC is a Bowl team.

Game 5 – Florida State 63 Maryland 0

That was the first indication FSU could be scary good. Maryland came in 4-0 and ranked with a 37-0 win over West Virginia team that a week later that loss defeated Oklahoma St. Maryland was ranked at the team, and despite a slew of injuries to some of their best players like Stephon Diggs made a bowl game. Maryland’s worst loss of the year.

Game 6 – Florida State 51 Clemson 14

The signature win of FSU’s season. The Noles went into Death Valley and destroyed  a Clemson team, that was good enough to beat a healthy top 5 Georgia team. This was a Tiger team that had plenty of players that defeated a top 10 LSU team in the Chick Fil A bowl. The Tigers haven’t lost to anyone else in the ACC in 2 years. The Tigers have more than proved themselves as a legit top 15 team, and Florida State toyed with them. Clemson is a BCS Team.

Game 7 – Florida State 49 NC State 17

Ok NC State was awful this year, but this was a NC State team that didn’t lose another game by more than 20 points. This one was 35-0 at the end of the 1st quarter!

Game 8 – Florida State 41 Miami 14

Miami probably came in overrated as a top 10 team team, but still FSU yet again gave another team it’s worst loss of the year. The Canes finished the year a solid 9-3, and defeated a Florida team that was ranked in the top 10 when they played. You have to remember that Florida started the year 4-1 and rwas anked through most of October until their season went south. Miami is a bowl team.

Game 9 – Florida State 59 Wake Forest 3

Wake Forest struggled  this season, but they still took a 9 win SEC team – Vanderbilt to the final minutes. Does this sound familiar? Worst loss of season for Wake Forest.

Game 10 – Florida State 59 Syracuse 3

Alright alright Syracuse also lost 56-0 to Georgia Tech, so FSU only tied for worst defeat of the Orange, but look a little deeper. This Syracuse team was just a year removed from winning AT this year’s SEC East champ Missouri, beating Louisville, and defeating West Virginia in a bowl game. This year they won at Maryland beat Boston College, and beat a bowl team in Tulane. Ok it’s not like beating Alabama, but the Orange had some credible wins the last two years.

Game 11 – Florida State 80 Idaho 14

Ok Idaho was awful… they were 1-11, but it was their worst loss of the year.

Game 12- Florida State 37 Florida 7

The Gators were pretty bad this season, but they still have those SEC type athletes we hear so much about. The Georgia Southern loss was inexcusable, but this Gator team lost by 11 to LSU, 3 to Georgia, 5 to South Carolina, and by 30 to Florida State in the Swamp. It was the most points the country’s 10th ranked defense gave up all year, and the Noles had over 100 yards more than the Gators defensive average. Florida’s offense was a trainwreck, but the defense was statistically the SEC’s 2nd best after Alabama.

Worst loss of season for Florida.

Just so you know Auburn is ranked 88th in total defense.

Game 13 – Florida State 45 Duke 7

Florida State was a physical mis-match for Duke, but this was still the best Duke team in history. Ranked in top 25 and 10-2, the Blue Devils fielded a quality team that had won 8 games in a row. Worst loss of the year for Duke.

My point is not suggest that Florida State played an impossible schedule. They didn’t. The SEC and Pac 12 were better than the ACC this year. No doubt about it…

What I am saying is that FSU played 8 bowls teams, and gave every team they played their worst loss of the season but one. There were  teams that had wins over the likes Georgia, Notre Dame, LSU, Missouri, Florida, Auburn, and West Virginia the last 2 years.

There was a team  that had the nation’s top defensive player and another that had a 2000 yard rusher. Another team that had a top 10 SEC defense. If Miami beats Louisville, then the Noles would have beat three 10 win teams this year.

So before you completely dismiss FSU’s schedule, do your Homework. It was tougher than it was given credit for. The Seminoles just happened to destroy everything in their path on their way to the BCS Title game.

Thankfully FSU will have their chance to prove their worth on the field against the Auburn Tiger, and I think they will do just that.

 Become a fan of the ACC on Facebook and follow the ACC on Twitter


  1. Hokie Mark says:

    I agree completely. The bowl victories by Pitt and Cuse simply enhance your points here. The ACC was vastly improved this season, and FSU went undefeated anyway.

  2. Jfann says:

    Indeed… The ACC has to claw it way to respectability, but little by little it’s happening and has been slowly the last 3 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>