Predicting the Perfect Schedule for FSU’s Football Season
Credit: Seminole Athletics

Predicting the Perfect Schedule for FSU’s Football Season

The ACC Will Release FSU’s 2022 Schedule on January 31st

Obviously, there’s no question that our schedule will be less-than-ideal for Florida State to rattle off sustained wins. But, that shouldn’t exclude us from dreaming, right? Let’s see how creative we can get.

Thought Process

We know four games that are already locked-in: Duquesne and LSU are our first two games to kick off the season, while Louisiana and UF rest at the end of the season. Because our first game is also a Week 0 matchup, FSU has the luxury of two bye weeks this season. I also account for the locked games for our regular-season opponents, so there are some constraints to how creative we can get.

The bye weeks should strategically be placed, to allow a reprieve from a tough gauntlet of games. Additionally, my thought process would be to place them after games that would be potential let down or trap games, as well as before tough opponents to allow a week of rest and two weeks to prep.

Finally, there should be a fair balance of away games nestled amongst the home games to minimize travel, account for weather, and optimize the gameday atmosphere for home games.

To Start

Duquesne is our Week 0 Home Game, already scheduled for August 27th, 2022. Then, we kick off Week 1 with a neutral site battle on Labor Day weekend against LSU in New Orleans.

The first question I asked myself was whether to allow for a bye week after the LSU game. After all, there could be the potential to shift the roster around to account for strengths and weaknesses identified against what should surely be considered a tough SEC opponent. Additionally, due to scheduling limitations, the only alternative to a bye week after the LSU game would be to schedule a home game against Clemson.

The two paths lend themselves either to a conservative outlook to maximize wins or a high risk/high reward outcome in 2022. I, personally, doubt that the ACC would schedule Clemson for Week 2. I also, personally, don’t think this is in FSU’s best interest. Yes, FSU could go 3-0 and seize an opportunity to control their own fate in the Atlantic after Week 2. But, even more likely, FSU will go 2-1 or even 1-2 in that scenario. In order to reach 7 wins minimum (my personal expectation that must be met in 2022), I believe the best path forward is conservative scheduling.

Week 0: Duquesne

Week 1: LSU

Week 2: BYE

Week 3 Limitations

When scouting ahead to our opponent’s schedules, I noticed immediately that FSU is extremely limited in whom they can have scheduled the entire month of September. September has the potential to set the tone for the entire season, and fan expectations. We want to avoid a 0-3 month, so we will go by week.

Week 3 limits us to two options: either a home game against Boston College or an away game against Louisville. Because we could potentially limit ourselves with multiple home games in a row, I felt it best to schedule Louisville for Week 3. We would have time to rest before a road game against an opponent that FSU should be able to beat this season. Additionally, Louisville would not have that same luxury and have played two games prior. It is early enough in the season where the weather at Louisville should be decent, and we limit the odds of any sort of cancellation due to hurricane season by heading inland.

Closing September

We are limited to three Week 4 home contests, either against Boston College, Wake Forest, or Clemson. It was here that I wrestled with myself for a moment in weighing the pros and cons of these opponents. I need an opponent that wouldn’t be a look-ahead game when facing Louisville. I also needed this game to be easy enough to be both winnable, and also help with sustained momentum in September. In this scenario, I’d expect FSU to either be 3-0, or 2-1.

Clemson is the banner bearer of the ACC, let alone the Atlantic division. While Dabo is vulnerable with both coordinators heading to other opportunities, his roster should still be the most talented in the conference. Wake Forest, meanwhile, won the Atlantic division in 2021 and is returning a lot of that production this season.

Boston College, being neither of the above and traveling to hot and humid Tallahassee in September is a perfect candidate to cap off September.

The Schedule So Far

Let’s take a look at our ideal schedule.

Week 0: Duquesne

Week 1: LSU

Week 2: BYE

Week 3: Louisville

Week 4: BC

So far, I’m definitely of the opinion we could actually see these teams in that exact arrangement. But, let’s see what we can do from here.

The goal, for me, is to have sustained success throughout the season, maintain momentum, and ultimately hit 7-5 at minimum. The next few opponents, therefore, need to build off the initial success of the weeks before and keep the fanbase and team energized through October.

Doak South

So, let’s consider striking Miami early.

Week 5 is the earliest we can hit them on the schedule. The game will be a road contest, but Miami is, frankly, just Doak South. To install a new system and have success with a less talented roster in 2022 than they had in 2021 (which lost to FSU, which has a more talented roster in 2022) is a lot to ask for a first-time coach. Sure, their schedule is ideal to build momentum, which should help their recruiting, but to keep ahead in-state, you must continue to win your rivalries and prove to the Seminole fanbase that the new coaches won’t be able to just oust Norvell after less than a year assuming their new gigs.

Also, there are Week 6 opponent limitations to account for. We’re going to be limited to Clemson or GT as home options, or NC State, Miami, or Syracuse as away options. You ideally would want to save Georgia Tech or Syracuse as an easy game before a tougher opponent. That remains a possibility, so you would want a “tougher” and/or rival opponent before one of those two games. The alternative would be to schedule Clemson, NC State, or Miami in Week 6. To consider any of these opponents, you would need to schedule an easier opponent for Week 5. Up for consideration would be GT or Syracuse. Since (spoiler alert) I plan on using the second BYE sometime in late October, for Week 7, ideally, you would want to have a tougher opponent before entering the BYE week.

In my eyes, the time is now to strike at Miami, schedule a weaker opponent afterward, and have a tougher opponent before entering a much-needed BYE.

Hear Me Out…

As I’ve set Miami for Week 5, I’m only considering GT or Syracuse. The Week 7 matchup is a consideration to make. This game will be a tough home game. Do I want to place a rival in for that tough home game (prompting a potential look-ahead situation) or should I go the route of the experienced, but less talented, divisional opponent? My gut tells me to stay conservative, and account for a winning formula. This means WF will be the Week 7 game.

If WF is the Week 7 game, we have a BYE week, and knowing that Week 9 will be limited to one of Clemson or GT at home or NC State away, I’d prefer to hold off again on GT in that scenario and use them before a tough Week 11 game of NC State or Clemson. I can tell you that I’d prefer the tougher opponent after a BYE.

The Perfect Schedule

Week 6, in the above thought process, would have to be Syracuse on the road. Then, Week 7 would be a home game against WF. FSU would then have a BYE week to buffer that game (no look-ahead games, and a more ideal path to sustained wins & success) and the matchup against Clemson in Week 9. After Clemson, FSU should have a very easy Week 10 game against GT, after which they can confidently look ahead to NC State in Week 11, as Week 12 would be a cake game in Louisiana. Week 13, to end the season, would of course be UF.

Week 0: Duquesne

Week 1: LSU

Week 2: BYE

Week 3: Louisville

Week 4: BC

Week 5: Miami

Week 6: Syracuse

Week 7: WF

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Clemson

Week 10: GT

Week 11: NC State

Week 12: Louisiana

Week 13: UF

The above is exclusively my personal opinion for the ideal Florida State football schedule for this 2022 season.  If I were in charge of scheduling I would be confident in FSU if I mapped it in this way.

Hopefully, you can see the logic and limitations in scheduling in the outline above. But let me know if you disagree, or would map things out differently. I’m happy to hear constructive criticism!

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-Ed Kennedy