First a couple general thoughts on the overall schedule from the standpoint of a fan attending the games – GREAT SCHEDULE! There is only one back-to-back trip to Tallahassee which is nice considering that upwards of 60-70% of our fan base travels a considerable distance to come to games. I’ve made the trek to Tallahassee from Birmingham, Alabama (which is about the same drive as someone coming in from central Florida from the Orlando/Tampa area) on back-to-back weeks countless number of times. While I do it because I love my Noles and the experience of being at the game, it’s not exactly fun and can really wear you out. So, having the schedule spread out like it is will be a nice break for fans travelling to all the home games. Next on the fans reasons for liking the schedule – only two September home games. The September sun in Tallahassee can be absolutely brutal and while we like that as home field advantage against teams that can’t handle the heat, it’s also brutal on the fans in the stands. Go back just a few years to the 2012 season and we had four straight home games, all in September. Lastly, the “big 3″ home games of Clemson, Notre Dame, and Florida are spread out through the season with one each in September, October, and November.
Switching gears now, from a competitive standpoint this is a very favorable schedule as well. After opening with a competitive game in Dallas against Oklahoma State, Florida State gets The Citadel and a bye week before Clemson comes to town in what most likely will be a game for the Atlantic division again. A turnaround to NC State on the road could be tricky, but hopefully FSU will overcome the demons of Carter-Finley Stadium. Carter-Finley has not been kind to FSU lately and is a more difficult place to play at night, but hopefully the Noles can draw a day game there, something that hasn’t happened since the 2002 season.
October opens at home when the Noles draw very winnable games against Wake Forest and then at Syracuse on consecutive weekends for the second straight year. That’s followed by the big home game against Notre Dame. Whether or not the Irish are improved in 2014, this will be a big time name game. The Noles then catch their second break of the season with a bye week before a Thursday night trip to Louisville. Thankfully, it looks as if the ACC is really doing a better job giving teams the off week before the Thursday games to avoid the short 5-day turnaround.
November should be a fun one with all four games in the state of Florida – three home and one neutral site game in Miami. Virginia comes back on the schedule to begin the month and should be a runaway game for the Noles. The annual rivalry with Miami comes next with the Noles traveling to Doak South in front of a ton of south Florida Noles. FSU hasn’t lost in Miami since 2004, something that was unthinkable a few decades ago. The season ends with Boston College and Florida coming to town on back-to-back weeks. Boston College will be interesting because Steve Addazio was doing good things in Chestnut Hill this season, but they lose a ton on offense including their quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. The game with Florida is always a big one and there is really no telling where the Gators will be late in the year in 2014.
In summary, this is a schedule that is about as good as Florida State fans could ask for both from a spectator perspective and from a competitive standpoint. What begins in Dallas hopefully ends in Dallas in 2014.