Monday, October 22, 2018
FSU Seminoles

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  

A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU plays at Boise in 2020) five years ago. It looks like a risky move for the Seminoles, but I think it's a good one.

Some of the risks are obvious. Boise State is a very successful program. Just ask Virginia Tech (which lost  to the Broncos in 2010), Georgia (which lost to them in 2011) or Washington (which lost to them in 2015). FSU could be the next big-name program Boise slays.

Some of the risks are a little more nuanced, like this one: All 16 College Football Playoff participants have played at least one Power Five non-conference opponent. Boise doesn't fit that bill.

RELATED: College football's new motto: Go big early, or stay home late

FSU will still have one marquee Power Five non-conference opponent on its schedule (rival Florida). But the four ACC teams that have made the Playoff all had at least two of those games. If the ACC regresses and Boise is mediocre, FSU risks having a weak schedule that could hurt its ultimate goal of making the Playoff.

The gamble is worth taking, though, because you need to do more than schedule tough opponents to make the final four. You need to beat them.

Of the 16 Playoff participants so far, 15 of them beat their Power Five non-conference opponent (Ohio State losing to Virginia Tech in 2014 is the exception). Playing Oklahoma didn't help the Buckeyes get in last year. Why? Because they lost to the Sooners and got crushed by Iowa. No two-loss team has made the Playoff yet.

Even though Boise State isn't in a Power Five conference, it provides the opportunity for FSU to play, and beat, a tough opponent. The Broncos are a respected program. The selection committee looks at top-25 wins; the Broncos finished 25th last year in its final rankings, ahead of 10 ACC schools and FSU's marquee opponent in 2020 (West Virginia). The committee might undervalue Group of Five programs — right, UCF fans? — but it doesn't completely dismiss them, either. Beat a good Boise team, and you'll get respect from pollsters and the committee.

And despite Boise's history of upsets, FSU should beat Boise. The Seminoles will have more talent. More talent doesn't always win, but it usually does. The talent gap between FSU and Boise is bigger than the gap between, say, FSU and Ole Miss (its 2016 opening opponent) or FSU and LSU (who opens against Miami this year). That means Boise seems more winnable than other big-name opponents, but the Broncos are still a recognized name that would boost FSU's strength of schedule.

I'm not going to make predictions about a game that's more than 15 months away, or about FSU's 2019 season before it plays this fall. But the soon-to-be-official Jacksonville game against Boise State gives the Seminoles a respected non-conference opponent it should be favored to beat in a talent-rich recruiting area full of FSU fans and boosters. Seems like a good idea to me.

Comments
Florida State climbing under Willie Taggart, but ĎNoles still have a long way to go

Florida State climbing under Willie Taggart, but ĎNoles still have a long way to go

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's 38-17 comeback win over Wake Forest on Saturday was a nice way to start the second half of coach Willie Taggart's inaugural season.It was certainly better than how the first half went — with a 21-point home d...
Published: 10/20/18
FSU journal: Tackle for loss becomes moment to reflect

FSU journal: Tackle for loss becomes moment to reflect

TALLAHASSEE — Less than two weeks after Hurricane Michael destroyed his Panama City home, Florida State LB Janarius Robinson was just happy to be back on the field and able to contribute.He did more than that Saturday.Robinson recorded a career...
Published: 10/20/18
Matt Bakerís takeaways from Florida State-Wake Forest

Matt Bakerís takeaways from Florida State-Wake Forest

The best moment of the game was when LB Janarius Robinson corralled Wake Forest's Jamie Newman for a 6-yard loss, then took a knee after the play. It was his first big play since Hurricane Matthew destroyed his family's Panama City home.RELATED: ...
Published: 10/20/18
UConn is just awful, a positive at FSU and more state college football nuggets

UConn is just awful, a positive at FSU and more state college football nuggets

FSU bright spotAs rough as Florida State's 3-3 start has been, its run defense has been one of the best in the nation. The Seminoles are seventh nationally in yards per rush allowed (2.76) and held Northern Illinois to only six yards — the best...
Published: 10/19/18
College football Week 8 viewing guide

College football Week 8 viewing guide

Lamest time window: Late. The marquee games are spread out well, but the primetime spot will have the fewest national implications.Noon: Can Jim Harbaugh start reversing his 1-5 record against rivals when No. 6 Michigan travels to No. 24 Michigan Sta...
Published: 10/19/18
Florida State football midseason review: Seminolesí bowl streak in jeopardy

Florida State football midseason review: Seminolesí bowl streak in jeopardy

Few teams in the country have been as disappointing as Florida State.The Seminoles started the year in the top 20, with a loaded running backs corps and a new coach (Willie Taggart) known for offensive fireworks.Midway through the Year 1 of the Tagga...
Published: 10/16/18
How Florida State responds after Hurricane Michael will decide its season

How Florida State responds after Hurricane Michael will decide its season

For the second year in a row, Florida State is having to deal with the football fallout from a devastating hurricane.The Seminoles' failure to respond properly from Hurricane Irma helped lead to their lost 2017 season. How they handle the aftermath o...
Published: 10/15/18
Florida State offers Deion Sandersí son, 2019 recruit Shilo

Florida State offers Deion Sandersí son, 2019 recruit Shilo

Florida State is making some progress on the recruiting trail during its open date, including an offer to a notable legacy prospect.Shilo Sanders — the son of FSU and NFL legend Deion Sanders — announced Wednesday that the Semin...
Published: 10/10/18
How 2018 Alabama football compares to Florida Stateís 2013 title team

How 2018 Alabama football compares to Florida Stateís 2013 title team

As college football writers continue to search for new ways to describe No. 1 Alabama's dominance, a tweet from Warchant's Ira Schoffel caught my attention:2013 FSU was the best team I’ve ever covered and maybe the best I’ve ever seen. Th...
Published: 10/09/18
Matt Bakerís takeaways from Miami-FSU

Matt Bakerís takeaways from Miami-FSU

Finally healthy, LB DeCalon Brooks is starting to have a big impact for Florida State. The Gaither High alumnus earned ACC linebacker of the week honors last week with two tackles for a loss, and he forced a fumble and added a key fumble recovery Sat...
Updated one month ago