If Florida State is vying for a playoff spot come late November, its strength of schedule should be a big factor in its favor, at least according to the early predictors.
The Seminoles have the third toughest schedule in the nation according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Seminoles face five teams that could crack the preseason top 25 and two others that could be just outside the top 25. They face two SEC teams (Ole Miss and Florida) along with South Florida among their four non-conference games and the two teams that are expected to be the atop the ACC Coastal Division in their crossover games – Miami and North Carolina.
Still, Jimbo Fisher’s team is expected to be at least a preseason top 10 team, possibly top 5, with 17 returning starters.
The toughest opponent appears to be Clemson, also a likely preseason top 10. That game, along with Coastal Division champion North Carolina and rival Florida are at home.
But the Seminoles open the season with a neutral site game against Ole Miss (Orlando), two weeks later they travel to Louisville and after playing South Florida in Tampa, they host North Carolina before facing Miami in South Florida.
The FPI ranks FSU behind only Southern Cal and Ole Miss when it comes to the toughest schedules. It gives the Seminoles little more than a 10 percent chance of winning out and about a 44 percent chance of winning the ACC.
Clemson is the only other school with a double-digit chance of winning the conference at 31.2 percent.