Looking forward to real, live football, NoleNation takes a run through Florida State’s 2012 schedule, going game-by-game to find the best storylines and matchups of the upcoming season.
Savannah State Tigers
Saturday, Sept. 8: 6 p.m., Doak Campbell Stadium
2011 record: 1-10 (1-7 MEAC)
Coach: Steve Davenport (1-10, second season)
Series record: first meeting
Players to watch: Antonio Bostick (QB, Jr.) threw for 755 yards and had six total touchdowns; John Wilson (S, Jr.) made 60 tackles last season; Terrence Williams (DL, Sr.) had 46 tackles, including four for a loss.
Where's West Virginia? This spot on the schedule was supposed to be filled by the Mountaineers until the newest Big 12 school pulled out of the game in February, leaving Florida State scrambling for an opponent. They landed on lowly Savannah State, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for Florida State, which has at least one non-conference loss in September in each of the past three seasons. The flip side, however, is that, in the BCS era, no national champion has played two FCS teams, as the Seminoles will this year.
How ugly will it get? Savannah State has a 10-44 record during the past five seasons, and none of those games were played against a BCS conference foe, let alone one ranked nationally. So this one should be a blowout.
Who gets to play? Odds are, the starters will be relaxing comfortably on the sidelines early in the third quarter -- perhaps sooner -- so the big reason to stick around into the second half is to see how much playing time the kids will get and what they'll do with the snaps. The chance to see Jacob Coker hook up with Marvin Bracy on a long touchdown should keep a few extra fans in their seats long after the game is locked up.
Fun fact: Former child actor Tahj Mowry, who starred in such shows as "Smart Guy" and "Full House," played football at Savannah State for one season in 2004.
Key matchup: Savannah State finished last in the MEAC in total offense and total defense last year, so it's hard to see the Tigers giving Florida State much trouble in any area. But if these early games are largely about testing FSU's fundamentals, it's worth noting that Savannah State finished first in the MEAC in kickoff-return yards a year ago and second in punt return yards. It should be a decent chance to see how the FSU special teams hold up.
Savannah State will win if: This was all an elaborate ruse by West Virginia, who shows up to the game anyway wearing Savannah State uniforms.
Noles will win if: Nobody is seriously injured. Well, they'll win the game either way -- the only question being how lopsided the final score will be. But as the ACC slate begins the following week, the real test for FSU will be to come out of the game unscathed and at full strength for what lies ahead.