By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001
SATURDAY AT DUKE: If you have to go with a QB who never has thrown a collegiate pass and you're breaking in newcomers almost everywhere, there might not be a better place to survive the inevitable miscues than Duke. One small step for Chris Rix.
SEPT. 8 VS. ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM: The Blazers went into Baton Rouge last season, shut down the run and beat LSU 13-10. Bobby Bowden started studying UAB tape in July, but his youthful team has only two things in common with that LSU bunch -- the S and the U.
SEPT. 15 VS. GEORGIA TECH: Last year in this game, Yellow Jackets QB George Godsey, the former Jesuit star, nearly engineered the upset and emerged as the unquestioned leader of his team. This year's game might just solidify FSU's QB situation and, if the Seminoles win, it could set the tone for the season.
SEPT. 22 AT NORTH CAROLINA: New Tar Heels coach John Bunting, a longtime NFL assistant, talked about building a new attitude. But if form holds and the Heels lose badly to Oklahoma and Texas, their 'tude about this day might be the unavoidable, "same old, same old." UNC is 0-11-1 against FSU.
SEPT. 29 VS. WAKE FOREST: Some folks point out the Demon Deacons have given FSU fits, at least for a half, in recent years. But FSU generally has played Wake before a BIG game -- the Gators three of the past four years. Big shock. FSU purposely has been vanilla against Wake.
OCT. 13 VS. MIAMI: FSU's five-game winning streak against the 'Canes ended in a dramatic, last-second loss last season. It nearly cost FSU a title shot. It should have if you asked Miami. The implications should be as huge again. FSU has to hope Rix plays as flawlessly and brilliantly as an inexperienced Ken Dorsey did last year for the 'Canes vs. FSU and that this one doesn't come down to a FG. Again.
OCT. 20 AT VIRGINIA: Perhaps the greatest victory for the Cavaliers at Scott Stadium came against FSU in November 1995, the Seminoles' first loss to an ACC team. Don't look for history to repeat. The Seminoles will either be brimming with confidence after the Miami game or seething to get back on track. Al Groh will be missing the Jets and maybe even the vitriolic New York media afterward.
OCT. 27 VS. MARYLAND: As offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, Ralph Friedgen's innovative strategies kept FSU's star-studded defense off-balance the past couple of years. But he doesn't have a Joe Hamilton or Godsey at QB or a Dez White or Kelly Campbell at WR.
NOV. 3 AT CLEMSON: FSU historically has struggled in Death Valley. The Seminoles rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit to nip Tommy Bowden's Tigers 17-14 in 1999. That year, FSU had perhaps the most dazzling player in the nation, WR/PR Peter Warrick. This year, the Tigers might have that difference-maker, QB Woodrow Dantzler. A BCS berth figures to be at stake for both teams.
NOV. 10 VS. NORTH CAROLINA STATE: Longtime FSU defensive assistant Chuck Amato did a remarkable job at his alma mater in his first year. But his defense allowed 28 ppg, including 58 to FSU. Unless the Wolfpack's youthful defense blossoms, the outcome might not be a whole lot different.
NOV. 17 AT FLORIDA: The Seminoles have won three straight in this series. Each W propelled FSU into the BCS finale and eliminated the Gators from that game. The Gators' last win came in Gainesville in '97 with Steve Spurrier alternating QBs Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise on every play.
-- Compiled by Brian Landman.
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