With Florida State opening against Alabama, Florida opening against Michigan and the ACC media picking Miami to finally win the Coastal Division, it’s chest-thumping time in the Sunshine State.
Here is the only summertime reminder you are likely to get that the season is long and the stumbling blocks are many.
Yes, we are talking about the trap games on everybody’s schedule. The potential for a little humiliation to go with all that hubris. The loss nobody saw coming, except maybe for the head coach, who worries too much anyway.
Here are my choices for that watch-your-step moment with each program. See if you agree.
Florida State – The Seminoles have a seven-game win streak against Boston College and they crushed the Eagles 45-7 last year so no problem, right?
Well, actually there are a few reasons to sweat this Oct. 27 test.
First, Boston College immediately follows Louisville on FSU’s schedule. It was Louisville that crushed FSU 63-20 last season at a time when the Seminoles were No. 2 in the polls, so the rematch is kind of a big deal.
Second, the BC game is on a Friday night, which is as flukey as it gets, and on the road, where there never, ever is a cruise-control setting.
Third, the Seminoles’ last trip to Alumni Stadium was a bruising, 14-0 FSU victory on a Friday night in 2015, and the score was a much scarier 7-0 until a fourth-quarter fumble return for a touchdown.
FSU should beat Boston College every time but there are no absolutes in college football, except maybe that Jimbo Fisher will always have a good quarterback.
Florida – The Gators have won 30 in a row over Kentucky, and that’s the longest active streak in major college football. Problem is, some of those recent wins have been real squeakers.
Like 14-9 in Jim McElwain’s first trip to Lexington in 2015. Like a wild, triple-overtime escape for the Gators at the Swamp in 2014.
Florida should beat Kentucky on Sept. 23 at what they’re calling Kroger Field up there now, but there are no absolutes in college football, except maybe that until and unless the Gators develop a quarterback, they could lose a game anywhere to anybody.
Miami – I’m looking at Toledo on Sept. 23 at Hard Rock Stadium for the simple reason that no one else is.
Everybody’s staring straight at FSU the previous Saturday and maybe investing a little early-season anxiety in that Sept. 9 trip to Arkansas State, with its cute 30,000-seat stadium and the utterly insane opportunity for a Sun Belt team to build an instant reputation by testing or upsetting Miami.
Well, let it be known that Toledo beat Arkansas State 31-10 last season in that same little stadium. And that Toledo played great in a game at BYU last year before losing 55-53 on a field goal as time expired. And that the Rockets’ Logan Woodside led the nation in touchdown passes last year, including five in that BYU game. And that Nick Saban once was the head coach at Toledo, which surely counts for something.
Miami should beat Toledo every time, but there are no absolutes in college football, except maybe that teams with FSU and Notre Dame on their schedule are going to have a milder reaction to a MAC matchup.
That’s all for now, but I’m reserving the right to freak out over more potential trap games as the season rolls along.