Brothers Ben and Alex Breslau decided to step up and offer their opinions on the 2011 Florida State football schedule. They both breakdown the slate week-by-week and give their opinions on what the Seminoles will need to do to live up to their loft preseason expectations. Check out both blogs and remember you can join the brothers Breslau as a guest fan blogger for Seminoles.com.
2011 FSU Football Schedule
depressing winter cold I live in here in Chicago, even the smallest bit of news
can get me excited about football season. I was looking forward to the release
of this schedule since I heard rumors of its announcement earlier last week.
Now that it has been released and my inevitable and unwavering excitement for
FSU Football has had time to settle, I feel like I can now truly analyze the
We start off exactly as we should with a couple home
games to get into a groove, and that's what our first two games,
Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, are going to do for us. It will help
the players get into the weekly routine so when week 3 rolls around a Monday
feels like a Monday and a Thursday feels like a Thursday.
3 is where the boys become men. Jimbo can call it "just another game", but
Seminole fans are smart enough to realize that it isn't. Last year's game at
Oklahoma wasn't pretty to say the least. But, Tallahassee is already abuzz with
the news that the Sooners are coming to town. Both teams are returning most of
their starters. Last year, FSU was tied for the lead in sacks and OU was tied
for #9 in sacks with Miami. In ESPN's way-too-early 2011 preseason rankings,
they have OU at #1 and FSU at #3. As the great Keith Jackson says, "Whoa
Nelly!" Let's just say that by the end of the week, I will probably have my
plane ticket booked and reserved the couch in my brother's apartment for a 2
As fun as I'm hoping the OU weekend will be, the 'Noles
have to get up and go the next week at Clemson. From all I hear, Death Valley
is the hardest place to play in the ACC. It's loud and intimidating. Clemson
does have some QB questions this off-season with the loss of Kyle Parker, but
they always play us well. Plus, Clemson just brought in a bunch of talented
kids. If we are really beat up after OU, going to Clemson could be tough. I
think we have the edge though. First, Clemson is going to have a very hard time
replacing the NCAA FBS sack leader Da'Quan Bowers. Second, we aren't the only
team that week that has to play another juggernaut the week before. Clemson has
to battle Auburn at home the week before the 'Noles roll in to town. I see the
Noles having the edge in this one, but it sounds like a perfect primetime night
game on ESPN to me.
Next up is a bye week. I don't like it. It's too early.
Granted, we are getting a bye after what are arguably the hardest back-to-back
games on the schedule, but I think there is a better place for a bye. It should
go closer to the middle of the season when you are dealing with injuries and
some very tired players. I'll go into where I think it should be later.
After the bye we have two away games- Wake and Duke. We
only have five away games this year and with two of them at Wake and Duke.
Neither of these will be labeled conference title contenders by the media but
Duke has improved under David Cutcliffe and Wake Forest isn't far removed from
ACC Championship contender status. I fear that Duke could be a trap game
though. We have a tough ACC game the next week and if the players aren't
focused on the game at hand and are doing the look-ahead, we could forget that
Duke is capable of beating any opponent in the conference..
those 2 away games, the 'Noles finally have another home game. It will have
been over a month since the last home duel (Oklahoma). 'Nole fans will be ready
to come back to Doak and see the Noles battle the Terps. Maryland did us a huge
favor by beating NC State and sending us to the ACC Championship game last
year, but Jimbo doesn't need to be polite. No need to return favors. Danny
O'Brien, the young QB we faced last year, will be returning with experience
under his belt. He's extremely smart and makes plays. With the coaching changes
going on in College Park, there is a huge question mark hovering over the Terps
program. If the players respond well to the new coaches, this could be the
toughest and most important ACC game on the slate.
Another home game is next- NC State. NC State also has a
big question to be answered: Will Russell Wilson return for one more season or
will he play baseball? NC State is another team that has been a pain
recently for the 'Noles. Last year's loss was heartbreaking. I can't even read
the recap of the game without cringing. Wilson was the MVP of that game though
and without him, I think that NC State will be a serious contender with him next
year. Whether or not he comes back, this game should be starred on each and
every Seminole's calendar as a must-win after last year's game.
Boston College is up next, and I'm not happy. This is
going to be a short week since it is a Thursday night game. Usually the ACC
gives FSU a bye before a Thursday night match-up. Not this time. As I said
above, I would mention where I thought the bye should go and this is it. The
bye should have gone between NC State and BC. Nevertheless, it is what it is and
BC doesn't have a bye before and is going to have a short week too. At least
they don't have to travel up the east coast though. The weather in Boston in
early November can vary drastically. Let's just home for a game that isn't cold
and raining. BC ended its regular season schedule with 5 wins, including
Clemson and Syracuse. Their RB, Montel Harris, ran the ball very well against
us last season and is returning. BC is returning a very good LB but if we can
stop the run we can win this game.
After BC, Miami comes to Tallahassee. The Hurricanes play
Duke before us, but Duke has seemed to have Miami figured out recently. If you
thought our bye week was too early, check out Miami. They have their bye on
week 2, after they play Maryland on Labor Day. After their bye, they have to
play Ohio State and Kansas State. Not easy and not fun. Al Golden will get to
experience firsthand how loud Doak can be. Let's make him dread playing in
Tallahassee for years to come.
Penultimately, (cool big word, huh?) we have our last
home game vs. Virginia. Last year and were anchored by our running game in the
win over Virginia. Fortunately for us and not for the Cavs, all of our RB's are
returning next season. I'm expecting our rushing output to be even higher next
season with EJ taking the helm. As long as we are healthy, it could be a
Finally, we go and play the gators (I didn't capitalize
"gators" for a reason. You only capitalize proper nouns and there is nothing
proper about the gators). Will Muschamp will be breathing new life into the
program. QB will still be a question next season for the gators. One thing is
certain, with Muschamp coming in, the defense will take on a new, fresh look.
They will be much better and will challenge Jimbo, EJ, and the offense. It was
a great last (full) game for Ponder versus UF last year and it made every FSU
fan happy to take back the state title. This year's game will, as usual, be a
big game and a must watch.
is going to be a great year and I'm ready to watch Jimbo take FSU back to a BCS
game. I'm not going to make any predictions because it is way too early, but we
have the tool to succeed in a big way. In summary, I'm excited and I'm ready.
By Alex Beslau
The 2011 schedule for the
Seminoles is no cakewalk. It could have been worse (if you ask fans of our ACC
brethren). Clearly, the games versus Oklahoma at home and at Florida stick out
as the two focal points of the season. But not to be fooled, this schedule does
not allow for any guarantees on double digit-wins.
The first two games will allow the
team to start the season in a familiar setting with home games versus two
non-BCS schools, however Louisiana-Monroe is a D-1 football program and fans
will want to keep an eye on this game as it will be the first game for
quarterback EJ Manuel as 'The Man.'
Oklahoma is nothing short of
primetime, upper-echelon football. Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles will bring the
heat, and the pressure will be on Mark Stoops to rally his troops to dent
Oklahoma enough for our offense to dictate the game rather than be dictated
like last year. If we get behind early, we won't be able to rely on our running
game as we would like to. So the key is the first few drives of the game so we
can put up points and ideally get a head start on the field-position battle.
From there, the 'Noles need to be able to not give away anything. Not points,
not the ball, not field position. If Oklahoma is going to beat us, they should
have to earn it. We need to come out firing the first 10 minutes of the game to
instill a pace to the game and then remain steady the next 50 minutes. That
being said, this has the makings to be one of, if not, the best matchups all
season long. The deciding factor for this game if it proves to be a tight one,
though, will be the turnover battle, and more specifically, being able to
capitalize on them, if there are even any.
The next game is at Clemson, who
recruits so well and so consistently. They have talent and speed at every
position so the biggest question is if we will be able to stay focused after
the Oklahoma game. If we beat Oklahoma, will we be too cocky going in and get
smothered? If we lose versus Oklahoma, will we be too emotional, make too many
risky decisions, and lose because of turnovers? I have this game asterisked as
a character game. Regardless how we play versus Oklahoma, how we are able to
come out versus Clemson right after will be a telltale sign of how our team is
We get a bye week early in the
season, which will allow our players to rest up and heal up from intense work
they invested in preparation for the Sooners and Tigers. The bye week is
followed by Wake Forest and Duke, both away. It wasn't too long ago that Jim
Grobe was the AP Coach of the Year, and he still gets the most out of his
players. Duke also has been revived under David Cutcliffe, so neither road trip
should be taken lightly.
We return home for a stretch of 4
home games out of the next 5, which is just what the team needs at this point.
Maryland comes into the game with reigning ACC Rookie of the Year in Danny
O'Brien handling the reins. Our secondary, led by to-be superstar in the making
Greg Reid, should be pretty solid and come together as a group by now, so we
ought to be able to challenge their budding star. All in all, this should be a
The next game at NC State has one
major wild-card: Russell Wilson. Will he return to college football or go pro
in baseball? He is arguably the best QB in the ACC and is more than capable of
lifting a team on his shoulders. Without him, this game still should be
interesting, but nothing like the 50-44 2OT game several years back when Philip
Rivers was at the helm. If Wilson does indeed return, the game will hinge on
our defense, specifically our pass rush. With Brandon Jenkins and newcomer Tank
Carradine, it is supposed to be a considerable strength like it was last year
when we led the nation in sacks. We lost a heartbreaker last year, you can be
sure Jimbo will remind the players of last year incessantly. It won't happen
again. So for Parents Weekend, let's hope for a win.
Next up is Herzlich-less Boston
College. But, more importantly than their lack of Mark Herzlich is their still
having maybe the best 'backer in the nation in Luke Kuechly. They possess the
ability to get it up for a big game, and this one is a primetime Thursday night
game at Boston College, so it is safe to say it is a big stage. Boston College
cannot be overlooked because I can guarantee their players will be starring,
circling, and highlighting their schedule for November 3rd.
Now for the nasty game...University
of Miami. Without fail this game is always intense, fierce, and physical both
on the field and in the stands. Just like Clemson was a character game, this
will be an attitude game. Whichever team can out-tough the other team, while
executing the game plan and not giving the ball away will win 10 out of 10
times. We will have a long week to prepare for the game because of the Thursday
game the week before, so we will be prepared. It comes down to following
through with it. Versus Miami emotions run high on both sides of the ball, so
you will be sure to see crushing hits in this one. But I cannot emphasize enough
that playing physical and execution is key here.
Ten games through the season,
finally the Homecoming game is here. At home versus Virginia. Before even
talking football, this is the homecoming game for the year in which we have the
most hype since Chris Weinke's Heisman season 11 years ago. Losing is not an
option. We must win. Virginia though is on the rebound with Mike London doing
an excellent job turning things around. They will put up a fight.
Now for the other focal game of
the year versus Florida at the Swamp. I can guarantee you that their offense
will look nothing like last year's squad. Charlie Weis is no name to scoff at,
and no offense to take lightly. John Brantley will thrive in this system and be
a huge factor in the game. This will be the most talented team we will face.
Last time UF had a year below their lofty expectations, they returned the next
year to take the title. How the team responds to new leadership, and how
quickly, will be something to take into consideration. Like Miami though, these
are always intense games, regardless of score. This should be a very close game
again this year. UF's new schemes will give Jimbo and Mark Stoops plenty to
prepare for, and my condolences go out ahead of time to the families of the
coaches because they will be absent all week long. The main factor in this game
will be about whose defense can clamp down and force turnovers. If it is a
shootout, it is anybody's call on who wins. If it is a low-scoring game, I give
Florida State the edge because of the superior running game and ability to
rotate running backs to keep them fresh.
In my opinion, we are more than
capable of going 12-0 through the regular season, but 10-2 is very possible as
well. I predict that we will win our division and play Virginia Tech in the ACC
Championship again this year.
Further than that, I am hesitant
to make any bold predictions on the season overall since the Spring Game has
yet to even take place. I won't say that we will win the National Championship,
although it is a possibility and our players better have their goals set
nothing short of it. One thing I can predict is this: Think big.
Fans interested in checking out all the 2011 football games in person can purchase FSU football tickets. Season tickets are on sale now.