Jimbo Fisher broke through last season with an ACC championship, but the Seminoles had to replace several members of the coaching staff -- including defensive coordinator Mark Stoops -- and lost a lot of starters off that team. This is where out-recruiting the rest of the ACC on a regular basis comes in handy. There is still a lot of talent on board, and the schedule sets up well for another good season.
2013 Florida State schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
With so many new faces in expanded roles, it's conceivable to see Week 1 in Pittsburgh as a stumbling block. After the Panthers game, the Seminoles have a favorable four-game run that includes contests against Maryland and Boston College. They also get a week off prior to their trip to Clemson, which doesn't hurt. That game ultimately decided the Atlantic Division last season and figures to do so again.
The Seminoles round out the regular season with a pair of non-conference games, including their annual tilt with the Florida Gators. Fisher is 2-1 against Florida so far, which stands in stark contrast to how Bobby Bowden fared against the Gators toward the end of his tenure.
With just three ACC games against teams projected to be top-35-caliber, FSU definitely has an opportunity to get back to the ACC Championship in Charlotte. But there's Dabo Swinney standing in the way, with the advantage of a seasoned quarterback, not to mention the Death Valley crowd.