Florida State's title defense will start in Arlington. The Seminoles will play the Oklahoma State on Saturday night at a neutral site location, with the top-ranked national champions squaring off against the Cowboys in one of the opening weekend's marquee matchups.
The two teams have met four times in their history, with Florida State winning the last three of them. Their last meeting took place in the 1985 Gator Bowl, when Bobby Bowden's Seminoles defeated Pat Jones's Cowboys 34-23.
The programs also find themselves in very different positions entering 2014. Florida State feels very certain about their future, with the reigning Heisman winner at quarterback, perhaps the top offensive line in the country and elite-level talent at nearly every position. Oklahoma State has performed at a high level under Mike Gundy, but the "pass" part of their "pass-first" offense remains a question after uneven play from quarterback J.W. Walsh and a whole lot of new faces at wide receiver.
How to witness
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox will have the call.
Online streaming ESPN3
Rankings and records: Florida State is ranked No. 1 by both the AP and Coaches' polls. Oklahoma State is unranked in both polls but received votes. This is the first game of the season for both teams.
Vegas: Florida State is favored by 17.5 points. The over/under is 63 points.
Weather forecast: 94 and mostly sunny, with a retractable roof if necessary.
Three names to know
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: The Heisman winner could be poised for an even better season this year, likely to be his last before heading to the NFL (even if his family says otherwise). He'll be facing an Oklahoma State secondarythat has to replace three starters, and things could get ugly early.
Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State. Williams was often overshadowed by fellow backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, Jr., but the converted defensive back averaged over eight yards per carry on 91 rushes, scoring 11 touchdowns.
J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State. Walsh took the job from Clint Chelf during the first game, but Chelf took it back about a month and a half later. Chelf was a better passer (and likely a better fit for the Cowboys' system), but Walsh is a dangerous runner who will look to make some plays on the ground against the stout Seminole defense.
Two things at stake
Florida State has another shot at a notable non-conference win when they face Notre Dame in mid-October, but this is one of their few opportunities to make a statement against a bowl-quality opponent on a national stage. A loss here would (unfairly or not) color perceptions of any ACC thrashings later on in the schedule, and the Seminoles need to start their title defense on the right track.
For Oklahoma State, this is an opportunity to knock off the biggest fish in the pond and announce themselves as a legitimate contender in what looks like a four-team race for the Big 12 crown. The Cowboys' schedule is backloaded, too. Between Florida State and their season-ending slate of Kansas State, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU are the only games that look potentially troubling in any way.