Florida State is one of the more interesting teams to handicap entering the 2018 season. There are a lot of unknowns regarding the Seminoles.
FSU was supposed to contend for the national title in 2017, but fell apart after losing to Alabama in the season opener and losing quarterback Deondre Francois in the process. The Seminoles finished the regular season 6-6.
Now, they have a new coach (Willie Taggart) and an unsettled quarterback competition with Francois and James Blackman. There's plenty of talent in Tallahassee though, so the possibility for a bounce back is strong.
Makings things tougher could be the team's schedule, which Athlon Sports ranks the toughest in the country. Athlon released its toughest schedule rankings today.
Here's what they said about Florida State:
Just about everything on Florida State's 2018 schedule is potentially hazardous, save a Week 2 Bowden Bowl matchup with FCS Samford. The rest of the non-conference docket includes the customary rivalry showdown with Florida, a rematch of the 2013 Orange Bowl with always-tough Northern Illinois, and a road trip in November to Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame contest is the first of three games against preseason playoff contenders. The Seminoles play at rival Miami and host national powerhouse Clemson. That Clemson showdown is sandwiched between dates against physically tough and upset-minded ACC Atlantic Division counterparts Wake Forest and NC State, which head coaches Dave Clawson and Dave Doeren have built into legitimate threats. Their combined ascent, as well as the defensive physicality customary at Boston College and talent at Louisville, have made the Atlantic arguably the best top-to-bottom division in football.
Couple that with Florida State drawing what should be the Coastal's two best teams -- Miami and Virginia Tech -- and this is no doubt the toughest schedule in 2018.
You can read the rest of Athlon's schedule rankings here.
Florida State opens up the 2018 season at home against Virginia Tech on Labor Day, Sept. 3.