Florida State is approaching a crucial 2022 season that will set the trajectory of the program under head coach Mike Norvell. After compiling eight total wins over the past two years that were paired with a few head-scratchers, it's imperative for the Seminoles to take the step next and make it back to the postseason in Norvell's third season at the helm.
Three crucial games on the schedule where Florida State has a chance to flip the script are its matchups with LSU, Miami, and Florida. The Seminoles defeated Miami and lost to Florida in 2021. The Labor Day weekend showdown with LSU will mark an opportunity to get off to a successful start, something the program has not done in recent years.
According to early odds from FanDuel, Florida State is listed as a slight favorite at home against the Gators (-2) but is projected to be the underdog against the Tigers (+4.5) and Hurricanes (+9.5)
The LSU number isn't much of a surprise. Over the last few months, the Seminoles have consistently been listed as a single-digit underdog to the Tigers. That has fluctuated between 2.5 and 6.5 points. It's hard to get a good read on this contest because this will be the first game that new head coach Brian Kelly has coached with the program.
Despite that, it's clear that the Tigers have talent remaining in the cupboard. Star wide receiver Kashon Boutte is back in the fold to pair with either Arizona State transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels or returning veteran Myles Brennan. The running back units and defensive line stood out for LSU during the spring.
After taking down Miami for the first time since 2017 last year, Florida State is projected to be nearly a double-digit dog to the Hurricanes in 2022. While the program has a renewed sense of energy and additional talent through the transfer portal, this number still feels like a bit of a slight at this time, regardless if this game falls on the road.
This one will probably come down to the play of quarterbacks, Jordan Travis and Tyler Van Dyke. Travis scored the game-winning touchdown on the ground in 2021 after delivering a massive throw on 4th and 14 to set the Seminoles up at the goal line. Van Dyke had a solid performance but tossed two crucial interceptions along with an ill-timed spike that sealed Miami's defeat.
Like LSU and Miami, Florida is also breaking in a new head coach this season in Billy Napier. The Gators have a tough task, finding success on a stacked schedule amidst roster turnover. Florida will have to replace starting quarterback Emory Jones but still has an experienced option, Anthony Richardson, in the cupboard. They also added Ohio State transfer, Jack Miller, out of the portal.
For the first time in the history of the Florida State-Florida Rivalry, the game will fall on the Friday following Thanksgiving. In what is set to be a prime-time contest, the Seminoles have an opportunity for revenge after losing to the Gators in their last three meetings. Florida kept Florida State out of the postseason last year, which is something that will certainly be on the Seminoles' minds.
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