FSU's Expected Win Percentage Would Rise with ACC-Only Slate

David Visser

Will the ACC go with a conference-only schedule for the 2020 football season? Time will tell, as Conference Commissioner John Swofford has announced that he and the powers that be in Charlotte are aiming at making a decision in late July. 

But after the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to go in that direction, it seems like the odds-on favorite as to what happens. There's a chance that the Seminoles could hold on to their traditional season-finale against Florida, but what would losing all four of their non-conference games mean for the 'Noles? 

A better winning percentage on the season, likely. Because FSU is currently facing the second toughest non-con schedule in the ACC:

  • West Virginia (Atlanta, GA)
  • Samford (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Boise State (Boise, ID)
  • Florida (Tallahassee, FL)

While Samford would be the easiest game on Florida State's schedule, the other three are quite losable contests. Only Georgia Tech boasts a tougher non-con slate:

  • Gardner-Webb (Atlanta, GA)
  • UCF (Atlanta, GA)
  • Notre Dame (Atlanta, GA)
  • Georgia (Athens, GA)

But back to the Seminoles. Given the original 12-game schedule, ESPN projects the 'Noles to finish with 4.4 losses (and 7.6 wins). However, dropping those non-con games could significantly increase FSU's winning percentage in 2020, even if it means less football. Here's the slate the 'Noles would face:

  • NC State (Raleigh, NC)
  • Clemson (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Wake Forest (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Louisville (Louisville, FL)
  • Pittsburgh (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Miami (Miami Gardens, FL)
  • Boston College (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Syracuse (Syracuse, NY)

Clemson is the only definite loss on this schedule, whereas UF would be too, if included, as both are top-10 SP+ preseason teams (Florida State is No. 26). At No. 23, Miami will be no pushover (is it ever?), but 7-1 is definitely on the table. So is 4-4. 

Those roadies at Louisville and NC State won't be easy, as the Cardinals and Wolfpack are ranked No. 41 and No. 62, respectively. And Pitt comes in at No. 42. But the rest of the Seminoles' opponents' ranks:

  • BC: No. 71
  • Wake Forest: No. 81
  • Syracuse: No. 95

Am I picking 7-1? No. But under a new head coach, the psyche of a team is an extremely delicate, fragile entity. The original schedule could see the Seminoles open at 1-4, destroy player buy-in, and threaten Mike Norvell's control of the locker room. An all-ACC schedule would offer FSU a softer slate that could help to cushion Norvell's first season in Tallahassee-- on the brighter side, it could also help make 2020 a resoundingly successful campaign.