We’re onto game 3 of the 2021 season, and Wake finds themselves entering conference play against Florida State. A team that forever seems to decide Wake’s fate for the rest of the season, no matter how good or bad they are
Game Date: Saturday, September 18th, 2021
Opponent: Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: Mike Norvell (3-6)
Record: 3-6, 2-6
Highest Ranking: N/A
Wins: Jacksonville State, North Carolina, Duke
Yards per Game: 398.8
Yards Allowed per Game: 456.3
Points per Game: 25.8
Points Allowed per Game: 36.0
2020 was not kind to FSU. Whether it be a porous offensive line, a very inconsistent defense, or having to flat out cancel games due to COVID, there was a hurdle at every juncture for this team. It’s even harder when you realize this is the first-year head coach Mike Norvell can actually organize his team, I can’t begin to imagine walking into a job and the entire year, never being able to grab your footing.
With that being said, they were still a bad team and were going to be a bad team last year regardless of the situation. This team was one of the most talked-about in the offseason with the moves they made. Grabbing UCF QB McKenzie Milton, Kansas WR Andrew Parchment, UGA EDGE Jermaine Johnson, South Carolina DT Kier Thomas, and DB Jammie Robinson were all great moves, but will it be enough to right the ship for a team that, without 3 cancellations, probably loses 9 games last year?
Going into fall camp, this was a team that still had questions at quarterback: Jordan Travis vs McKenzie Milton, who’s still coming off an absolutely devastating leg injury and we haven’t seen in a legitimate game since 2018. Travis wasn’t the best passer but gave the team a much-needed boost in the run game. Questions at WR given the overall inconsistency they’ve had and still have there. Questions for the offensive line, that improved last year, but improved from being one of the worst in college football, to solely being bad. To be short, the entire defense has questions they need to answer from pass rush(or lack thereof), linebacker play, and shoddy secondary play.
There is a vast amount of individual talent on this FSU team and I don’t want to spend the entire time painting them as the worst ACC team or anything by that vein. But this isn’t the FSU team of old. They’re a team shooting for 6 wins to have a successful season and rebuild. We should judge them as such. They still aren’t a team that should be taken lightly. The rushing game was actually good, especially when looking at it from an EPA standpoint, coming in at 6th in the nation. Jermaine Johnson and Kier Thomas are going to be impact players this year and not just against a porous offensive line. As I’ve argued with Wake, getting time to actually work with your team is going to be a huge boost, and that’s not excluding FSU.
This is, once again, the most important game on Wake’s schedule. Wake wins this game and they can start putting demons behind them of not winning games they should, no there isn’t a reason Wake shouldn’t be favored by FPI/Vegas. This will be the first game we actually can judge how the position battles in the fall went. It doesn’t really matter who's starting at WR or RT against ODU or Norfolk State, as those games should be over at halftime, ACC play is where we’ll truly get to evaluate. This game begins a stretch of games that will be mostly coinflips that they’ll be favored in and they have to start winning those games if they actually want to go from good to great.