For the sixth time since joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State is off to a 2-1 start in conference after three games. For the first time since 2016, the Seminoles have put together consecutive ACC wins with victories over Louisville and most recently, North Carolina State, in the last two weeks.
FSU, under second-year head coach Willie Taggart, is off to its best ACC start through three games since beginning 3-0 in 2015. Looking back on the past years, here’s how the seasons have played out for FSU after starting 2-1 in conference:
First Three ACC Games: Lost at NC State, 24-7; beat Duke, 62-13; beat Maryland, 24-10
Finish: 11-2, ACC champions, No. 3 in AP Poll, lost to Tennessee in Fiesta Bowl, 23-16
Key Players: Peter Warrick, WR; Mario Edwards, CB; Sebastian Janikowski, K
Overview: After beating Texas A&M on a neutral field to open 1998, Florida State was embarrassed in its ACC opener against NC State. Redshirt sophomore Chris Weinke threw six interceptions in that loss, but would not throw one for the remainder of the season before going down with a neck injury. The Seminoles won the next 10 games, including four over ranked opponents, with none being closer than 11 points. FSU managed to work its way to No. 2 and compete against Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl for the first-ever BCS national title. Without Weinke however, the Seminoles were unable to overcome an early 14-0 deficit in a 23-16 loss.
First Three ACC Games: Beat Duke, 55-13; lost at North Carolina, 41-9; beat Wake Forest, 48-24
Finish: 8-4, No. 15 in AP Poll, defeated Virginia Tech in Gator Bowl, 30-17
Key Players: Javon Walker, WR; Darnell Dockett, DT; Chris Hope, S
Overview: In its 10th season in the ACC, the 2001 season would be the first where Florida State did not win the conference. The Seminoles were embarrassed at North Carolina early in the season and lost their first-ever home game in ACC play to NC State. FSU also fell to rivals Miami and Florida in the same season for the first time in a decade. The Seminoles would finish strong with a pair of victories over Georgia Tech and then Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl as legendary head coach Bobby Bowden tied Paul “Bear” Bryant with 323 career wins.
First Three ACC Games: Lost at Miami in overtime, 16-10; beat Clemson, 41-22; beat North Carolina, 38-16
Finish: 9-3, No. 14 in USA Today Coaches Poll, defeated West Virginia in Gator Bowl, 30-18
Key Players: Leon Washington, RB; Alex Barron, T; Travis Johnson, DT
Overview: Florida State let a 10-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in its opener against Miami — the first for the Hurricanes as a member of the ACC. That loss would cost FSU a share of the conference title. The Seminoles would rally to win eight of their next nine games, including a 36-3 beatdown of No. 6 Virginia. FSU closed the regular season with its first home loss to Florida since 1986, but held off West Virginia in the Gator Bowl to finish in the top 15.
First Three ACC Games: Lost to Wake Forest, 12-3; beat Miami, 41-39; beat NC State, 26-17
Finish: 9-4, No. 21 in AP Poll, defeated Wisconsin in Champs Sports Bowl, 42-13
Key Players: Everette Brown, DE; Derek Nicholson, LB; Graham Gano, K/P
Overview: With a bevy of suspended players, Florida State failed to score a touchdown in its ACC opener against Wake Forest, but won its next four contests. Losses at Georgia Tech and to Boston College in a 3-week stretch would ultimately cost FSU the Atlantic division title. The Seminoles would blow out Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl for their first top-25 finish since 2005 and most wins since 2004.
First Three ACC Games: Beat Wake Forest, 52-0; beat Clemson, 49-37; lost at NC State, 17-16
Finish: 12-2, ACC champions, No. 8 in USA Today Coaches Poll, defeated Northern Illinois in Orange Bowl, 31-10
Key Players: E.J. Manuel, QB; Bjoern Werner, DE; Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE
Overview: At 5-0, Florida State ascended to No. 3 in the country before a heartbreaking 17-16 loss at NC State. The Seminoles would win their next five games before falling to Florida. FSU would cap the season by beating Georgia Tech for its first ACC title since 2005 and easily dispose of Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl for its first BCS bowl victory since 1999. The 12 victories, at the time, tied a program record.
Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at [email protected].