The last time that Florida State fans looked forward to the boost in strength of schedule their team would get in the BCS computers for playing Duke was — well, never.
No. 12 Florida State (7-1, 4-1 ACC) has never lost to Duke in football.
FSU is 17-0 all-time against the Blue Devils — a losing streak this year’s 6-2 ACC Coastal Division-leading Duke team would love to end.
David Cutcliffe’s Duke team is bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, and it already notched several impressive wins against tough ACC opponents this year.
“Coach Cutcliffe has done a tremendous job with those guys,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He has them playing tremendous football. They are very sound, very good players, dynamic explosion on offense, defense, cause a lot of problems, different blitz packages, pressures. Do a great job in special teams.”
But the Blue Devils have not taken on a team as good as the Seminoles this year.
“I saw Florida State early in the season as we prepared to play Wake Forest,” said Cutcliffe, who reviewed the tape of Florida State’s 52-0 win over Wake Forest. “Obviously, you can’t help but watch a team like that pretty closely.
“Even though I was focusing on Wake Forest, I thought Florida State was the most complete team I’ve seen in quite some time. I still believe that now after seeing them and focusing on them, they may be the most complete team in the country,” he said.
Thus far this season in five home games, the No. 12 Seminoles have averaged 55 points and well over 600 yards of offense. Bad news for a Blue Devils defense that ranks 73rd in the country in points allowed.
While FSU has been vulnerable in three road games this season, on Saturday the Seminoles will be celebrating their homecoming game.
And the Seminoles defense is faster than anything Duke has seen this year.
Florida State ranks second nationally in total defense and run defense. And through the air, Duke might not have much of a chance either. Florida State is seventh in the nation against the pass.
Despite the obvious advantages on paper, the Seminoles will need to avoid complacency.
Thus far, it hasn’t been an issue for Florida State at home, but coming off an emotional win in which the Seminoles lost their inspirational leader — Chris Thompson (torn ACL) — for the season, FSU needs to guard against the let down.
“We’re fitting to face a very confident team this week,” said junior linebacker Telvin Smith. “They’re coming in, their record is not bad, they’re at the top of their game so we’ve just got to keep our focus, start with a bang and end with a bang.”
If Florida State can get through a scrappy young Duke team, the Seminoles will have a happy bye week.
Thus far, the Seminoles have played nine consecutive weeks. They play just two games over the next 20 days after Saturday.
But first they must focus on the Blue Devils.
“You can’t take it off on anybody, and Duke is just saying that, they’re saying ‘we’ve got a team, we’re on scholarship just like everybody else so they’re coming out there to make plays,’ ” Smith said.