Like Clemson, defending national champion Florida State has its early-season work cut out for it.
On the heels of the third title in program history, the Seminoles will go from playing Auburn in the Rose Bowl to opening the new season at the lavish AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas against Oklahoma State on Aug. 30.
The Cowboys are coming off a strong 10-3 season in 2013 that featured a trip to the Cotton Bowl.
FSU will then make its first home appearance as defending champs against The Citadel as part of youth and band day at Doak Campbell Stadium before a well-timed bye a week in advance of a Sept. 20 showdown against Clemson in Tallahassee.
A year ago, the Seminoles benefitted from having an extra week to prepare for the Tigers, and the same formula is in place again in 2014 for a tilt with major ACC Atlantic Division implications.
Following back-to-back-to-back weeks at NC State, at home against Wake Forest for Parent's Weekend and then on the road at Syracuse, another marquee matchup will take place on Bobby Bowden Field when Florida State welcomes Notre Dame to town Oct. 18.
The Seminoles and Fighting Irish will be renewing a rivalry that will extend to its eighth game. FSU has won the last two meetings between the two, with the most recent being an 18-14 triumph in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl.
Notre Dame is expected to have standout quarterback Everett Golson, who led the Fighting Irish to a 12-1 record a spot in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, back under center in 2014 after he missed all of last season.
Again, a bye Oct. 25 awaits the Seminoles, who will have extra time to prepare for a Thursday game in front of the nation at new league member Louisville Oct. 30.
FSU then returns home to host Virginia Nov. 8 for homecoming before clashing with rival Miami at Sun Life Stadium Nov. 15.
The Noles have the luxury of closing out the 2014 regular season with consecutive home games against Boston College (Nov. 22) for Military Day and then rival Florida (Nov. 29), which figures to be much better this year after an injury-riddled 4-8 2013 season.
Of FSU's 11 FBS opponents in 2014, seven played in bowl games a season ago.