-- What are the six toughest opponents FSU will face in 2012?
-- What are the six toughest games in 2012?
For Boston College, the Eagles are slated to play four ranked teams on that list, including Florida State at #7, Clemson (#18), Virginia Tech (#19) and Notre Dame (#24). Here's how I see BC's six toughest opponents in 2012 shaping up. In order.
The first three are more and less cut and dry, with the order of Virginia Tech and Clemson in some dispute (flip a coin?). Despite the fact that Notre Dame is ranked in ESPN's Top 25 -- when aren't they? -- I think N.C. State will be a tougher team than the Irish in 2012. I have Georgia Tech coming in at six as I think the Jackets can make some noise in the Coastal Division this season.
So how does this list compare to the list of the Eagles toughest games after factoring in home/road splits? My list in order:
at Florida State
at N.C. State
at Georgia Tech
at Wake Forest
Obviously it follows that if I think Florida State is the toughest opponent BC will face in 2012 that the Eagles road trip to Tallahassee tops this list. I have the home game against Virginia Tech next over road games in Raleigh and Atlanta, if for no other reason than BC has been largely non-competitive against the Hokies for three years running now. At N.C. State is going to be tough and if things don't go well this season, BC's motivation could become a factor.
I have at Georgia Tech fourth on my list as the game against the Yellow Jackets is the third road game in as many weeks after the Eagles travel to both West Point and Tallahassee. The one thing that does play to BC's favor here is that they'll have already prepared for a triple-option offense two weeks earlier in preparations for the at Army game.
I have at Wake Forest fifth on my list. Home field advantage matters. Wake has been a tough out for the Eagles going back to before BC was even a member of the ACC and are both well coached and have experience under center. Finally, I'm going with the Clemson game in the sixth spot. While I think the Tigers are one of BC's more difficult opponents in 2012, the Eagles do get Clemson at home and on two-weeks rest.
Notably absent from my second list? Notre Dame. We always get up to play Notre Dame. Especially at home.
How would your two lists look?