EARLY CUPCAKES: The Seminoles will be without as many as 10 players off their two-deep roster for the first three games of the season due to their involvement in an academic cheating scandal, prompting FSU to schedule patsies Western Carolina and Chattanooga the first two games. The teams went a combined 3-19 last season, which means FSU had better pass the early test.
DREW'S LAST STAND: Former Land O' Lakes High star Drew Weatherford has started 33 games the past three seasons, leading the Noles to an ACC title in 2005. Still, his grip on the starting quarterback's job is tenuous entering his senior season with redshirt sophomores Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson more experienced after Weatherford missed most of spring practice with a knee injury.
PAYBACK TIME? The low point of former FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden's tenure came in 2006 when the Noles were shut out at home by Wake Forest, 30-0. Bowden announced his resignation three days later. The Demon Deacons make their first trip to Tallahassee since, and while several key Noles will still be sidelined, the ones playing will be out for revenge.
MEET MR. BROWN: Junior DE Everette Brown is a star in the making, something FSU has been sorely missing up front in recent years. If Brown isn't FSU's most talented player, he is right at the top of the list after making his presence felt with 131/2 tackles for a loss last season.
LEADING THE WAY: For FSU to show significant improvement, the young offensive line must play like a savvy group of veterans. Sophomores Rodney Hudson (G/T) and Ryan McMahon (C) are the only returning starters, so second-year line coach Rick Trickett is looking for a few good men to clear the way.