Exactly seven weeks from Monday, Florida State's 2013 season will begin. It will be the first of what the Seminoles hope will be many games that end with a favorable result, and that may somehow make this year go even better than the last.
The answers to those questions rest in part in the Seminoles' schedule.
While there have been perhaps deserved concerns raised all offseason about FSU's somewhat punchless home schedule -- much of that is the product of the rotation the Seminoles are on with their conference opponents and rival Florida in this odd year -- it still is one that has to be played. The road schedule has more intriguing and challenging games, and they, too, have to be played.
Does another 12-win, conference championship, BCS bowl season exist on this schedule? It's possible. With this defense and with the potential for redshirt freshman Jameis Winston (the presumed new starting quarterback) to live up to the hype, FSU may be in for a carbon copy of 2012.
As we get ready for the season, we'll spend the next two weeks exploring the teams on FSU's schedule, and the odds the Seminoles can beat them. So, without further ado, here's the first game: at Pittsburgh
SEPT. 2 -- AT PITTSBURGH
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa., 8 p.m., ESPN
2012 Record: 6-7, 3-4 (in Big East)
2012 Postseason: Lost to Ole Miss in BBVA Compass Bowl
Coach: Paul Chryst (6-7 at Pitt, entering second year, 6-7 overall). Chryst is beginning his second year at Pitt after taking the Panthers through a six-win year that was more about foundation building than anything else. Pitt had wins against ranked Virginia Tech and Rutgers programs, and took eventual national championship runner-up Notre Dame to triple overtime before losing.
Chryst, in his first head-coaching job, came to Pittsburgh after an eight-year tenure as an assistant at Wisconsin. In his six seasons as the Badgers' offensive coordinator, Chyrst helped Wisconsin go 60-19. Last season, he and his Pittsburgh staff helped the Panthers have a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season for the first time. Quarterback Tino Sunseri (FSU defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri's son) and running back Ray Graham compiled those stats.
All-time series: Pitt leads 5-3
Series history: Began in 1971. The last meeting came in 1983 at Pittsburgh. The Seminoles lost that game, 17-16.
Fun game facts: Although they haven't played in 30 years, this year's Seminoles and Panthers have some unique ties. In addition to the fact that his son was the last starting quarterback at the school, Sal Sunseri is himself a Pitt alum, having graduated in 1983. He's also a native of the city. FSU administrator Monk Bonasorte played against the Panthers when the series occurred during his career. So did fellow former Seminole John Palermo. These days, Palermo is on Pitt's staff, coaching defensive ends and linebackers.
Fun facts Part 2: Pitt is returning 15 percent of its passing game this season as it looks to replace Tino Sunseri. ... Before it lost running back Rushel Shell, Pitt also was returning just 32.9 percent of its scoring production this season.
2012 national rankings: Turnover margin (15); total defense (17); passing efficiency (19); pass efficiency defense (20); rushing offense (92); net punting (100); sacks allowed (102).
Key losses: QB Tino Sunseri, RB Ray Graham, RB Rushel Shell, WR Mike Shanahan, SS Jarred Holley, K Kevin Harper
Key returnees: WR Devin Street, OT Cory King, OG Ryan Schlieper, DT Tyrone Ezell, CB Lafayette Pitts, CB K'Wuan Williams, FS Jason Hendricks, P Matt Yoklic