Sunday’s top-10 showdown between No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Florida State at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium is not only one of the marquee games in Week 1, but it’s also one of the biggest and best nonconference matchups on the entire 2023 college football regular-season schedule. Two massive brands with big fan bases in a prime-time spot is always enough to generate excitement, but that buzz is multiplied by how each team finished last year following a wild 24-23 Florida State victory in last year’s season opener.
LSU rebounded from the one-point defeat — which came on a blocked extra point with no time left on the clock — with a 10-win campaign that included victories over Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn en route to an SEC West title. Brian Kelly’s arrival in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, brought the promise of a return to championship contention. Though LSU lost by a wide margin to Georgia in Atlanta, the Tigers were already playing for the SEC championship under Kelly quickly raised expectations for what can be accomplished in 2023.
Florida State also finished last year with 10 wins, marking the first time that’s happened for the Seminoles since 2016. The climb under coach Mike Norvell has seen Florida State go from three wins to five wins to 10, and last season’s victory against LSU paired with affirming wins against Florida and Oklahoma suggest this program is also ready for the next step.
Since last year’s success has set up top-10 rankings and expectations of College Football Playoff contention for both teams, the stakes could not be higher for a nonconference battle that will prove pivotal in the playoff debates to come later in the season. The winner walks away with one of the best wins any contender will have on their profile, while the loser has no margin for error across the final 11 games on the schedule.
Follow along with LIVE updates from Orlando when LSU takes on Florida State
How to watch LSU vs. Florida State live
Date: Sunday, Sept. 3 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Camping World Stadium — Orlando, Florida
TV: ABC | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
LSU vs. Florida State: Need to know
Heisman-contending quarterbacks take center stage: LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis are among the top players on the Heisman Trophy odds board, and each will be the engine of their respective offenses this season. Both also have high-level wide receiver rooms with LSU’s Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas looking become household names while Florida State’s All-ACC candidate Johnny Wilson is now joined by Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman, a gifted wideout with an NFL future who hit the transfer portal after spring practice. Adding to the intrigue for the quarterbacks is the fact that both secondaries are arguably the weaker points in each defense, so we should see plenty of big plays from the passing game throughout the night.
LSU vs. FSU could be renamed the Portal Bowl: Both coaches have utilized the transfer portal to address roster needs with the addition of top talent from the transfer portal. Norvell has been at it a bit longer, stacking multiple top transfer classes in each of the last three offseasons, most recently signing a group that ranked No. 6 in 247Sports’ Transfer Team Rankings in 2023. Like Norvell, Kelly has used the transfer portal out of necessity to rebuild rosters quickly at a proud program that wants to be competing for championships. LSU has ranked No. 3 and No. 2 in the transfer rankings in each of the two offseasons Kelly has been coach, which has allowed instant success despite a roster overhaul coming out of the Ed Orgeron era.
LSU down a key defensive player: LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith is expected to be one of the Tigers’ defensive stars this year, returning to action after missing all of last season with an ACL injury. Unfortunately, he is going to miss the opener against Florida State while serving a one-game suspension for NCAA violations stemming from an autograph signing that occurred just before NIL went into effect in the summer 2021. If Smith had participated in the same activity just a few months later, it could have been allowed under the new rules. If he had been allowed to serve a suspension last season, he would be eligible to play in this top-10 battle. As it stands, LSU will be without a key piece of its defensive front against one of the more experienced offenses in the country. Kelly has used this development to express confidence in the depth of the defensive line and that group’s ability to play at a winning level — even with Smith on the sideline.
LSU vs. Florida State prediction, picks
Both quarterbacks are excellent, both sets of wide receivers are elite and we have major questions about the secondary for both teams. All of that adds up to a lot of touchdowns, in my opinion, and a point total that goes over the oddsmakers’ number. I’ve got Florida State winning the game outright, but I’m most confident that we see a quarterback duel for the ages between Daniels and Travis. Prediction: Over 56.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.