The wait is over; Florida State's 2013 football schedule is officially here.
The Atlantic Coast Conference unveiled its league-wide schedule Monday afternoon and, as has been rumored for some time, FSU will kick off the year in front of the nation with a Labor Day game Sept. 2 at new conference foe Pittsburgh.
"I am really excited about the 2013 schedule and it will provide great exposure for Florida State and the ACC," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We are excited to open up the season with a great opponent like Pitt and getting to play a new opponent at their venue to welcome them to the ACC. We are looking forward to that."
Other highlights of the 'Noles' schedule include a near-equal distribution of monthly home games from September to November, no Thursday-night contest for the first time since 2005, and a convenient bye before a critical ACC Atlantic Division showdown with Clemson.
The Monday-night opener at Heinz Field will mark the Seminoles' return to primetime Labor Day action for the first time since 2009 when they opened the year with a home game against Miami. The trip to Steel City caps off a nice few days for sports fans in Pittsburgh as the Pirates host the St. Louis Cardinals in a three-day Major League Baseball weekend series before the first FSU-Pitt matchup since 1983.
FSU hasn't started a new season on the road since 2007 and because of an open Saturday in week two won't play in Doak Campbell Stadium until Sept. 14 when Nevada comes to town. The Wolf Pack will bring a potent offense to Tallahassee led by rising junior quarterback Cody Fajardo, who finished 10th in the country last year in total offense per game. As a team, Nevada ranked No. 8 in total offense in 2012.
A season after playing four consecutive home games in September as part of the 2012 schedule, the 'Noles' have just one more event on Bobby Bowden Field in the first month of this season with a Sept. 21 contest against Bethune-Cookman scheduled.
After a Sept. 28 road game against Boston College, FSU returns home for an Oct. 5 game against Maryland before a well-timed bye the weekend of Oct. 12 before the Oct. 19 game at Clemson. An extra weekend to prepare for the Tigers and the challenges of playing in Death Valley is quite fortunate for the Seminoles -- especially this year with a new starting quarterback under center.
FSU then has back-to-back home games against NC State Oct. 26 and rival Miami Nov. 2 before a Nov. 9 game at Wake Forest the team's ACC finale against new league member Syracuse for Homecoming Nov. 16.
"We have some great home games," Fisher said. "There are all big games on the road. I love our home schedule though. It is going to be very challenging but we will be ready to play. I like that the home games are spread out throughout the season. I like the diversity of this schedule. The ACC did a great job. It is a great schedule."
Florida State then benefits from one last home game against Idaho Nov. 23 before it closes out the season in Gainesville against the Gators Nov. 30.
"Having the conference part of our season over heading into the stretch makes it easier for us to get ready for a huge rivalry game against Florida," Fisher said. "It can be tough to play a game before Florida with a conference championship berth on the line. To get that part of our season handled than get a very good team like Idaho before we go into the big rivalry game is a plus."
Preparations for the 2013 campaign are already underway as the team is currently taking part in "Fourth Quarter Drills" and will officially start spring practice March 20 that leads up to the April 13 spring game.