The defending champion Florida State Seminoles will open their 2014 season with a high-profile game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys that will certainly garner ample national attention. Factor in that this will be a night contest staged at a pro stadium between two reputable programs, and the propensity for hype really increases. The professional handicappers at Vegas’ Golden Nugget have weighed in, and on the surface, this seems like a potentially dangerous game for the ‘Noles. After all, Pokes fans have only to negotiate a four-hour jaunt down I-35 to attend.
But how close will it really be? One important element to consider, especially with regards to an opening game, is how much experience each team brings to the table. And while FSU returns its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, its leading receiver, four starters on the offensive line, the top defensive backfield in the country, and the nation’s best kicker, OSU is extremely thin on experience. In fact, according to Phil Steele’s 2014 Combined Experience numbers, the Cowboys are the least-experienced team in the FBS.
With just seven senior starters and 38 career offensive line starts among current projected starters, Oklahoma State presently ranks 128th out of 128, per Steele. And while this should be an issue for the Pokes all season, it should weigh particularly heavy in the campaign’s early going, when the team as had little time to gel and cohere (especially regarding offensive line unity).
The Seminoles check in at #39 on Steele’s list. The most experienced teams they’ll face this year? Syracuse and Virginia, which rank 17th and 18th, respectively. Other inexperienced squads include Clemson (#113), NC State (#114), Notre Dame (#120), Wake Forest (#125), and Boston College (#127).