Florida State vs. Oklahoma: Things to know about Seminoles' Cheez-It Bowl opponent
The Florida State Seminoles (9-3) will be in the Cheez-It Bowl for the 3rd time school history when they face the Oklahoma Sooners (6-6) on Dec. 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Florida State is in a bowl for the 1st time since 2019 and the 1st time under 3rd-year coach Mike Norvell.
The Seminoles were at the Cheez-It Bowl in 2008 and 2011 under its previous name, the Champs Sports Bowl. They defeated Wisconsin 42-13 in 2008 and Notre Dame 18-14 in 2011.
This is the 4th time Florida State and Oklahoma will meet in a bowl. The Seminoles are 1-3 against the Sooners with the victory coming in the 1965 Gator Bowl. Their most recent bowl meeting came in the 2001 BCS Championship Game with Oklahoma winning 13-2.
Oklahoma and Florida State have met 3 times during the regular season with the Sooners winning all 3 times. The most recent game came during 2011 when the Oklahoma beat Florida State 23-13 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
With the history out of the way, here are my first impressions of the matchup:
This was the best matchup Florida State could have hoped for
The Seminoles were pretty much locked into the Cheez-It Bowl once Clemson’s playoff hopes were sealed coming into Saturday night’s ACC Championship Game. The other possible matchups (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas) were not as attractive. The Cheez-It Bowl will sell a lot of tickets and the Seminoles gave a brand-name opponent on a down year that could give FSU another nice win to close out the season.
This could be a high-scoring affair
Oklahoma has been a defensive disaster for a while. The Sooners gave up 38 or more points in 5 of their 6 losses this season and 14 points or less in 5 of the 6 wins. Florida State’s defense is improved and statistically good, but the Seminoles had a closing stretch during which they played several games against teams with injuries to their starting quarterbacks (the Sooners also will be without some key players). Games against offenses with equal healthy talent like Louisville, Clemson, Florida and Wake Forest were the instances when the Seminoles gave more yards and explosive plays.
Norvell can set the tone for 2023
Florida State can get to 10 wins and add Oklahoma to a list of victories that includes LSU and Florida. Names matter in college football. Even if Oklahoma and Florida are .500 and LSU has 4 losses, the perception of beating blue-blood opponents with championship history is something Mike Norvell can sell the program to recruits on. Florida State is playing big names and beating them.
Big performances could lead to late departures
FSU will have the services of defensive end Jared Verse for the bowl game and it appears likely the redshirt sophomore will declare for the NFL soon after. Quarterback Jordan Travis seems to be leaning toward a 6th year of college, but if he has an MVP performance he could decide to leave as well. Running back Trey Benson has been amazing late in the season and could opt out of the game. But if he plays as expected, a big bowl-game performance could be his final act as a Seminole.