FSU Notes: Fisher sees problems with 2013 slate

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher had pushed for the ACC to consider reverting to an eight-game conference schedule for months, but now that he's gotten his wish, he admits the change has thrown Florida State into a bit of a quandary.

"It's kind of weird how it's happening right now because it's going to put a lot of teams scrambling here quickly," Fisher said.

After deciding on a nine-game conference slate for 2013, the ACC reversed course Wednesday, switching back to an eight-game schedule in lieu of the addition of Notre Dame as a partial league member.

That's a step in the right direction, Fisher admits, but it also leaves the Seminoles -- along with the rest of the ACC -- scrambling to fill out their 2013 schedules.

FSU has already been in the process of trying to find an opponent to replace Nevada, which hasn't officially pulled out of its scheduled meeting, but is looking for alternatives. Fisher said that may give the Seminoles a jump on understanding the market, but that doesn't necessarily mean the process will be simpler.

"We've been jumping, but I don't know what we're seeing out there," Fisher said.

Florida State was in a similar situation in the spring when West Virginia pulled out of its planned Week 2 game in Tallahassee, forcing FSU to sift through dozens of potential alternatives before settling on Savannah State, an overmatched FCS foe that drew groans from fans.

"Everybody joked about us getting Savannah [State] but you could not find a game," Fisher said. "And everybody thinks I'm crazy but wait until 12 [teams] go through it this year."

One potential alternative is to simply keep nine ACC games on the schedule for 2013. It's an option several athletics directors are considering, but Fisher said Florida State hopes to avoid that possibility.

"I don't know if you want to do that, but I want to wait and see everything," Fisher said. "It may be the only way you can get a game until you can get your scheduled fixed out in the future."

That's the key to the decision, Fisher said. The immediate impact is problematic, but down the road, he hopes the eight-game slate will make it possible for Florida State to add some more high-profile non-conference games to its schedule.

"It frees you up if you want to play more national games and more series," Fisher said. "You can play a much different kind of schedule and I think it's a very good thing."

Let's get loud: An ample amount of background noise boomed through the speakers set up along Florida State's practice fields Thursday as the Seminoles did their best to mimic the hostile environment they'll deal with Saturday against NC State.

Fisher said he was pleased with how the team responded to the noise, noting that sometimes the added distractions force players to work harder to execute properly.

"It makes you focus. I was pleased," Fisher said. "We didn't have hardly any miscommunications."

The biggest concern for Florida State might be along the offensive line, where only Bryan Stork has started a game in a stadium outside the state of Florida.

Fisher said he's not worried though. The unit has performed well during practice, and that's been a good test.

"They've been in practice with [offensive line coach Rick] Trickett," Fisher said. "That's a hostile environment every day."

Down the Rhodes: Xavier Rhodes has been at the top of his game thus far in 2012 despite a knee injury that nagged him through fall camp.

Rhodes has already topped his interception total from all of 2011 by picking off USF's B.J. Daniels in the second quarter of last week's game for his second INT of the year. He's added five pass break-ups and seven passes defended, despite opposing quarterbacks routinely looking to the other side of the field, where first-year starter Nick Waisome resides.

The key for Rhodes this season? He's finally healthy and in shape, Fisher said.

“He’s was banged up a bit, but I think he got a little heavy at times [last season]," Fisher said. "When you’re a big corner like that, sometimes three, four, five, six pounds makes a difference from that perfect playing weight. I think he’s doing a real nice job now.”

Looking back: A win for either team this week will be significant in terms of recent history.

Florida State is 5-0 for the fourth time since its national championship season in 1999, but in each of the previous three occasions, it lost its sixth game. That 1999 season was the last time the Seminoles started 6-0.

Saturday's matchup against No. 3 FSU will also mark the first time NC State has taken on a top-five team in eight years. The Wolfpack have lost their last four games against top-five opponents. Their last win came in 1998 -- against Florida State.