How will the No. 9 'Noles do in their quest to reach 7-0? Our thoughts...
Click on over to the GT preview podcast for this, along with Ingram Smith's pick.
On offense, I think FSU and Dalvin Cook will feast on Tech's 85th-ranked rush defense. Furthermore, the GT linebackers don't move too well, so I expect Jimbo Fisher to continue hitting up the wide receiver screens to get his playmakers in space out wide.
Defensively, I really like how this 'Nole squad matches up with the Jackets. Georgia Tech didn't have to contend with Nile Lawrence-Stample last season, and depth -- which the Seminoles have up front -- is always helpful against a cut-blocking option offense. The FSU defensive front has stressed the importance of doing one's job this year, and that kind of assignment-specific football is big against the option. I also like the physical corners Florida State can present on the edge in this one.
I'd go with a larger score disparity, but Fisher has shown that he'd rather save things to facilitate future wins as opposed to piling on, and Cook could very well get some rest when FSU gets this one in hand. I'm also hedging some given the primetime, homecoming matchup that is really one of GT's final chances to do anything this season. 'Noles 37, Tech 20.
So before the season began I had Clemson and GT penciled in as losses. That prediction was as useless as Steve Spurrier on the recruiting trail the last 5 years. Tech has had horrible injury luck, and while I'm sure some of those guys will be back for the FSU game, GT is nowhere close to who many thought they'd be this year. Florida State has a healthy DL, and I'm confident that Kelly will utilize his knowledge of the Jackets to create a good scheme. The 'Noles should pound the rock with Cook and Vickers, and I will look to the WRs to continue to progress. My biggest hope is that the Seminoles can make it out of Atlanta with no major injuries. I'll take FSU by a score of 38-17.
GT's defense hasn't been very good, but they've played a good slate of offenses. I think they give up 30ish to us. It's their offense that's really taken a step back compared to last season; they're 84th in offense on passing downs, compared to 4th last year. That tells me they've lost a lot at WR. And if they're just going to block our CBs, I think 'Quez and Jalen are up for the challenge. I think they'll struggle to get 20, so put me down for 31-18, good guys.
I expect injury-riddled GT to keep it close for the first half, with the Noles going in at halftime up 7 or 10.
Cook will reach 1,000 yards on the season during the first series, and in just over the first half of this season, en route to another 100-yard game. Cook may very well double that total number of yards on the night, but I hope that the 'Noles will have the game in hand by the end of the third quarter and he will get pulled and rested so that we can give them a Patrick/Vickers one-two, or two-one, punch later in the game.
I would not be surprised if Freddie Stevenson has a breakout game against Tech, because I think he can be very useful in this type of game, and I hope that Jimbo listens to me and gives him more touches. I think our 2 TEs will continue to play bigger roles, as they are gaining and earning confidence, and I think Fisher will continue his excellent game-calling and superb in-game adjustments that we are accustomed to, especially as of late. Golson will have a nice game, but I think the odds are that he will have his first turnover, which won't affect the outcome however. I also think our offensive line will manhandle the Jackets' somewhat undersized defensive line.
The defense will adjust as the game goes on and shut down the hell-of-an-engineer offense more often than not, which is the best we can hope for against this type of offense. Fortunately, GT's lack of passing offense will allow our defense to sell out against the run and contain it fairly effectively.
FSU 41 - GT 21
Georgia Tech is one of those teams that whenever we play them I just have a terrible feeling about it. Whether it be injuries or actually losing the game, I have nightmares of cut blocks, eight-minute drives of three-yard runs down the field, or 70 yard runs if you're 2009 FSU. Despite their record, I have a horrible feeling about this game. GT's slate so far has been extremely difficult, and they have been a bit unlucky -- they are much better than some fans think, and the Vegas line certainly seems to back that up. So anyways, FSU wins, 37-21.
This really feels like a game in which FSU can roll. Tech has been on the wrong end of a tough schedule and a bunch of one score games, but they're so injured, it might not have mattered. The Jackets do not play that great on defense and are small upfront. Teams have been pretty successful running on GT, and it's hard to imagine FSU will be any different.
On defense, I feel FSU matches up really well against Georgia Tech between their physical corners/safeties and talent up front. I'm not sure Tech can stay on schedule enough to continue to drive the field. FSU could certainly come back down to earth after the Louisville game, but I'm not sure Tech is the team that can take advantage of that.
FSU 34 - GT 14
FSU wins this one, but I expect Tech to have some success, as they always seem to give FSU some fits. Add in that GT is going to want to give FSU its best shot, and FSU is probably rolling with some overconfidence. Close at first, pull away late. FSU wins 31-17.
FSU 38, GT 17. I think our offense will only continue to break out schematically, and I expect Dalvin to run all over this GT defense. On the other side of the ball, the biggest weaknesses of our defense are less likely to be exploited because the Jackets don't throw as much. I think the defensive line is poised to have a big game, and I expect the 'Noles roll fairly easily in Atlanta.
FSU, 31-14. Dalvin Cook caries the team again with Everett Golson throwing for between 200-250 yards with two touchdowns, one to Cook, and one to Rudolph. Defensively, I think the ‘Noles hold Georgia Tech to a season-low rushing total, and the absence of Trey Marshall will not be as much of a factor as many thought.
I think this is gonna be an ass beating. Cook will run wild against GT's tiny DL and slow-ass LBs. Look for Kermit to have a big night as well. On defense, the FSU DL is going to bench press GT's weak OL. GT lacks a deep threat at WR, and that spells disaster. Also, look for Derwin to commit Felony Battery on multiple occasions. FSU 45, GT 17.
FSU's defensive injuries will hurt it, but not this week. This remains a good matchup for Kelly's unit. Also for Fisher's group-- GT is just so small on the inside. 31-20, 'Noles.
I like Florida State's chances of winning the battle in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. Georgia Tech's defensive line just isn't getting it done this year and is undersized. Tech's offensive line has struggled against athletic, big fronts. Florida State is likely the second-best defensive front, overall, that Tech will see this year, next to Clemson. Florida State will still give up some big plays being undisciplined early, playing with its eyes. It also wouldn't surprise me if GT still manages to get some chunk yards throwing. The 'Noles score too many points in the second half and win 38-27.
Before the season started, if I had to put money on this game, I would've favored the Yellow Jackets. Now, I'm confident picking Florida State in Atlanta. Paul Johnson's squad has lost some close games to good teams, so they're not as bad as their record would seem to indicate. However, the Noles have an advantage on both sides of the ball. If Dalvin Cook is healthy, and Jimbo decides to feed the beast, I could see the Heisman candidate rushing for 200+ yards on the ground. FSU wins 34-24.
Under the lights at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech will jump out to an early lead with the knowledge that their season is on the line. After one quarter, the Jackets lead by a touchdown. However, after some adjustments are made, Florida State bounces back, takes the lead by halftime, and wins comfortably, 34-17. Dalvin Cook will go over the 1,000 yard mark but doesn't eclipse Warrick Dunn's single season record yet.
Georgia Tech is about to become the best 6-loss team in the country, so that's something they can hang their hats on. FSU 33-10.