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Florida State football vs. Miami: Staff predictions

All of our staff picks in one place ahead of Saturday's primetime grudge match between the 'Noles and 'Canes.

Dalvin Cook rushes against Miami last year.
Dalvin Cook rushes against Miami last year.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We've all got our thoughts on how this weekend's FSU vs. Miami game will go down. And here they are:

Bud Elliott:

27-16, FSU. Here's how.

David Stout:

It's Miami week, one of the best weeks of the year! I like the Noles to pound the rock and mix in some PA to keep Miami honest. I think Golson gets his first turnover early, and that may not be such a bad thing, as it will take some pressure off when he sees the defense respond. Aguayo will add a few FGs, and I think we will see SuperBeatty come through with some good punts.

On defense, the LBs' (in)ability to cover the slot and TEs concerns me quite a bit. It'll be interesting to see how Kelly schemes to offset this. Kaaya will pick apart the middle if given time, so I look for some serious blitzing.

If FSU scores a few quick TDs and holds Miami to TOs or punts, the 'Canes will lie down quicker than my grandpa at a family gathering. I think FSU lets Miami hang around though.

‘Noles win 30-24.


This should be the best offense FSU faces this year and probably the second best defense behind BC. I think Golson is the key. If he's accurate, FSU can get get up big early. But if he is off, this could be a loss. Cook could have a great game here. Give me FSU 24-20.

Evan Johnson:

I think I might be more pessimistic about this game than others on the TN staff. I'm worried about what we saw from the defense against Wake and concerned that Kaaya will kill FSU in the short game. Having said that, I think FSU probably didn't game plan for Wake nor gave their best effort. FSU certainly has the better players, coaches, and program but if Miami is going to beat FSU under Al Golden, it'll be this year. FSU 31 UM 23.


I think Florida State loses its first ACC game since 2012 on Saturday. Florida State has not seen a passing game or QB like Miami has in 2015. I think the FSU defense, up to this point, is a bit of a mirage. The stats look great, but that's against some truly wretched offenses.  Watching the Wake Forest QB get balls out easily to extend drives didn't exactly inspire confidence. The FSU offense is hard to trust, even with the small margin of improvement against Wake (Wake is horrible). Best case, Fisher has saved a bunch of things including a running Golson. I don't trust that. I think this offense just is what it is and will be the rest of season. UM 27 - FSU 13.


'Noles 27-17.

Clutch Beatty shows up when he needs to, as usual, and a more comfortable Golson leads the 'Noles to a nervy win. Kaaya gets his underneath but struggles to make explosive plays. Noles 27-17

Alan Mundy:

This is the closest these two teams have been overall in Jimbo Fisher's tenure. When rosters and overall quality are close, a few factors usually turn the game: turnovers, big special teams plays, explosive plays, 3rd down efficiency, and red zone efficiency. FSU is significantly better than Miami in most of those categories.

Score: 28-17 FSU.

Kyle Griffis:

FSU 27-17.  I think FSU's offense does enough on the ground to grind down the Hurricane defense and outscore Miami in the second half.  Kaaya will be able to exploit the middle of the field for much of the game, but ultimately, FSU's defensive line will be able to generate enough pressure to put the game away in the 4th quarter.


23-17, FSU. I think this game gets crazy, but UM of Florida can't keep up. Jalen Ramsey gets a targeting call for staring at a WR wrong, is ejected. Rivalry games!

David Visser:

I'll echo Rico's sentiment that this could get weird-- and maybe a little ugly. We seem to be re-living a theme of 2014, waiting week after week for FSU to put it all together and play a complete game. And this one features too many question marks for me to think that it happens against the 'Canes. If Dalvin Cook does play, how effective will he be, given the tendency of hamstring injuries to linger? Defensively, Terrance Smith's absence figures to hurt, given his length and ability to defend the underneath pass-- how well can Reggie Northrup and Ro'Derrick Hoskins cover, and will Lorenzo Phillips and/or Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane contribute? We'll see.

Florida State's unknowns aside, Miami certainly has its warts, chief among them keeping an increasingly immobile Brad Kaaya upright against a deep FSU front. I think the Hurricanes will play like a squad with nothing to lose, but Jimbo Fisher has had Al Golden's number at every turn since taking over for the 'Noles, and I think he may have kept a wrinkle or two in his back pocket for this one. 23-20, FSU.

Curt Weiler:

With Cook and Andrews' statuses up in the air, I think that Miami is able to hang around in the game, exploiting the middle of the field just like Wake Forest did and letting the passing game open up the field for Joseph Yearby. However, in the end, I think Florida State does just enough to make it six straight wins over the Hurricanes, surviving 27-21, possibly in overtime.


"Miami (of Fla), despite having a talent disadvantage, is going to win a close game, and even worse it will be a UM win at Doak. All good things, like our five-game win streak and the 2,225 days since we lost to UM must come to an end. On the positive side, beating FSU should buy Al Golden some more time, which is good for us."

That was my preseason prediction, but now that I am once again taking my meds and thinking coherently, and having had the opportunity to see the 'Noles and Miami (FL) in action, I am predicting an FSU victory. Our offense will finally find a groove with short and intermediate passes, the running game will gain ~150 yards (by committee), and the defense will hammer Kaaya unmercifully, causing several turnovers.

FSU 34 - UM (FL) 17


I think our DL will come ready to play and overwhelm their OL and immobile QB. Our offense will struggle a little, but Fisher will be ready with some wrinkles and despite the optics of last game there was improvement over the bye week out of the QB position. 24-17 FSU.

Andrew Miller:

FSU 21 UM 20: I think the Florida State defense will stop Miami in a final desperation drive at the end to clinch it. I'm still not sold on if the FSU defense will be able to contain Kaaya or Yearby. I do believe that the FSU offense holds a slight edge over the Miami defense however. One of the three FSU touchdowns, one will be from either defense or special teams. This is a perfect year for this game to be held at Doak.

Matt Minnick:

I'll say FSU 29 Miami 20, and basketball will end up landing at least one of the 5 star bigs visiting this weekend.

Josh Pick:

Jimbo Fisher owns Al Golden & Miami (FL). Give me FSU 27-17.