The No. 13 'Noles travel to Gainesville to renew their rivalry with the No. 12 Gators this Saturday. Here's how we see this one playing out:
As always, this pick is explained, in detail, on the Nolecast preview, along with the prediction of our Ingram Smith.
A swarming defense. Suspect quarterback play. Dalvin Cook. Two of the three are shared by Florida State and Florida. One is not-- and he'll be the difference. The Gators simply have to pay too much attention to the best player on the field, and this could open up a thing or two up for the 'Noles. I expect one bad pick from Sean Maguire, but he'll be a decent game manager through most of this one. FSU will need the new and improved Cason Beatty to help control field position, but it's a big game, and this is when he's typically excelled. The Seminoles are the better, deeper team, and come away with their third-straight win in Gainesville. 23-13, 'Noles.
There's nothing like rivalry week. Oh, the Swamp... sweet visions of Rix-to-Sam and Ward-to-Dunn dance through my head. I hope we get another great Seminole moment to add to the mix, but it all depends on FSU's ability to run the ball. Even without a few starters, UF has a great defense, and I don't expect Maguire to be very sharp passing with constant pressure. Cook should find some success, and I'd expect a few more Izzo targets, too. FSU got a good dose of hostile environment at Clemson, so it should anticipate the crowd noise. With no ACC Championship Game to prepare for, FSU should be laser focused.
This should be a close game, likely an ugly game. UF will give it its best shot, but I'll take the ‘Noles, 20-17.
FSU has been a different team on the road this year. If this was at Doak, I'd be betting on FSU to cover just about any line. It's a night game at the Swamp, however, so it will definitely be a challenge to our offense. My only hope is that they have at least matured to the point that they can cut down on some of the penalties and mistakes that have cost us twice this year. I have a hard time seeing us hit 20, but I have a very hard time seeing UF hit 20. I think this is going to be a really, really, ugly game, but the good guys will come out on top if they can at least break even in turnovers. 21-17, FSU.
A few years back, FSU and UF played in a very offensively-challenged game that ended with FSU winning 21-7. UF has 3 INTs which FSU converted into scores. I am thinking it could be the same result this year except, the roles reversed. I think Sean is going to toss 2 interceptions and UF's CBs are going to press and make life difficult for FSU WRs. UF capitalizes on the mistakes and wins 17-14. I'll gladly be incorrect.
Entering this game, the momentum sits firmly in Florida State's corner, with the Gators coming in fresh off three narrow wins over inferior opponents.
I think that Florida State comes in as a team that will win by 10-14 if it can avoid turnovers, as I don't believe that UF can consistently move the ball against the Seminole defense.
I think Maguire makes an early mistake that leads to points for the Gators but responds by stepping up to the plate and delivering a good game, supplemented by an angry performance from the recently-snubbed non-Doak Walker finalist Dalvin Cook, who goes for just shy of 200 yards and 2 touchdowns.
FSU 20 - UF 7
This game boils down to two things: field position and turnovers. Florida State has a stronger offense, but it must avoid stupid turnovers (I'm looking at you, SMAG). If the FSU OL can give Dalvin Cook any room to run, I think he'll have a nice game, as he always seems to get up for rivalry games (although, I'm not sure they can be called "rivalry" games for Dalvo, as he was committed to two of FSU's three rivals). The WRs will have a battle on their hands (we know how grabby UF's DB's like to play). The Seminoles didn't respond well when Clemson got physical with them. Maybe they'll be mentally/physically stronger this time. Jimbo Fisher finally used Kermit on some jet sweep action vs. UTC. Let's hope he has that ready for the Gators, as well. I'd also like to see Jimbo get Ryan Izzo involved in the passing game.
Both defenses are stout, and I'm not overly concerned with Florida's offense, as long as Florida State keeps Treon Harris contained in the run game. The ‘Noles have the advantage in special teams, as Aguayo is much better than any kicker the Gators choose (scholarship or walk-on). My biggest concern on special teams is the punt game. Cason Beatty has finally proven to be consistently good, but the punt team can't allow Antonio Callaway to get them on a return (UF's best offense).
At the final whistle, I think FSU covers, winning 20-13 (take the under) & starting the Gators on an eventual 3-game losing streak to end the season.
FSU 20, UF 7. Florida has really sputtered as of late, and its offense has looked anemic against their last three weak opponents. Unfortunately for them, FSU is much better than Vandy, South Carolina, and Florida Atlantic, and I like our defense's ability to shut their offense down. I also think FSU's offensive road woes will be minimized because the 'Noles will be able to rely more on the run than the pass, especially if some of the Gators' reported defensive line injuries are, in fact, accurate. So long as Maguire doesn't turn the ball over and the offense can turn coveted red zone trips into touchdowns, I think FSU wins its third straight game in Gainesville by multiple scores. FSU has carried a shutout into the 4th quarter of the last 2 games in the Swamp...I would love to see it actually happen.
Yes, UF has struggled to move the ball against, well, pretty much every team. Florida State is bringing an excellent defense into the swamp. The problem is FSU's offense on the road. UF has a stout defense and Florida State struggles big time when not in Doak. Both teams' punters better get well stretched out before the game, because they are gonna have to do work. When a game is essentially a coin flip, I'll take the home team. UF 13 FSU 10.
Like just about everyone else, I am expecting a defensive slugfest. However, I think our offense will be able to have more success than the gata's O and will be able to score a couple of touchdowns. I also think we win the turnover battle and would not be surprised if we get a defensive score. Lastly, our special teams are superior, and if the game should come down to a final kick, I am confident we can win it that way also.
UF will score points one, two, three, four, five, but dem gata's gonna take some jive.
FSU 24 - Muschamp's Recruits 15
It won't be pretty. Might even be downright ugly. But some how, some way, the ‘Noles drain the Swamp again. And any season with wins over Miami and UF is a successful season to me.
This a really tough game to pick. Neither offense is anywhere close to competent, and both defenses have bordered on dominant throughout the year. This game is likely going to come down to who turns the ball over more, which doesn't speak well for FSU, as Maguire is certainly a more boom-and-bust quarterback than Treon Harris. Florida has played this game all year where they just kind of hang around, get a bounce their way, and pull the game out. However, one thing they don't have that FSU does is Dalvin Cook. While Cook isn't anywhere near 100% and will likely not score due to his lack of top-end speed, I think he catapults FSU to a close win. FSU 13 - UF10.