It's October 6th and Florida State has two losses. These are words that I wouldn't have believed before the season started. However, this team has struggled mightily, most noticeably the defense, compared to expectations and so, all hope of an Atlantic Division title is lost. There are, though, still important games left on the Seminoles' schedule. The first of these is slated for Saturday in the form of a road game against an undefeated Miami team. But how do our staff members believe the 'Noles will fare in Saturday's rivalry game?
FSU matches up better with Miami than it did with UNC but it's still a very tough match-up considering the Seminoles' deficiencies at the star position & at linebacker.
This defense needs to press, and it needs to blitz because the pass rush just isn't good enough without that help. Miami has proved that it plays more fundamentally sound football on defense but the lack of good teams on their schedule will hurt them against Florida State. Going mostly based on blind faith, a revived running game with an in-sync offensive line and Dalvin Cook, who doesn't lose to teams from Florida often tending to go for 200+ yards versus them leads FSU to jump out to a big lead in a shocking turn of events before barely holding off a furious Miami rally. FSU 38 UM 35
I think this game will be decided early. I've heard many people posit that FSU will come out with a lot of effort against Miami as many of FSU's players are from South Florida and I can certainly see that happening. However, what happens if the Hurricanes gets up 14-0? Do those players phone it in? At least on defense, I think that's a strong possibility. I think you could say the same of Miami as both the program and the new head coach have shown a willingness to roll over in big games when things don't go their way. In the end, I think Miami's hunger for the win is greater than FSU's and, more importantly, I think the Canes will do a better job of...well...doing their job.
Miami 38 - FSU 28
FSU is reeling. UM smells blood. This just feels like a disaster waiting to happen. Miami will sell out to stop Cook and dare Deondre Francois to beat them through the air. Meanwhile, the FSU defense will continue to look confused and, at times, disinterested, giving up chunk plays by the handful. This one is never close and Florida State adds a late score to try to make it look more respectable.
UM 41, FSU 23
Cook does what Cook does against teams from the state of FL and the defense finds a way to create (or luck into) a turnover or two. Some how, some way, the Noles extend the streak to seven.
It's been a rough few weeks for Florida State with 2 losses in 3 games. The defense is really struggling and I think that doesn't change this game. Brad Kaaya is probably going to pick the secondary apart. Tight ends will run freely and the underneath routes will be wide open. Cook continues his success and this is another FSU shoot out game. In the end, I think Miami ends the streak and wins 42-35.
Dylan is predicting a 35-34 Florida State win. For his full thoughts, check out his half of the Q & A on State of the U.
Let me just say this: expect a high-scoring game, & the team with the ball last wins.
Florida State 27 Miami 24 - Just as I correctly predicted last season, I think this game will come down to one final Miami drive which the Hurricanes will not be able to convert. To clarify, it'll be due to Brad Kaaya's execution, not the Florida State defense. The FSU offense will do just enough to get the job done as I think the veteran and experience on Florida State will be too much for the young Miami Hurricanes.
Miami is undefeated and enters its yearly matchup with Florida State with a higher ranking the polls for the first time since 2010, Now, UM's schedule can be brought into question. Wins over Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, and Georgia Tech have not exactly showed us a great deal about how good this team is. Nonetheless, the Canes are favored to put an end to Florida State's six-game win streak in the rivalry. Will they do it? I think so. Cook will show up, as he always does when going up against his hometown team, and I believe Francois takes a step forward. The deciding factor in my prediction, however, is the Seminoles' secondary. After watching this team closely over the first five games, nothing I have seen instills confidence in me that this unit will have figured it out this week. I expect Kaaya to shred the FSU defense and take another step forward in Miami's breakout season at the expense of Florida State.
Miami - 38 FSU - 28
I have no idea how good Miami really is-- I'm not sure anyone actually does. But on the other side of the ball, we've gotten plenty of looks at just how bad FSU can be against P5 opposition. FSU is quite healthy for this one, physically speaking. But the 'Noles have now lost via a blowout as well as last-second heroics, so I'm not so sure about the health of their respective psyches. At this point, it feels like they're on their heels, waiting for things to go wrong, instead of charging downhill to effect positive change.
Miami will make plenty of plays, and FSU will show more hustle and fight than it has on several occasions this season, but the self doubt plays just enough of a role to end the Seminoles' winning streak against UM. 34-30, 'Canes.
Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith
Bud and Ingram will reveal their predictions, as always, on the Miami preview episode of the Nolecast.