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FSU vs. Florida: Staff predictions

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Can the Seminoles wrap up their regular season on a high note?

NCAA Football: Florida State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It may feel like the season just started but here we are. Florida State’s regular season finale. As always, the Seminoles will wrap up their regular season slate with a matchup with the Florida Gators, this time to be played in Tallahassee. How will this year’s showdown play out? Will FSU make it four straight wins over UF or will the Gators pull off the upset and end Florida State’s regular season on a high note? Here’s what our staff members see happening under the lights on Saturday:

Matt Minnick

The game starts off sloppy, with both defenses exerting control. UF gets on the board first, but FSU takes a 10-7 lead into halftime. In the final 30 minutes, Dalvin Cook does what he does after half--take over--and finishes with 185 and 3 TDs. Another rivalry game win for Jimbo Fisher, as FSU cuts the UF all-time series lead back into single digits.

FSU 27

UF 13

ricobert1

Muschamp has got to be bitter. He leaves and his successor wins 20 games with his old offensive coordinator and without recruiting. Anyway, big dumb football wins the SEC East. While the UF offense is poor, the defense can play. This reminds me a lot of the paper matchup from last year, honestly. Avoid turnovers and score points in the red zone and FSU should play its part in sending a 10-win UF team unranked into a bowl because it just means more. FSU 24, UF 16.

cblunt58

UF has the best and most complete defense FSU has faced all year, even with their injury situation. The FSU OL fails to protect Francois, leading to turnovers and field goals. UF bottles up Cook and dares FSU's young wide receivers to beat them. Meanwhile, the FSU special teams also continues to struggle, allowing a back breaking punt return for a TD. The defense once again plays a solid game, but in the end it is not enough.

UF 21, FSU 16

Kyle Griffis

I'm going to take Florida State 24-13. UF's defense is stout and of course I'm worried about FSU's offensive line being able to protect Frenchy or open holes for Dalvin. The Gator secondary is also the best secondary Florida State's receivers will face all year. But if the 'Noles' offensive line and receivers can replicate their performance against Clemson on Saturday, I like FSU to win by multiple scores. The Gator offense is historically anemic. I'm almost as confident in predicting a UF punt return for their lone touchdown as I am predicting that they'll actually drive down the field and put the ball in the endzone on offense. With an 8pm kickoff in Doak Campbell, and a chance for FSU's senior class to be the first in school history to go 8-0 against Florida and Miami, I like the 'Noles to beat Florida for the fourth consecutive time and sixth time in the last seven meetings.

evenflow58

If this were the beginning of the season, I think this might be a close game and, for a half, it will be. While Florida's offense is a train wreck, its defense is quite good. However, injuries are beginning to mount and there's certainly the possibility of the Florida defense quitting if the offense can't move the ball. Ultimately, UF will score a few points through defense and/or special teams but it won't be enough. FSU 27 UF 13

TimScribble

Last game of the season. Jimbo Fisher rumors flying. A lackluster UF offense. A strong UF secondary. This has all the makings of an ugly, low-scoring game. I think it's going to be something like 16-12 FSU.

lastnoleofkrypton

In Cook’s last home game I expect nothing less than a phenomenal game from him. The defense should dominate an undermanned offense that is a good matchup for them stylistically. The offense will be stifled early but will eventually wear the Gators talented but injured unit down to the tune of a 24-6 victory. I expect Antonio Callaway to put the gators in good field position a couple of times via special teams but this will be the 2nd year in a row in which UF does not score an offensive TD vs FSU.

Andrew Miller

FSU: 10 UF: 6

I think it'll be a very low scoring affair and Francois will be unable to truly penetrate the outstanding defense Florida has. He is going to have little time in the pocket due to the true force of the defensive front, and when he does throw, he will have to get the ball past some of the best cornerbacks in the nation in Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor. UF, a team that has had a lot of offensive struggles themselves, has the possibility of having a deep threat and taking advantage of a depleted Florida State secondary as QB Austin Appleby did when he threw a 95-yard TD pass at LSU. Avoid that, which I think FSU can do, and the 'Noles should squeak out a victory.

Curt Weiler

The Florida State offense has its work cut out for it on Saturday. Florida’s defense may be the best all-around unit that the Seminoles have faced all season long. As such, even with all the talent FSU has on offense, yards and points are at a premium in this one. It’s scoreless at the end of the first quarter just like last year’s matchup. However, FSU’s offense eventually wears down the Florida defense, in large part to the Gators’ inability to get any traction on offense. For the second straight year, the Gators are held out of the endzone, settling for a pair of field goals in a 21-6 Florida State victory.

David Visser

It’s difficult for me to picture a scenario in which the Gators move the ball on FSU’s defense. And I thought The Matrix was plausible.

That said, I’m not exactly confident in the Florida State offense’s chances of creating many fireworks. UF has good enough corners to stack the box in an attempt to stop Dalvin Cook— which I think they will, most of the time.

However, Cook could break free against Florida’s linebackers, and, as was the case last year, explosive plays could be the difference in this one. Combine that with the fact that Florida’s offense is terrible, as well as Florida’s offense being terrible, and also the reality that Florida’s offense is terrible, and I think the ‘Noles will win a game that looks a lot like last year’s matchup. 23-10, FSU.

Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith

For Bud and Ingram’s predictions, tune into the UF preview edition of the Nolecast.