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Eyes on the Enemy: Florida State rival updates

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Let’s hope this isn’t the week that doing this column turns against us!

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of reckoning has come.

I’ve gotten away with doing this column each week without serious repercussions (save for a Twitter shaming from Alligator Army for, I don’t know, pointing out the obvious?) but now, the stakes are real.

Barring a shift back east from Tropical Storm Nate, Miami is heading up to Tallahassee this weekend to try to earn a win for the first time since 2009.

We’ve got plenty of space to discuss that below, so let’s hop to it.

Clemson:

So, we’ve all accepted that Clemson is winning the Atlantic, correct?

That’s both attempting jinxing and true fact, as the Tigers passed what was most likely their biggest road test of the season by beating Virginia Tech 31-17. The Hokies put up a valiant effort, and had things relatively close in the third quarter, trailing 17-3 before Clemson scored with around 8 minutes left, putting the game away for good.

For those that are holding on to Florida State division hopes (hey, I don’t judge), what needs to happen (outside of FSU running the table) is a Clemson loss to Florida State, coupled with two NC State conference losses. The Tigers have four chances to slip up against a conference opponent (Wake Forest, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and the Wolfpack) while NC State has games vs. Louisville, Pitt, the Tigers, Boston College, Wake Forest and North Carolina.

Georgia Tech is always annoying to play, but NC State obviously sticks out as the potential upsetter, even though that would be a pretty inconvenient for the goal of having NC State lose two conference games. It’s not hard to imagine them dropping at least two before the season wraps up, given that their schedule is pretty backloaded.

Clemson takes on Wake this weekend, so it’ll be a nice comparison point to see how the Tigers handle them compared to Florida State. I’m sure it’ll be fine, and not an extremely frustrating example of what it looks like when a football team is complete and executes according to their talent against a lesser opponent.

The game kicks off at 12 p.m. on ESPN2, with a spread of 22 points in Clemson’s favor and an over/under of 47.5.

Miami:

*extremely Rihanna in Calvin Harris’ hit 2016 single “This is What You Came For” voice*

BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR.

After a delay, courtesy of Irma, Miami and Florida State will finally play football this season.

The Hurricanes had an impressive win over Duke last Friday, taking an early 14-0 lead and using it to cruise to victory. Miami took advantage of multiple Duke mistakes (two turnovers, inability to convert third downs and a failed fourth-down conversion at the beginning of the game) to keep the game in their grasp, though heading into the fourth the game was still 17-6.

The final score was 31-6.

If you take a look at the stats, you’d assume it was a closer game. Duke put up 349 yards to Miami’s 409 and actually held the advantage in time of possession, but its struggles to turn yards to points was its undoing.

It’s a good thing that isn’t an issue for Florida State....right?

This game will almost assuredly be a stupid one, no matter who wins it. The Seminoles seem to have committed to being frustrating, and Miami has had its own interesting season, having trailed Toledo at halftime two weeks ago. Both schools have had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and this game always has some hilarious weirdness to it.

It’s just....wow, how funny would it be if this year, of all years, Florida State still won? Hurricane fans are notorious for claiming that every year is their year to win, especially in the last seven, so in the year that all the cards are in their favor, if they still manage to figure out a way to blow it it’s game over. Not only would it tie the overall series, it would make the saying “eight straight,” which is much more fun to say because it rhymes.

Curt Weiler had a nice piece earlier this week talking about some the pressure that’s in Miami’s corner:

On paper, just about everything points to Miami breaking its lengthy losing streak and preventing FSU from evening the all-time series between the two schools at 31 wins each. If both teams continue playing the way they have so far this season, that will surely be the way the game plays out.

However, some variables, as well as Miami’s newfound pressure, may shift the tide in Florida State’s favor come Saturday.

For no reason other than it’s absolutely hilarious to me and one of the more fond moments of my childhood, here’s Miami’s brawl vs. FIU in 2006:

Now, my favorite things from the year 2009, the last time Miami beat FSU:

Bernie Madoff pleading guilty! Barack Obama being sworn in as president! Swine Flu!

Michael Phelps getting caught ripping a bong! Octomom! Balloon Boy! Tiger Woods getting hit with a golf club!

Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift! The Black Eyed Peas releasing straight bangers! The movie “Up”! Me going through puberty!

Share your own faves in the comments, while you can.

Miami and Florida State should be kicking off at 3:30 p.m., though updates will obviously be given as the track of Nate becomes more clear. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and the spread is currently 3 points in Miami’s favor with an over/under of 46.5.

Florida:

The Gators this week cruised to an easy win over Vanderbilt, if you call it being a one-score game until a little under two minutes left cruising.

The Commodores, who the week before lost to Alabama 59-0, kept up with Florida pretty well, despite their quarterback’s inability to consistently throw a football. Dude went 18 of 40. That’s almost as impressive as James Blackman’s statline at one point last week being four of five for five yards.

Luke of the River, who started the game for Florida, is out for the season after suffering a broken collarbone in the second quarter of the game, firmly entrenching Feleipe Franks as the starter until he throws two picks against LSU and Jim McElwain thinks its a good idea to put Malik Zaire in.

One thing to note that isn’t actually sarcasm is that in every game this season, the Gators have scored more points than the last week. After painfully displaying inadequacy on offense, the fact that they’ve managed to find moderate consistent success is something to keep an eye on.

We’ll see in the coming weeks if that success has been a reflection of Florida or Florida’s opponents, especially this week. Though LSU has looked hilariously inept this season, the Tigers are still loaded with talent and the added drama of last year’s hurricane fiasco should make for an interesting time.

LSU vs. Florida kicks off at 3:30 on CBS, with a spread of 2.5 going towards Florida and an over/under of 45.5.

***

Questions? Comments? Trash talk? Leave ‘em below, and I’ll see y’all at the same time next week.