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Eyes on the Enemy: Reporting on Florida State’s rivals

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Everybody has a new starting quarterback! Except Florida!

NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Hi, hello, hey, aaaand welcome.

We’ve decided to start a new series here at Tomahawk Nation that takes a weekly look at what Florida State’s main rivals (Florida, Miami, and Clemson— sorry Georgia Tech) are up to. Insert a cheesy cliche about keeping your enemies close here if you want, the main function of this is to give you the Florida State-specific context about news on other teams.

This won’t necessarily be a space to simply clown other schools, but the emphasis on that necessarily is pretty heavy.

Without further ado, let’s dive in:

Clemson

The Tigers named a successor to the departed Deshaun Watson on Aug. 16, tabbing junior Kelly Bryant to take over.

Bryant is the only quarterback on Clemson’s roster with playing experience, having made various appearances over the last two seasons. All in all he’s got a career statline of 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception, along with 178 yards and three touchdowns rushing.

His experience, combined with athleticism previously showcased against the likes of Miami, offers the most seamless transition at quarterback for Clemson, though head coach Dabo Swinney has already put forth the idea that his status as top dog isn’t secure.

"As long as Kelly Bryant does not go backwards, he will be the starter in the opener," he said last week when announcing Bryant as the starter. "But every practice and every play will be evaluated between now and Sept. 2. Then he has to perform on game day. He must continue his consistency."

He’ll get an easy start, with the Tigers playing Kent State for their season opener, but Clemson’s next four games are against No. 12 Auburn, No. 16 Louisville, Boston College, and No. 21 Virginia Tech. If Bryant isn’t up to snuff, we’ll see early.

If you haven’t yet, read our preview of the Florida State-Clemson game and check out SB Nation’s season preview for Clemson.

Miami

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Miami also announced its starting quarterback this week, officially declaring junior Malik Rosier as its lead man.

Similar to Clemson, the Hurricanes opted for experience rather than raw talent. The Tigers allowed blue-chip freshman Hunter Johnson to compete for the starting job, and Miami had high hopes for N’Kosi Perry.

Those hopes faltered, however, as Perry experienced an expected learning curve when he arrived on campus. At the beginning of fall camp, he was struggling with taking snaps from under center.

Rosier has appeared in nine total games in his two years at Miami, though mostly in mop-up duty situations. His most significant experience (aka games in which he attempted more than four passes) came in 2015, when he played a good chunk of a 58-0 loss to Clemson and started the next week against Duke, going 20 of 29 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 30-27 win.

(Yes, the same game against Duke that featured a game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown that shouldn’t have counted.)

Rosier’s first two games will be a season opener at home against Bethune-Cookman, followed by a road game against Arkansas State.

His third game? Oh, just a matchup against Florida State in Tallahassee. At night.

Read our preview for that game here, and check out SB Nation’s aptly-titled season preview of the Hurricanes, “If Miami has a QB, the 2017 Canes will win their first ACC division title.”

Florida

Last, but the least exciting news, the Gators are yet to announce who will be under center when they take on Michigan in Dallas.

The competition between Luke Del Rio, Feleipe Franks, and Malik Zaire continues to heat up, with none of the three showing any obvious separation. Kyle Trask was part of the race in spring, but seems to have faltered away.

A few weeks ago, it was Franks taking first-team snaps, though Jim McElwain said not to read into that too hard. In fact, on Wednesday, he implied that he could use all three quarterbacks during the season opener against the Wolverines.

As for the quarterbacks, it seems that they’re getting a little petty over the fact that no starter has been announced.

“Obviously it’s not ideal,” Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire said earlier this week about splitting the job. “I don’t think anybody in the quarterback room wants that. But at the end of the day, you just gotta do what coach wants. I feel like coach should be confident enough to stick with a guy and be able to roll with that guy because that’s best for the team.

“When you have all these quarterbacks, you still have none at the end of the day.”

“It is difficult because everybody kind of gets use to one guy and you’re trying to get in a rhythm,” redshirt junior Luke Del Rio said.

This is nothing new for Sassmaster Flex Luke Del Rio, who has brought it on himself to troll his own fanbase at every opportunity possible.

Our preview of the Florida State and Florida game is available here, and SB Nation’s season preview of the Gators is right here.

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