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Miami at FSU: Staff predictions

’Cane you dig it? We knew that you could.

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

The 2017 Miami-FSU game was postponed by a hurricane, moved to the teams’ bye week, and nearly moved again because of what could be another hurricane. So what could possibly be so difficult to predict about this one? Let’s spit into the wind:

Dakota Moyer:

In the preseason, we had this matchup circled as a potential trap scenario for FSU. The ’Canes have some playmakers on offense, lead by WR Ahmmon Richards and RB Mark Walton, and have a talented defense. At quarterback, junior Malik Rosier has not played fantastically, but has been efficient for the Hurricanes.

Florida State has not played up to its talent level ever since losing the opening matchup to Alabama. NC State came into Tallahassee and took care of business, while FSU narrowly squeaked by Wake Forest last week for its first win of the season.

Part of this has been because a true freshman quarterback is taking snaps under center. James Blackman has had his ups-and-downs, but he’ll need to be at his best if Florida State is to win this matchup. Expect to see Miami sell out against the run and make Blackman beat them through the air, especially if Auden Tate is still recovering from his injury.

Defensively, the main focus will be stopping Walton on the ground. Rosier is a decent quarterback, but Walton is the real threat of the offense. If the ’Noles, especially the defensive line and linebackers, can limit the run game, I don’t think Rosier will be able to make the type of throws necessary to beat Florida State over the top.

I’m torn over this one. On one hand, I believe FSU has more individual talent than Miami. On the other, we’ve seen that the ’Noles have not played at an elite level.

It pains me, but I’m picking Miami.

Miami 27, Florida State 20

Perry Kostidakis:

On one hand, Miami has been the better team so far this season, has a quarterback that can consistently hit receivers, a running back capable of accumulating yards and producing points, and a defense that’s held its own through four games this season.

On the other hand, Florida State, I don’t know, has won seven straight vs. Miami?

This has been such a weird season for the Seminoles, between injuries and a two-week delay from a hurricane, that I’ve almost completely come to terms with the NC State loss and the performance against Wake last week.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think there are serious flaws with this team and its culture. Just, maybe NC State is actually pretty good and maybe the loss caused Florida State’s confidence to be a little shook the following week against Wake. The team needed to know what it was like to win again, and frustrating rest of the game nonwithstanding, there are pretty few other great ways to win than a last-minute game-winning touchdown.

I want to be smart and pick against FSU, but there’s still something in me that tells me that the Seminoles are more talented than they’ve shown the last two weeks. Maybe this’ll be the week that hope finally dies.

Florida State 28, Miami 17

Andrew Miller:

If FSU plays this game Week 3 when it was originally scheduled for, I think the Seminoles would have been able to squeak out a narrow victory. However, after all the circumstances and UM’s young talent getting experience on the road and showing what they’re capable of, the Hurricanes will break the streak.

Week 3 would have been UM’s first P5 road game of the season, and a night game at Doak, which is one of the most electrifying places in college football. The pressure on first-year starter Malik Rosier would have been insurmountable. Now, with a great win at Duke, he’s ready to lead the ’Canes to victory.

The FSU offense is going to struggle mightily, the defense will once again allow those big chunk plays that Miami is so good at creating, and the Hurricanes will roll to a victory.

27-10, Miami.

Kyle Griffis:

I don’t know what to think of this squad anymore. My head says Miami will finally break the streak, but until I see it with my own eyes, my heart tells me to rage, rage against the dying of the light. A Seminole win would tie the overall series and potentially help right the ship for this season. And if Miami can’t beat this FSU team, I’m not sure they ever will. Who knows, maybe the ‘Noles will find a way to destroy that fanbase’s psyche worse than blocking a last-minute, potential game-tying extra point. Whatever that is, it still won’t come close to the heartaches from all the wide rights.

Florida State 24, Miami 23



Noles 23, Canes 21


Miami is a good team with a good front 7 and a plethora of talented skill weapons ready to make plays against FSU. Mark Walton has been dynamite for the ’Canes so far this year (averaging 9.5 YPC this year) and Ahmmon Richards seems to have fully put a hamstring injury behind him. On paper with FSU’s banged up line, mismatched coaching staff, and true freshman quarterback, this is a game Miami should win.

Key word? Should. Mark Richt probably should not have lost to Treon Harris twice. Miami should’ve ended the streak last year up ten points at home, and this year with a 3:30 kick-off and no prime-time, and rabid Doak Campbell Stadium to deal with, again this is a game they should win.

But they won’t. FSU’s defensive line will dominate a Miami team that hasn’t played a good, talented defense yet; FSU’s running game continues to shine vs. a team that has allowed 5.8 YPC to every running back it has faced. Combine that with some timely throws to a hopefully healthier Auden Tate, and you have a recipe for an FSU victory.

FSU 27, Miami 20.

Curt Weiler:

Hard to argue against picking Miami in this one.

The Hurricanes enter Tallahassee riding high while FSU has not yet pieced together an all-around performance which could even be deemed good through its first three games. Yes, we have heard this story before, but this one feels different.

I do think this will be FSU’s best game of the year simply because FSU under Jimbo Fisher gets up for rivalry games.

Furthermore, the thing working in FSU’s favor more than any other is the question of if Miami’s players, locked in a close game late, will let the streak enter their minds and psychologically give the game away.

In the end, though, I think Miami is too strong and FSU will lose a close one on a mistake by James Blackman.

MIami 27

FSU 21


It’s hard to have a lot of confidence in this team. If the offensive line can give James Blackman time, this offense has the potential to be effective. But if the offensive line repeats the last few performances, it will be a long day in Doak.

Miami has a lot of uncertainties surrounding its team as well. The team that can execute and not make mistakes, will win this game. So far, Florida State has not shown they are that team. Miami breaks the streak.

Miami 31

Florida State 21

Matt Minnick:

Before the season started, I pegged this as an FSU blowout. Malik Rosier making his first road start in prime-time against our elite defense. Of course the game is no longer in prime-time, Malik has already made a road start, and the FSU defense has only looked elite in one game.

Still, I’m a bit perplexed by all the folks I’ve heard picking a Miami blowout. The FSU defense has traditionally been much more dialed-in for games against Miami and UF, and Jimbo typically calls a strong game against the Hurricanes.

I think the biggest factor in the game will be road zone efficiency. If FSU can get TDs instead of FGs, I see a Seminole victory. This means Jimbo has to be aggressive in his decisions on 4th and short, Blackman has to be smart with his decisions, and the backs have to run with authority.

Ultimately, I believe all three happen and FSU ties the all-time series.

FSU 30, Miami 20


We all knew that our 7-game win streak would eventually come to an end. Here’s how I look at it.

On offense, our RBs are better, even though ’Cane fans feel Walton has the advantage. I’m not even sure if he’ll be 100%, and you can bet he will give it a go, but our group of backs are superior. The QBs are a wash. Our receiving corps consist of a banged up Tate and Murray, and you have to wonder if Murray has finally gotten his head out of his butt, so I’ll give them the edge even though I don’t know much about Miami of Florida’s receiving group. The offensive line advantage has to go to Miami of Florida, and I have no clue if they’re even any good.

On the defensive side, I’ll give FSU’s defense the edge across every position group over Miami of Florida’s defense.

The reason I think the 7-year win streak will end is because it will now be an 8-game win streak, the all-time series will be even despite their decades head start, and the Hurricanes will be our bitches for another year.

FSU 31 - Miami of Florida 21


Maybe it’s hard for some of the staff to pick against FSU. I understand the sentiment. But the product on the field doesn’t justify a pick for the ’Noles. Yes there’s been difficulties for FSU. There’s been real hurricanes and an injured QB. I get it. However, there’s more problems with this team than an injured QB and an interrupted schedule. The ’Noles have played worse each week. A rivalry game isn’t fixing the problems for an FSU team that lines up and goes through the motions. FSU gets down early and stays down.

Miami 38

FSU 20


Miami 24 - FSU 13

David Visser:

Something’s gotta give. Miami hasn’t been able to beat FSU, and the Seminoles haven’t been able to get out of their own way. The ambivalence throughout these predictions is both palpable and appropriate.

I’ve waffled on my pick a few times this week, and as badly as they’ve been prepared to succeed at times this season, the ’Noles have also had several close calls and some bad breaks that have gone against them. I think that the defense plays closer to its potential than it has since the Alabama game, the offense hits on some explosive plays against a Miami secondary that can be beat, and the universe evens thing out a bit for the Seminoles. Because the universe hates Miami, too.

FSU 20, Miami 17

As always, be sure to check out the Nolecast for score predictions from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith.