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

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At least Jim McElwain can go pitch his barbecue sauce on Shark Tank now

University of Florida Introduces Jim McElwain Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The first College Football Playoff Rankings of the season have come, and isn’t such a relief to not have to be stressed over where Florida State is ranked in them? Suuuuch a weight off your shoulders, am I right? Psh, forget bickering with random ESPN people on Twitter over the validity of FPI as a measurement of a team’s prowess, being 2-5 and brainstorming potential ways to not suck next year is definitely the move.

Clemson:

The Tigers fared well against Florida State’s biggest rival, Georgia Tech, pulling out an easy 24-10 win at home. The score might not look like much, but Clemson more or less dominated the Yellow Jackets all Saturday night, outgaining them 428-230 and racking up 21 first downs to their opponents’ 10.

While its defense handled business against Tech’s annoying ass triple-option attack, the offense sputtered a bit after getting hot early. Clemson punted on every drive but its first in the second half, and struggled to truly get its rushing game going.

That’ll be more of an issue this week, with the Tigers set to take on NC State in what may very well determine the ACC Atlantic race. The game is in Raleigh, and though the Wolfpack just got pretty effectively shut down by Notre Dame, they still pose a pretty significant threat to Clemson.

This is more or less an elimination game for the Tigers, who are No. 4 in the first “official” rankings of the year, as a second loss combined with a probable lack of a conference championship would be the end of their repeat hopes.

Should Clemson win, however, things will be in pretty good shape for them. Its remaining schedule is Florida State (ha!), The Citadel (shout out Kalik Williams) and South Carolina, and as much as I’d like to see Rumblin’ Stumblin’ Billiam Muschamp accidentally trip his way into a signature upset win, it’s not particularly likely.

Add in the fact that Clemson will either get a rematch against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship or a bye week vs. Miami and you’ve got yourself some pretty likely odds that the Tigers make their third straight Playoff if they take down the Wolfpack on Saturday.

Clemson vs. NC State kicks off at 3:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on ABC. The spread is currently 7.5 points in Clemson’s favor, with an over/under of 51.

Miami:

As much of a hater I am, I’d like to think I at least recognize real when real is due to be recognized.

So that’s why I’m completely comfortable raining all on Miami’s parade.

The committee validated those feelings, placing the Hurricanes all the way back at No. 10 despite being one of five undefeated teams. Only UCF sits behind them, and you can even make the argument that the Knights have equal or better quality wins as Miami.

The Hurricanes once again struggled their way through a win, receiving the blessing of going up against 1-8 North Carolina’s third-string quarterback. Nathan Elliott threw three interceptions, and Miami still needed to force a turnover with about two minutes left to preserve the win.

Malik Rosier’s statline looked like one of mine after a Madden game, with the junior going 13 of 38 for 356 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Rosier averages 36 attempts a game, which isn’t ridiculous, but the amount he’s been throwing over the last few weeks with Miami’s run game struggling might catch up to the ‘Canes eventually.

This week, Miami takes on Virginia Tech for what should very well be the ACC Coastal championship game. The Hokies have three ACC games (Georgia Tech, Pitt, Virginia) after this and Miami has two (Virginia and Pitt), but they should be relatively manageable.

Since Virginia Tech already has a conference loss, however, should they win this game and then drop one to any of those three teams while Miami wins out, the Hurricanes would still make the ACC Championship.

Tech hasn’t had too exciting of a season, starting the year off with a win over then-No. 22 West Virginia and just kind of achieving expectations since then. They fought relatively valiantly against Clemson a month ago, but still lost 31-17. If you’re looking at common opponents between the Hokies and Hurricanes to get a sense of how things might go, Virginia Tech beat North Carolina 59-7 and Duke 24-3 while Miami beat the former by the previously aforementioned score of 24-19 and the latter 31-6.

Check back here next week for either laughs or laments.

Miami vs. Virginia Tech kicks off at 8 p.m. in Miami, and will be broadcast on ABC. The spread is currently 2.5 in Virginia Tech’s favor, with an over/under of 50.

Florida:

A list of people and things that Jim McElwain looks like:

  1. Jim Bob Duggar
  2. The Oregon State logo
  3. This tiny hamster wearing a football helmet
  4. Somebody who would get naked and lay on top of a shark
  5. A wasted two-and-a-half years and potentially $12 million

Leave it to Florida to get lucky that their coach would make up death threats so that they could finally fire him, and leave it to Florida that that coach would be the first-ever to make the SEC Championship in his first two years on the job.

McElwain’s tenure embodied so many hilarious aspects, from his faker-than-imitation-crab folksy approach with the media to his bungling of quarterbacks after being proclaimed a guru to accidentally having nine players suspended for what’s looking like the whole season to getting a ten-year contract extension four months before getting fired to selling what is probably garbage ass barbecue sauce in the stadium to GETTING ACCUSED OF CUDDLING A SHARK NAKED.

He offered a source of humor that’ll be significantly missed in a season as miserable as this, and my heart hurts for it.

Florida’s game against Georgia went just as you expected it would go, except maybe with a lot less passing. Jake Fromm went 4-7 the entire day, which is a statline you’d expect maybe from a FCS school in a 26-20 win over Florida, not in a 42-7 win over them.

This week’s matchup against Missouri is relatively even, with the Tigers coming in at 3-5. They’ve somehow managed to put up 72, 68 and 52 points in games this year while also falling to the likes of Purdue and Kentucky. This is going to be a gross, disgusting game, and I’d advise you to keep any and all children under the age of 13 from watching.

Florida vs. Missouri kicks off at 12 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The spread is currently three points in Missouri’s favor, with an over/under of 61.5.

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