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Eyes on the Enemy: FSU rival rundown

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Thank God for Florida, because otherwise, this column would’ve gotten extremely depressing.

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I almost forgot what it was like to write one of these after an FSU win.

At least I have plenty of practice writing them after a loss, so next week won’t be bad.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Clemson week, though I guess we skipped that whole #ClemsonHateWeek thing since apparently 3-5 teams don’t get the privilege of being haters.

Which is where I come in, I guess?

Clemson:

The Tigers escaped the feared Carter-Finely Stadium last week with a 38-31 win over NC State. The Wolfpack more or less blew it, holding a 21-17 lead well into the third quarter.

In the second half, NC State had two drives longer than six plays, one of which being a four-minute, 81-yard, 13-play drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a field goal, leaving the Wolfpack with 1:40 to try and tie things up at 38 a piece.

And somehow, miraculously, they got the ball back, stuffing Kelly Bryant on three straight runs.

Ryan Finely marched up the field, getting NC State to Clemson’s 28-yard line before a potentially game-clinching pass was negated by an illegal shift. His next throw would be intercepted, and Clemson would go on to win.

Is Clemson struggling with NC State significant? What about the fact that, outside of the second half last Saturday, the Tigers haven’t really gotten their offense going since an Oct. 1 win over Virginia Tech? Could FSU beating Syracuse, the team that beat Clemson, be a sign of things to come?

Well, no, but those things sound nice.

Realistically, I think that the game could be much closer than some expect, the key words here being I think and could. I expect that Jimbo Fisher will have kept some stuff under wraps so far this season so as to not put things on film, and could go full balls-to-the-wall to try and pull off a shocker. Outside of Cam Akers’ throw against Boston College, we haven’t exactly seen too much trickery from the Seminoles, and this is the game to do it.

The Tigers currently have the No. 21 overall rushing defense and No. 16 according to S&P+ ratings, while having the No. 1 passing defense, so methinks that the emphasis should be heavy on the run, especially with Rawques Patrick back in the mix.

In the end, Clemson will be rubbing a rock and at least three players will trip going down that hill, and that might be the biggest victory of all.

Florida State vs. Clemson kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN, with the spread currently 15.5 points in Clemson’s favor and the over/under sitting at 46.

Miami:

So last week, I said that I would give credit when credit is due, and I think, finally, I have to give at least partial credit.

Yes, Malik Rosier threw three interceptions, but Miami got a win over a ranked opponent. Yes, Virginia Tech blew any opportunity it had to get an edge in this game, including fumbling away a ball in Miami territory after catching the third of Rosier’s picks when the score was 14-10, but Miami won 28-10 over a team that has maybe one significant win. Yes, the Hurricanes are still ranked No. 10 despite being one of only four undefeated Power Five teams, but Miami won.

Just as the 2017 season has brought about the demise of both 4-8 jokes and seven years straight ones, another tireless meme is also about to meet a bitter end: Miami never making the ACC Championship.

While the Hurricanes could very likely lose to Notre Dame this weekend, its remaining ACC schedule is pretty manageable. Virginia and Pittsburgh aren’t exactly terrifying, and in order for somebody to make it in over Miami, the Hurricanes would have to drop both games and Virginia, not Virginia Tech, would have to win out. The Hokies already two conference losses, and Miami holds the tiebreaker over them.

That means that the Cavaliers would have to beat Louisville, Miami and Tech to close out the season, which I don’t know if you know much about Virginia football but uh, that’s not very likely.

It’s going to be hilarious seeing Miami fans try to assimilate into Charlotte, North Carolina culture. The idea of a heavily-tattooed man, several of which being Chinese letters, with a cut-off replica Sean Taylor jersey slowly sipping fine wine and sampling cheeses is a mental image that is currently near and dear to me.

It’s going to be even more hilarious when if Notre Dame shellacks Miami this weekend, Clemson does the same in the ACC Championship and then the Hurricanes get matched up with Alabama in the Orange Bowl and then get, you guess it, shellacked.

(That rustling sound you hear is me grasping at straws. Miami’s accidentally going to go undefeated and make the Playoff, aren’t they?)

Notre Dame vs. Miami kicks off at 8 p.m. on ABC, with a spread of 3.5 currently in Notre Dame’s favor and an over/under of 57.5.

Florida:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Thank God for Florida, because otherwise, this column would’ve gotten extremely depressing.

A week after ousting Sir James McElwain, First of His Name, Ruiner of Quarterbacks and Humper of Sharks, the Gators honored him by turning in a true-to-form McElwain performance.

The game was only 7-0 after the first, but then things got really out of hand, with Missouri taking a 28-6 lead at halftime.

I don’t know what Florida ever did to piss off Barry Odom but Missouri kicked a field goal with 42 second left in the game, just to be dicks, and it was hilarious. At least last week’s blowout came at the hands of the future No. 1 team in the country, not a now-4-5 team.

The Gators now have to worry about Will Muschamp’s Revenge, which is similar to Montezuma’s Revenge in that it involves diarrhea, except in the form of offensive football. And it’s not even like Florida has to be on upset alert: South Carolina is legitimately better, sitting at 6-3 after playing Georgia close last week.

Is there anything more poetic than Muschamp, beautiful architect of the 4-8 season, setting up Florida for a potential 3-8 season? Be still, my beating heart.

Florida vs. South Carolina kicks off at 12 p.m., and will be broadcast on CBS. The spread is currently 6.5 in the Gamecocks’ favor, with an over/under of 45.5.

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