Another week, another slew of predictions as to how the Seminoles will perform over the weekend. Up this time: our thoughts about the ’Noles and the Wolfpack, a pivotal game for FSU’s postseason prospects. As has been the case throughout most of this tumultuous season, our picks span quite a spectrum. Be sure to comment with your own call on the final score.
I have no idea what to think about this game because there are so many question marks. Is it Francois or Blackman? Who won’t play because they “quit” on the team? How much will Murray be missed in the first half? Can FSU’s offense do anything? Florida State’s defense keeps it close until they can’t anymore. Rinse, Repeat.
NC State - 31, FSU - 20
This is one of the toughest games to handicap for Florida State. Will they suspend or limit playing time for any players? Who starts at QB? What is NC State? The Wolfpack are certainly more talented than FSU, but how much is anybody’s guess. I have no clue what to think of this game outside of the fact that the ’Noles likely come away on the short end.
NC State 35, FSU 13
I want to say that Florida State, inspired by the charisma of young Jimmy B.Lackman getting a shot, looks more energized and excited and consistent on offense. I want to say that a Seminole defense, encouraged, at least, by its initial effort against Clemson, pieces together its most complete performance of the year, with Brian Burns pulling off what has been nearly impossible and getting to Ryan Finley (plugging Tomahawk articles within a Tomahawk article, you know I’m a company man through and through). I want to say that the special teams don’t look like absolute doodie, and D.J. Matthews pulls off a nice return or two.
I want to say all of that, so I’m gonna, chances of large man waving his shirt frantically from a pole be damned.
Florida State 28, NC State 17
Better, but still not good enough. Even if there’s a change at quarterback, the offensive line is still a patchwork mess. We can only wait and see what changes Taggart will make after last week’s embarrassing loss.
NC State 28 - 24 FSU
This week isn’t really about the final score for me. Obviously I hope FSU wins, but I’m moreso hoping Coach Taggart follows through on his tough talk, and we don’t see a few familiar numbers on the field, but rather with their asses glued to the bench. Even if it gives FSU a higher shot at a loss, it would be a long-term victory for the culture of the program. It would also prove that WT is a man of his word and recruits (and their parents) need to see that.
As for the game itself, if the quitters play the majority of the reps: NC State 38, FSU 13. If the guys who truly give a damn play most of the snaps: NC State 28, FSU 27.
The ’Noles have the unenviable challenge of winning 2 of their next 4 games if they want to keep the bowl streak alive. Unfortunately, all 4 of those games happen to be against ranked teams. It’s not an insurmountable task, but it will be extremely difficult. In fact, it’s a very similar situation to the one that faced Chris Jericho in 2001.
Aiming to be the promotion’s first-ever Undisputed Champion, Jericho needed to beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin...IN THE SAME NIGHT!
Long story short Jerichoholics, he beat them both and won the title. In a similar fashion, I expect FSU to become bowl-eligible, but to do so, they will need to win this game. Brian Burns will be asked to break the wall down around Ryan Finley, Y2James Blackman might make an appearance, and Willie Taggart will have to bring out his list of 1,004 formations to steal one in Raleigh.
Carter-Finley has historically been a tough place for Florida State, but after this game, that will never, eeeeeeevvvveerrrr, be the same....again!
The Seminoles present us with the gift of a victorious Saturday...drink it in, man.
’Noles - 27 Stupid Idiots - 24
We’re not going to talk about how wrong I was last week; we’re just not going to do that because it’s the Return of the Black (Mack), Return of the Black (Mack) man; assuming Deondre Francois whom hasn’t practiced fully all week can’t go; James Blackman will lead the Seminoles one step closer to Bowl Eligibility. D.J. Matthews gets another punt return TD. Tamorrion”Trinidad” Terry scores twice, because that’s what he does. Don’t expect many sacks this week, because Finley is really good at getting the ball out of his hands but some timely turnover luck and FSU leaves Raleigh with a
Carter-Finley has been a house of horrors for Florida State over the years. Do the ’Noles bounce back from that Clemson embarrassment with a desire to play, or do they come out flat? How does NC State respond to back-to-back road losses to Clemson and Syracuse? Will James Blackman perform well against NC State’s mediocre passing defense or look flustered or rusty? How will FSU’s secondary and pass rush play against the best QB in the ACC not named Trevor Lawrence? Who all will be suspended for the first half and will it make a difference? Make no mistake about it, the Wiz Palace will be raucous. If you’re a Seminole, urine for an interesting afternoon indeed.
NC State 31, Florida State 24
Before the season, the Seminoles’ secondary looked like it’d be a strong point of this defense. Also before the season, I made what some considered to be a somewhat pessimistic prediction of an 8-4 FSU regular-season record. And then the season began, and neither of those things have come anywhere near happening.
And the former is of real concern heading into this matchup against a Wolfpack offense led by Finley. He doesn’t hit a lot of homers in the passing game, but relative bunts can become round-trippers given how often the Florida State DBs are out of position, fail to find the ball, and then leave much to desire when it comes to tackling.
FSU will be aided by the fact that NC State struggles to run the ball, unless of course, that changes against the Seminoles’ suspect linebacking corps. Offense is a bit of a crapshoot given the uncertainty at QB and the first-half suspension of Nyqwan Murray, but this has been a tough venue for the ’Noles even when things are going well. That said, the Wolfpack secondary has been the only one in the ACC to surrender more passing yards per game than that of Florida State. Whichever backend plays better may well come out on top.
FSU 27, NC State 33
Picks from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith are available on the Nolecast.