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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisiana State Tigers

FSU’s offensive line is the most experienced group in the country with 307 games played and 214 combined starts

NCAA Football: Florida State at Louisiana State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The 8th-ranked Florida State Seminoles and 5th-ranked LSU Tigers will face off for the 11th time on Sunday when the two teams square off in Orlando for the Camping World Kickoff. The showdown, which is the nation’s only Top 10 matchup In Week 1, will be televised nationally on the ABC network, with the kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

For the second consecutive year, Florida State and LSU will open their seasons in a neutral site faceoff. However, unlike last year when both teams were unranked, this matchup will feature 2 top-10 ranked teams that both finished last season strong.

Last season, the Seminoles posted a thrilling victory over the Tigers in New Orleans and went on to win 10 games for the first time since 2016. Florida State blocked a PAT with no time remaining on the clock to hold on for a 24-23 win over LSU in the Superdome.

Florida State has won five straight in the series, dating back to a 40-35 win over the Tigers on Sept. 10, 1983 in Tiger Stadium. LSU’s wins over Florida State came in the 1968 Peach Bowl in Atlanta (31-27) and then again in 1982 in Tiger Stadium (55-21).

This year marks the first time both teams enter the contest ranked in the Top 10 and only the third time both teams bring a Top 25 ranking into the contest. In 1982, LSU was ranked No. 12 and Florida State No. 7. In 1983, Florida State was ranked No. 12 and LSU No. 13.

FSU is playing in a top-10 season opener for the fourth time in program history and first time since 2017 when No. 3 Florida State faced No. 1 Alabama in the first collegiate game inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This season’s game is the fifth top-10 season opener nationally in the last 10 seasons, and Florida State is the only program to be involved in two of those contests.

Florida State is 10-0-2 all-time and has won nine straight contests in Orlando since a 17-17 tie with Georgia in the 1984 Citrus Bowl. The Seminoles are 2-0 in season openers played in Orlando, defeating No. 11 Ole Miss 45-34 in 2016 and beating Duke 70-26 in 1995.

The Seminoles return 77 players from the 2022 squad, including 11 all-conference selections and the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Those players combined to account for 89.2 percent of FSU’s total offense, including 99.5 percent of passing yards and 76.4 percent of rushing yards, and 68.7 percent of its defensive production, including 80.0 percent of tackles for loss, last season.

The Seminoles’ offensive line is by far the most experienced group in the country as they enter the season with a nation’s-best 307 games played and 214 combined starts, ranking 41 games played and 35 starts ahead of the next-closest team nationally. Nine different offensive lineman have started at least one collegiate game, and seven different offensive lineman on the 2023 squad have made at least 20 college starts.

According to DraftKings, the Seminoles remain a 2.5-point underdog against the Tigers, with the over/under set at 58.5.

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  • Brian Pellerin

I’ve given my opinion on this game on three separate podcasts that you can find here on including Seminole Wrap, the Seminole Wrap bonus episode with Mike Golic Jr. and the new Sharpen the Point podcast. As I get closer and closer to the game, my thoughts get a little murkier, but my confidence in Florida State grows.

Early this week, I believed this was a lock to be an excellent football game that comes down to the final play. Now, I see a path for Florida State to win this by multiple scores. I don’t think it’s the most likely outcome, but I can see it. Where I struggle is seeing the path for LSU to do the same without Jayden Daniels fully turning the corner like we saw Jordan Travis do a year ago and the Tigers finding the run game they couldn’t all last season.

Regardless of those potential blowout scenarios, I default to this being close and the rule of averages tells me LSU gets one back to split this series. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them play again down the road to close out the trilogy either.

LSU 27, FSU 25

  • Matt Minnick

I like both teams’ offenses better than their defenses coming into this game. LSU is now in year two of Brian Kelly’s system and we know that Kelly’s teams can put up points. Plus, FSU’s defense has typically struggled to contain QBs who can effectively scramble and that was certainly true in the LSU game last year.

Meanwhile, FSU’s offense is loaded with weapons all over the field. Candidly, I’m just not sure how opposing defensive coordinators are supposed to game plan for the Seminoles. Load up the box to take away the run and you leave one-on-one matchups with a bevy of 6’4+ wide receivers. Play dime or nickel to provide some extra defenders to bracket the receivers, and Trey Benson gashes you. Play everything straight up and the tight ends rip you apart at the seams, while Travis can make plays with his feet. It’s quite the conundrum.

In the end, I’m expecting a back and forth game that includes several explosive touchdowns from both teams and also your typical first game sloppiness. Both teams go over 30, but FSU pulls away late.

FSU 41, LSU 31

  • NoleThruandThru

August 31, 2023: “We’re going to beat the heck out of Florida State”- LSU coach Brian Kelly.

September 3, 2023: FSU 38, LSU 31

  • LastNoleOfKrypton

There’s an old saying it goes ‘styles make fights’ and while LSU may be the more talented team (not by much); stylistically LSU struggles with what FSU likes to; FSU has shown a propensity to absolute punish defenses that over-pursue with the counter over and over again. I expect that to continue Sunday Night with big games from Trey Benson and Jaheim Bell leading to an FSU victory.

I’m not that keen on either defense’s ability to stop these offenses. LSU has terrific speed on the outside and I’ll believe that FSU can contain a slippery quarterback when it happens; that being said I have FSU winning a high-scoring affair

FSU 41, LSU 35

  • Juan Montalvo:

These two teams have a much more interesting distant past together worth exploring. The Bayou Block will be a heart in mouth moment for Noles fans for decades to come, but let’s take a look back at the 1980’s.

Florida State played five consecutive away games against LSU from 1979-1983. This was truly when Bobby Bowden played anyone, anywhere. You know what the Noles did? They won 4 of 5. In Death Valley. Before the Dynasty. Not bad.

Brian Kelly didn’t coach those teams. The Noles face a serious LSU program Sunday.

FSU 31, LSU 28

  • TimScribble

I think this has the potential to be a repeat of last year’s game. Back and forth drives, big plays, some early season sloppiness. In the end, I like FSU’s wide receivers against LSU’s secondary. However I don’t like FSU’s ability to limit a running quarterback. The game comes down to a FG kick and Fitz kills my soul.

LSU 31, FSU 28

  • Jon Marchant

It was a back and forth affair last year, where multiple special teams errors by the Tigers opened a door and a fumble at the goal line cost the ’Noles a chance at a multi-score win. In the end, the two teams were pretty evenly matched.

Both teams are better now than they were then. FSU has upgraded its WR and TE rooms, and still returns more than 80% of its offensive production, good for 12th-most in the country. Nobody in the country returned more production on defense than FSU, a high-floor unit that is hoping a returning Verse and Lovett and the addition of Fentrell Cypress can elevate them to a top 15 unit.

The Tigers are a talented and dangerous opponent. The best or 2nd-best on FSU’s schedule. Their defensive line is very good. But their secondary, with talent but lots of youth, seems vulnerable. Who makes fewer mistakes this time around? Can the Seminoles withstand the LSU pass rush long enough to allow Jordan Travis to take advantage? Enough to outscore the dynamic Jayden Daniels? I say yes. But it will be close.

FSU 31, LSU 26

  • FrankDNole

We will see a lot of purple this Sunday, but it won’t be the purple on LSU’s uniforms, rather it will be Brian Kelly’s face as the Noles dominate his Tigers on both sides of the ball.

I believe both offenses will move the ball early until the defenses get into the flow of the game. Some are saying that the team with the ball last wins, instead the Noles defense will surprise many and slow down LSU’s offense enough for Travis, Benson, and the rest of the offense to pull away in the second half.

FSU Seminoles 41, LSU Kitties 31

  • Perry Kostidakis

FSU and LSU match up so ridiculously well, nearly mirror images of each other down to the Heisman-contending quarterback leading the offense.

The key area where things don’t align, though? The LSU secondary, which still has questions while FSU has added firepower upon firepower to its passing game. Through the air is where FSU will win this game, but on the ground is where the Seminoles’ defense will need to step up to ensure that.

Florida State 34, LSU 24

  • Jordan Silversmith

In a lot of ways, these two programs are mirror images of each other. Starting with the preseason expectations, the Tigers and Seminoles each believe that they are playoff contenders, but both fan bases still have questions in the back of their heads, wondering if last season was just lighting in a bottle. Then, on the field, they each have an All-American defensive end, a talented dual-threat quarterback who made massive strides as a passer last season, and skill position players that few can compete with, headlined by projected first-round pick wide receivers. Finally, the head coaches are similar in standing. Both fan bases now put their arms around them, but are we sure that the seat will not get hot if each team gets off to a slow start? I’m not. Sunday night should fascinate football fans and see which team deserved the pre-season hype.

As far as the actual game is concerned, I suspect a close, back-and-forth, high-scoring affair. I trust Florida State to be able to throw on the LSU secondary, but conversely, the Seminole linebackers will have their hands full dealing with the legs of Jayden Daniels and the threat that Mason Taylor presents as a tight end. At the end of the day, as strange as it sounds, LSU may be deeper than Florida State, which will be the difference in the game. The Tigers were champions of the SEC West for a reason and now, in a second year under Brian Kelly, completely reloaded. They brought back their entire offensive line from last year and picked up multiple impact transfers on defense, headlined by Omar Speights, a linebacker from Oregon State. Conversely, the Seminoles do return 80% of their production on offense but have felt like a work in progress at times. I am just not convinced that FSU knows what their offensive identity is right now and who their best 11 guys are on a got to have it third down. Florida State will prove that they can compete with the top teams but do not have enough to get over the hump.

LSU 34, FSU 31

Florida State Seminoles vs. LSU Tigers

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

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