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Staff Predictions: Florida State vs. Notre Dame

Read the Tomahawk Nation staff’s picks below, get angry about them, and then head to the comments to tell us how wrong we are.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Florida State at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Florida State Seminoles football is gearing up to renew a storied series with Notre Dame Fighting Irish football — except unlike the heavyweight matchups of the past (looking at you, 2011 Champs Sports Bowl), FSU is a heavy underdog in the matchup, with the Fighting Irish having been a 21-point favorite according to Vegas consensus all week.

Is there hope of some potential weirdness, given that Notre Dame last played on September 19? What are some of the things that would be actual signs of progress for Florida State?

Read the Tomahawk Nation staff’s picks below, get angry about them, and then head to the comments to tell us how wrong we are.

Evan Johnson: One day Mike Norvell will have FSU able to compete in games like this. I truly believe that. It’s difficult to imagine that that day is today. As a FSU fan look for signs of progress such as:

  • When he falls over does the offensive lineman fall forwards instead of backwards?
  • Can you see the linebacker on the screen when he blows his coverage?
  • Is FSU able to field a defensive end?
  • Does Notre Dame have to commit more than four players to defending a running play...any running play?

Notre Dame 52, FSU 14

Jon Marchant:


Notre Dame 42, FSU 16

Juan Montalvo:

grass, numbers, and space. this is what is deemed to be the objectives of the spread offense. take land, use a numbers advantage, and operate in the space between the lines.

brian kelly operates between the lines, meandering in the half spaces of the legal, medical, and moral ecosystems. pivoting to find the narrow lanes, pushing the envelope downfield.

finding meaning in this life takes one through their own meaning. what is that meaning. why, of course, is there a meaning. one does not exist simply to exist; that is not a meaning amenable to any appreciably sentient being. we dream, we seek, we beguile ourselves and our insecurities with ostensibly fulfilling acts

football is but a distraction. a disruption of the degrading normalcy which is drilled in by routine, a stockholman pleasure. brian kelly will remove the pleasure. our captor will not endear himself. our swedish experience will not engender us to his face, purple as the northern lights.

toppling cranes of existential doom 48, florida state 13

Perry Kostidakis:

What Juan said, I think?

Notre Dame 48, Florida State 24

(though, I don’t know why, and I know I’m completely wrong, but as the week has gone on, I’ve kind of thought, if we’ve relived 2009 with Jacksonville State already, what if Notre Dame is the BYU of this season? Hahahahhaa just kidding.....unless?)


Hopefully you listened to the pod and heard my paint a bleak picture. Unlike my compadre above me I’m going to keep my words (and expectations) to a minimum in this contest.

Notre Dame 45. FSU 17


Y’all see that FSU landed a stud recruit for the defensive line?! Use that as the shiny object to distract yourself from this game.

Notre Dame 51, FSU 17


Good news: FSU defense put up its best defensive performance (5.8 yards per play) of the season last week! Bad news: It was against an FCS opponent, whose offense averaged that over the course of last season against FCS opponents! What gets fixed after a game in which the first-half you allowed 6.1 ypp? And against a team with multiple years of good coaching and recruiting talent on both sides of the ball? Some semblance of a pass rush and good boundary defender play ain’t walkin’ through that door. Covid-19 could knock out half of ND’s squad and I would still take them against the spread (-21). Screw this; I ain’t watchin’. Go Clemson.

Notre Dame 56, FSU 13

Matt Minnick:

The Irish seem like a near lock to edge a little closer to .500 in the all-time series against the Seminoles. The better question is whether FSU will cover the +21 spread. Florida State has been downright awful against top 15 teams lately, with the demolition at Miami’s hands the latest example.

But Notre Dame is coming into the game with the potential for a little rust thanks to a multi-week COVID related layoff. Additionally, FSU’s option attack will shorten the game if the ‘Noles are able to generate a few first downs per drive, which could allow the garnet and gold to hang around a little longer. I don’t see much hope for FSU’s defense against Ian Book and the Irish offense, but I do think the Seminoles can score at least 16 points. Put me down for a cover.

Notre Dame 40, FSU 20


I’m excited to see what Florida State’s new found offense can do. I’m not excited to see what Florida State’s still struggling defense will do. Notre Dame may score pretty quickly and put FSU in a big deficit. This may force the coaches to want to change the game plan to score quicker (more downfield passes, etc.). But I think that’s the wrong play, if the base offense is working, stick with it. Chew up time, chew up yards and make this as low scoring as possible. In the end, it’s still a loss, but maybe not as ugly.

Notre Dame: 42, FSU 21

Kevin Little:

I honestly think that Notre Dame’s offense is a good matchup for Florida State’s defense and by that I think they will only give up about 40 points instead of 60-70 they should based upon the eye test alone. Notre Dame is just a more complete team right now. They are flourishing under an extremely stable program with a solid coach in Brain Kelly. We have the stars to stay on the same field but right now we don’t have the cohesiveness.

Another factor is that both of these teams want to run the football. This game will probably not be filled with explosive plays. Both teams are going to want to control the ball and that will run the clock faster than we are used to.

If we can manage to at least be like construction paper against their defensive line instead of tracing paper we could possibly get some momentum on offense. However, thats much easier said than done. So lets go ahead and try to look for positives in what’s sure to be another loss on this schedule.

Notre Dame: 38-17

Austin Cox:

The last two weeks, I have been within a touchdown of correctly predicting each team’s score in the Miami and Jacksonville State games.

This week, like the rest of the TN staff, I have Florida State’s defense struggling to contain Notre Dame offensively. A lack of push from the defensive line as a whole has been puzzling through the first three games, especially considering two of the three contests have come against an FCS foe and a rebuilding Georgia Tech offensive line. Looking at the Fighting Irish, their steady offense could be a terrible matchup for FSU. Quarterback Ian Book will have a very efficient game passing unless the Noles can get something going in terms of applying pressure.

However, on offense I like Florida State much more than some of my TN brethren this week. I think redshirt sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis will continue to take care of the ball (the most underrated aspect of his performance last Saturday). Even more importantly, I think a lot of players on the offense now believe that they can move the ball and have consistent success against teams. Look for another strong day from the budding trio of running backs, especially true freshman running back Lawrance Toafili.

If you happen to be a sporting man, definitely take the over. But I think the Noles can push tonight off the back of a revamped offense. Hopefully, that can be something to build off of as we approach a much more manageable upcoming stretch of the schedule.

Notre Dame 48, Florida State 27

Frank DNole:

What is wrong with these people?

Winning this game will finally put FSU back on the national map and this win will make the playoff committee take notice that the NOLES are back.

THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY 45 - Touchdown Jesus fans 41