An all-Sunshine State rivalry gets renewed this weekend as the Florida State Seminoles visit the no. 17 Miami Hurricanes. The luster is off this rivalry a little bit with Florida State experiencing a down season. However, you can usually throw the records out when these two teams get together. Of course, this time around the Hurricanes is 12.5-point favorites.
Despite plenty of bad optics, Florida State enters this game at 3-2 on the season. Since their lopsided defeat against Syracuse a few weeks ago, the Seminoles have bounced back with wins against Northern Illinois and Louisville. Of course, FSU had to overcome a 14-point 4th quarter deficit in that game. It remains to be seen whether that comeback will serve as a spark for Florida State or merely a fortunate occurrence against a mediocre Louisville team.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have been red-hot since their season-opening loss to LSU. Miami’s wins during their current four-game winning streak have come against the likes of Toledo and North Carolina, but they’ve been in control of every game. The Hurricanes also have a favorable schedule from here on out. If they can keep winning, they may be able to move back into the top-10 and the College Football Playoff Conversation.
A Good Debut
Even with nothing going terribly wrong, the Hurricanes made a change at quarterback last week, starting freshman N’Kosi Perry over senior Malik Rosier. Perry wasn’t asked to do much against North Carolina, making only 12 throws, but he did look the part. Miami was able to lean on a fantastic running game and a defense that won’t stop creating takeaways.
Of course, Florida State will be a big step up in competition from every team the Hurricanes have played since losing to LSU. The results may not be ideal, but the talent on Florida State’s roster is still there. Specifically, the Seminoles have been strong against the run all season. If that trend continues against Miami, they can force the young quarterback to beat them with his arm.
Still Not Sold
The offense has been a problem for the Seminoles most of the season, at least against good teams. The managed just three points against Virginia Tech and seven against Syracuse. FSU was also limited to 14 points against an average-at-best Louisville team until a couple of big plays in the 4th quarter. When the Seminoles have managed to hit on big plays, they’ve been in the passing game. Florida State is averaging less than 100 yards per game rushing, which seems impossible with a running back as talented as Cam Akers.
The question this week is whether last week’s success late in the game can translate against a quality defensive team like Miami. The Hurricanes have been strong defensively all season. Even in their loss to LSU, they gave up less than 300 total yards. Even with Deondre Francois throwing six touchdown passes and just one interception over the past two weeks, the Seminoles have a tough task ahead of them.
Caught in the Storm
As much as this rivalry breeds close, competitive games, the Seminoles have done little this season to make us think they can hang with the Hurricanes for four quarters. Given Florida State’s inability to run the ball this year, those big passing plays that have saved them the past couple of weeks may not be there. Bet on the Miami covering the 12.5-point spread against Florida State.