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Al Golden walked into a mess, but he needs a marquee victory.
For Chief Osceola, it is simple. Winning in Miami would be a huge confidence booster to the tribe, as the Seminoles would validate their ability to win on the road. A dangerous Thursday night trip to Virginia Tech looms, and while the Hokies are underwhelming this season, one cannot deny that Lane Stadium remains an intimidating host.
Getting another victory would also keep FSU in the ACC Atlantic race. As of right now, both Clemson and FSU have one conference loss each. If Florida State loses, it will fall to 3-2 in conference, and Clemson will get ahead of the Seminoles with only one conference loss. One should also remember Atlantic Division member Maryland is undefeated in ACC play.
Miami needs any kind of victory. The Hurricanes have to show some fight against the nation's best teams to even dream of a return to elite stature. Two of the team's three losses have come to now-Top 5 teams Kansas State and Notre Dame. Though those games were both on the road, the team lost the two games by a combined 93-16.
Al Golden seriously needs a marquee victory to show that his turnaround of Temple wasn't an aberration. Getting the Seminoles at home gives the Hurricanes an opportunity to play an elite team in comfortable confines, but not many fans show up. Golden has been reminding his players of all the Wide Rights in the rivalry to get them energized.
In addition, the nation's number one high-school linebacker, Matthew Thomas, will be at Miami Gardens mulling offers from both programs. This game might decide where he goes.