Fresh off eviscerating Boston College last week, the Florida State Seminoles will look do the same on Saturday when they take on an undermanned Miami Hurricanes squad.
Florida State defeated the Eagles 51-7 behind a sensational performance from quarterback E.J. Manuel. The senior signal-caller threw for a career-high 439 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles continued their trend of destroying lesser opponents.
Hoping to buck that trend is a Miami team that has lost two straight games and has seemingly lost all the good vibes from early in the season. While that downtick was roundly expected due to the team's youth, the Hurricanes have the talent to beat any team in the land under the right circumstances.
With that in mind, here's a look at everything you need to know about Saturday's ACC showdown.
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 8 p.m. ET
Spread: Florida State -21 (Bovada)
While the three-touchdown spread may seem massive considering the Hurricanes are playing at home, let's not forget we've already seen this team play one game against elite competition this season.
The result? A 41-3 shellacking at the hands of Notre Dame two weeks ago.
Considering that Florida State has made a habit out of eviscerating less talented teams this season, I can't see any scenario where you can possibly feel comfortable taking Miami.
Ultimately, it's a stay-away game because of the large spread. However, if you must bet on this contest or are in a pick 'em pool, jump on the Seminoles.
Over/Under: 56.5 (Vegas Insider)
Based on what we have seen from Miami's offense the past two weeks and the Seminoles' standing as the sixth-best scoring defense in the nation, the under seems like an obvious choice.
Well, that is, until you consider the fact that Florida State's offense has scored an astounding 46 points per game and the Hurricanes have given up more than 35 points in four of seven contests in 2012.
Taking such a high over in what should be a blowout is risky, but this seems like the perfect bad defense/great offense combination that could get make 57 points happen.
Florida State Injury Report (via USA Today)
OL Trey Pettis, Head, Questionable
OL Daniel Foose, Back, Questionable
DB Justin Bright, Head, Doubtful
OT Garrett Faircloth, Hip, Doubtful
LB Ukeme Eligwe, Hand, Doubtful
DT Moses McCray, Concussion, Doubtful
DT Derrick Mitchell, Back, Doubtful
DE Chris Casher, Knee, Out for Season
DT Jacobbi McDaniel, Ankle, Out for Season
DB Colin Blake, Shoulder, Out for Season
DE Brandon Jenkins, Foot, Out for Season
TE Dan Hicks, Knee, Out for Season
RB Mario Pender, Groin, Out for Season
Miami Injury Report (via USA Today)
RB Duke Johnson, Toe, Probable
DB Rayshawn Jenkins, Upper Body, Questionable
OL Ben Jones, Foot, Questionable
QB Stephen Morris, Ankle, Doubtful
WR Malcolm Lewis, Ankle, Out for Season
LS Sean McNally, Knee, Out for Season
LB Ramon Buchanan, Knee, Out for Season
While the ship has long since sailed on the Hurricanes' BCS dreams, Florida State is still in a position to play for an ACC championship if it wins out.
Nonetheless, after the first BCS rankings were released, a conference championship seems to be about the ceiling for the Seminoles' 2012 campaign.
Jimbo Fisher's squad, though ranked in the Top 10 by the Harris Poll and the USA Today Coaches' Poll, gets absolutely no love from the computers. Likely due to their weak schedule, the Seminoles are ranked on just one of the six computer polls—and they are ranked 23rd in that one.
With just one game against a ranked opponent remaining on the schedule, that computer hate is unlikely to subside anytime soon.
Keys for Florida State
On the road in what will be a hostile environment, the biggest key for the Seminoles is to avoid the complacency that cost them the North Carolina State game.
All it would take is one early turnover or a blown coverage in the secondary to get the Miami crowd in a tizzy and put Florida State on its heels.
That means it's essential to come out early and establish dominance early on. Vital to that cause will be quarterback E.J. Manuel, who has thrown three interceptions in the past two weeks after tossing just one in the first five games of the season.
If Manuel is able to stretch the defense and establish a lead early, Fisher could then start giving Chris Thompson a heavy workload. The sensational senior running back has averaged an astounding 7.6 yards per carry this season and has been the team's most explosive offensive force.
By getting ahead early, the Seminoles can pound the ball late and turn the game into a blowout.
Keys for Miami
With Stephen Morris almost guaranteed to be out on Saturday, Ryan Williams will have to step in and lead the Hurricanes' high-octane offense.
There is little chance that Miami will be able to keep this a low-scoring affair, so it's necessary that Williams steps right in and performs up to par with the starter.
Considering the 15 passes he's thrown this season were his first since 2010, let's just say the jury is still out on whether he can accomplish that against a strong Florida State defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, it's unlikely that the Hurricanes can stop all facets of the Seminoles offense.
However, if they find a way to limit Manuel's effectiveness early in the game and keep the scoring to a relative minimum, this could be closer than expected.
Simply put, without Morris, the Hurricanes do not stand a chance on Saturday.
Florida State has made a habit out of beating weaklings this season, and this is a rivalry game, so don't expect the final score to be pretty.
Score Prediction: Florida State 49, Miami 17
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