The Florida State Seminoles (10-1) host their in-state rivals, the Florida Gators (10-1), in a game that could steal the show of Rivalry Weekend in Week 13. Florida is still in the national championship hunt and the 'Noles have already locked up a trip to the ACC Championship game after knocking off Maryland 41-14 last weekend.
Still, there's plenty to play for in this game. The rankings have a strange way of being predictably unpredictable. A win over the fourth-ranked Gators and some losses in the top of the standings could be a crazy but perfect formula for the Seminoles to make it into the top five.
A national championship appearance is improbable for Florida State, but it is not mathematically out of the realm of possibility.
Look for both teams to come out and play aggressive defense in what should be one of the closest and most hard-fought matchups of the weekend.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Live Stream: N/A
Listen: Free Football Radio
Spread: Florida State (-8) via Covers
Will the Seminoles cover?
The Seminoles are in the top 10 in both scoring and in scoring defense, although they have not played a team with the defensive prowess of the Florida Gators. The Gators have the third-best scoring defense in the FBS.
That's come despite playing in the SEC, which is widely believed to be one of the toughest conferences in college football.
Florida State's high-scoring offense is going to meet the impenetrable force of the Gators defense. Something has got to give in Tallahassee. The smart money is on a close, low-scoring game. Don't take the 'Noles at -8 even at home in this heated rivalry game.
Over/Under: (44.5) via Covers
It's hard to believe these two teams' defenses could allow anything close to this as a point total. However, their defenses and special teams units are opportunistic and could add some added scoring to the mix.
Despite those outside factors, I don't think these two teams will put up more than 44 points in this one. It's going to be a low-scoring and defensive battle at Doak Campbell.
Injury Report via USA Today (as of 11/21/2012)
QB Jeff Driskel, Ankle, Probable
OL Ian Silberman, Shoulder, Questionable
DB DE'Ante Saunders, Knee, Questionable
RB Mack Brown, Undisclosed, Questionable
WR Andre Debose, Leg, Questionable
DL Leon Orr, Illness, Questionable
WR Michael McNeely, Foot, Questionable
DE, Ronald Powell, Knee, Out for season (11/17)
WR Solomon Patton, Arm, Out for season (11/17)
DB, Cody Riggs, Foot, Out indefinitely (11/2)
LS Drew Ferris, Collarbone, Out indefinitely (9/2)
OL Matt Patchan, Pectoral, Out indefinitely (10/9)
DB Justin Bright, Concussion, Probable
QB E.J. Manuel, Ankle, Probable
TE Will Tye, Back, Questionable
G Jacob Fahrenkrug, Toe, Questionable
OL Trey Pettis, Head, Questionable
T Garrett Faircloth, Hip, Questionable
DT Moses McCray, Concussion, Questionable
DT Derrick Mitchell, Back, Questionable
RB Chris Thompson, Knee, Out for season (10/24)
DE Chris Casher, Knee, Out for season (10/5)
DT Jacobbi McDaniel, Ankle, Out for season (9/30)
DB Colin Blake, Shoulder, Out for season (9/29)
LB Ukeme Eligwe, Hand, Out for season (11/16)
DE Brandon Jenkins, Foot, Out for season (9/4)
OL Daniel Foose, Back, Out for season (10/24)
TE Dan Hicks, Knee, Out for season (8/31)
RB Mario Pender, Groin, Out for season (8/26)
This is a big game for both teams, especially the Florida Gators. If Notre Dame loses and Florida wins, the Gators will probably play in the national championship game against either Alabama or Georgia.
The Gators are currently fourth in the BCS with a likely trip to a BCS bowl awaiting them should they end their season with a big season-ending win over their in-state rivals. Unfortunately, the Gators' loss to Georgia a couple of weeks ago took them out of immediate contention for the national championship.
For the Seminoles, this game is nothing more than for pride. They will still earn a trip to the ACC Championship game with the ACC's automatic bowl bid for the Orange Bowl on the line after clinching the Atlantic division title last week.
Keys for Gators Victory
The Gators have scored just 18.3 points per game after averaging 30-plus each week throughout their first seven games, according to ESPN.
Luckily they'll have quarterback Jeff Driskel back behind center this week. Driskel sat last week to rest and recover from an ankle injury.
Florida State's tough defense is allowing an NCAA-low 236 yards per game. The 'Noles have two tough pass-rushers who have combined for over 20 sacks between the two of them.
Keys for Seminoles Victory
The Florida Gators have relied on opposing teams' mistakes in the special teams game as well as on offense. If E.J. Manuel and the Seminoles can hold onto the football and play conservatively enough then they will be able to keep the game at a slower pace.
That, believe it or not, definitely would benefit them because they have a better ability to sustain drives and keep the clock moving in comparison to the quick-strike offense of the Gators.
This game is going to be a grinder between two of the nation's top defenses. Defense wins championships but it takes an offense capable of executing and putting some points up in order to get there as well.
Florida has some explosive players and a decent running game, but the Gators don't execute consistently enough to give the Seminoles a real scare in Tallahassee. The 'Noles will come away with the win in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle.
Predicted Score: Florida State 17, Florida 13