Florida vs. Florida State: Last-Second Preview of Epic Interstate Rivalry

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 26:  NCAA referee Matt Moore separates running back Chris Rainey #1 of the Florida Gators and defensive tackle Timmy Jerrigan #8 of the Florida State Seminoles November 26, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In what should be one of the best games of an already wild Saturday of college football, the No. 4 Florida Gators will travel to Tallahassee to face off against their in-state rival, the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles.

This always entertaining battle has even more on the line this year, as both squads are fighting for BCS glory. With just two losses between them all season, these two teams are ready for a war.

After a regular season full of upsets and overachieving, Florida and Florida State are not just fighting for BCS supremacy, they’re fighting for the right to call themselves the best university in Florida.


When: Saturday, Nov. 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.

Watch: ABC

Live Stream: N/A

Listen: Free Football Radio


Florida State Player to Watch: EJ Manuel, QB

As great as EJ Manuel has been for the Florida State Seminoles this season, he will face his toughest test to date against the Florida Gators' third-ranked defense (which is allowing just 11.7 points per game).

Manuel has put up monster numbers in 2012—throwing for 2785 yards and 21 touchdowns—but hasn’t faced a defense as tough as Florida’s in the ACC. If the Seminoles want a shot at BCS glory, they must beat the Gators Saturday.

As long as Manuel gets the offense going early and mixes in enough running plays to keep Florida honest, the Seminoles defense will stifle the putrid Gators offensive unit.


Florida Player to Watch: Jeff Driskel, QB

After injuring his ankle, sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel missed the Gators' meeting with Jacksonville State last week, but will return to action against the Seminoles on Saturday.

With an awful pass offense that ranks 118th in all of college football (143.4 yards per game), Driskel under center is a much better proposition than any of the other backup options in Florida.

While the Gators won’t need the sophomore QB to win the game for the team on his own, they will need Driskel to protect the ball and keep the chains moving. As long as Florida keeps the turnovers down, it will give the defense a chance to shine.


Prediction: Florida State 27, Florida 14

After what should be the best game of the day, the Seminoles will get the better of their bitter in-state rival and walk away with a huge win.

As for the Gators, a huge loss against the No. 10 team in the nation will destroy all BCS hopes.

With Florida dropping down the BCS rankings with a loss and Florida State climbing the polls, if the Top 10 shakes out the way it should, the Seminoles could sneak into the Top Five after a big win over the Gators.


Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of college football.