Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes
For the first time since 2004, Florida State and Miami will meet as unbeaten, top 10 teams. It's the dream that the ACC had when the Hurricanes first joined the conference, it's the matchup that hearkens back to the days when the two teams ruled the college football world.
Miami will be heavy underdogs due to the lack of impressive performances they've had this season, as well as the game being in Tallahassee. Regardless of spreads, though, this should be a fun one. ESPN's College Gameday will be there, and the world will be watching in primetime as the 'Noles and 'Canes reignite their bitter rivalry.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Place: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Radio: Florida State IMGSportsNetwork
Spread: Florida State by 22 according to Bovada.lv
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.
Florida State Keys to Victory
In years past, this may have been a bigger issue, but this Florida State team seems to have matured past their cocky ways. The Seminoles aren't overlooking the Hurricanes despite their status as large favorites, and that's exactly how the should be approaching this game.
Let Jameis be Jameis
Miami allows 200 yards through the air on average, and 200 yards to Jameis Winston is a pedestrian night. If the redshirt freshman phenom gets going, he could further solidfy himself as a Heisman front-runner.
Miami Keys to Victory
Winning the turnover battle is usually a matter of a few lucky bounces, but if Miami can do their part in limiting interceptions and putting the ball on the ground, their day will be a lot easier. A turnover can instantly deflate any hopes of a Miami upset.
Pound the run game
Florida State's main defensive weakness is its run defense. The Hurricanes have two great running backs in Dallas Crawford and Duke Johnson, so expect them to run much more often than throw.
Florida State Players to Watch
Yes, yes, if you had a nickel every time Winston was a player to watch you would have enough money to get Doak Campbell renamed after you, but until the redshirt freshman can prove that he's mortal, he's got the eyes of the nation watching his every movement.
The senior was nominated for the Chuck Bednarik Award this last week, which goes to the top defensive player in the country, and for good reason. Joyner is playing out of his mind, and he'll be eager to leave Miami with a good final impression of his play.
Freeman played his high school football in Miami, but wasn't recruited by the 'Canes until after his record-breaking senior season. Meanwhile, the Seminoles had their eye on Freeman since his junior season. He loves playing against Miami and making them miss what they could've had.
Miami Players to Watch
Miami's chances live and die with Johnson, who is Miami's most talented player on the offensive side of the ball. If he can manage to break off some big plays, Miami will feel a lot more comfortable.
The senior quarterback has had his fair share of struggles, but for the Hurricanes to compete with the Seminoles, he has to put that behind him and play like the NFL prospect that he was heralded as before the season.
How Miami Can Upset Florida State
Bleacher Report's Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down the game and look at how Miami could upset FSU.
What They're Saying
Jimbo Fisher on:
Saying all that, that game is in the past now, we have a great game and great opportunity in front of us in Miami. This is one of the great traditions in college football. One of the reasons why you come to Florida State, to be able to play in this game and then of course, both teams being in the top 10, like the old days. (It) feels good and this should be a great match up. They have a great team, they’re very well-coached. Al (Golden) has done a tremendous job, he and his staff and his players and we have tremendous respect for their program, tremendous respect for their players and know they’ll be ready for us on Saturday. We’ll have to compete and have a great week of practice. That’s going to be the key – getting great preparation throughout the week and executing.
What doesn’t he do well? We’d have a shorter conversation. The thing about him is that he makes big plays. He’s dynamic. He gets in space. He changes numbers on the scoreboard. He makes you miss. The thing about him is he’s very durable. He’s strong. He’s got great balance and body control. (He) catches the ball out of the backfield and he blocks. That guy is a competitor and a complete football player. He really is. He is one heck of a football player.
You can talk about the past, you can talk about the "intensity" of rivalry games and how "everything and anything can happen", but when it comes down to it, FSU matches up better than Miami in just about every position.
The same was said of Clemson, but at least Clemson had passed the eye test by beating a top five Georgia team and avoiding near-upsets. Miami has had to rely on last-second comebacks twice in a row, as well as narrowly avoiding a loss to Florida though they were outplayed. FSU versus Miami is finally a top 10 matchup, but unfortunately, the rankings don't reflect the quality of the team.
Final Score: FSU 46, Miami 17