TALLAHASSEE, FL—Nobody expected this, now did they?
The No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (11-0, 8-0 ACC) will be headed to Gainesville to take on their hated rivals, the Florida Gators (4-7, 3-5 SEC), in a matchup that many expect to be over by halftime. FSU is playing at their peak, whilst Florida is at their very lowest.
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Place: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
Radio: Florida State IMGSportsNetwork
Spread: 27.5 according to vegasinsider.com
During spring practice, the score from last year's game hung above the players every practice, so it's safe to say that Florida State has not forgotten last year's 37-26 loss. It's usually smart to keep emotions out of football, but in this case, FSU has some favors to repay the Gators.
Take care of the ball
Florida's hope at pulling off the largest upset in series history is to make the game sloppy, and to do that, they'll have to force Florida State to make a few mistakes. If Jameis Winston can turn his streak of no-interception games from two to three and the rest of the team can avoid putting the ball on the ground, there shouldn't be a problem.
Leave it all on the line
No bowl and no winning record for the Gators this season, so what do they have to lose? Will Muschamp is already slated to return in 2014, but most of his coaching staff may be gone unless they coach impressively in the final game of the regular season, so this may be the best game they've coached all season.
Focus on the name, not the record
The beauty of rivalries is that no matter the record, things can get interesting. If Florida can keep this in perspective, not be influenced by the current playings of Florida State and just focus on this single game, there might be a chance.
The junior continues his march toward 1000 yards. With 808 on the season, Freeman has three games left to achieve it, and it all starts Saturday in the Swamp.
A decision in his case may not be made until Dec. 9, according to state attorney Willie Meggs, so Winston will continue to play unless something drastic happens. This is his first game in the rivalry, and he'll do his best to boost his Heisman credentials.
Thrust into the starting position by injuries, Mornhinweg will more than likely be the signal-caller for the Gators on Saturday, since second-stringer Tyler Murphy is still hampered by a shoulder injury. Against South Carolina, he didn't look too bad but then last week against Georgia Southern he showed why he was the third quarterback heading into the season. Will he be able to make up for last week?
The son of Gator and NFL great Fred Taylor, the freshman has stepped up in replacement of injured back Matt Jones. Taylor has 483 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Jimbo Fisher on:
"Florida, to me this is one of the great rivalries in college football. One of the reasons (why) you come to Florida State. Very big game, always a very difficult place to play there in Gainesville. One of the most difficult in the country. They’ll be ready to play. I know they will bring their ‘A’ game and we’ll have to bring ours. Like I say, it’s the next game on our schedule, so it’s the biggest game we have. That’s what it is. It’s a rivalry game, it’s a game you love to play in on both sides and it will be a great contest."
Dealing with injuries like Florida has
“Knock on wood. Sometimes they come in bunches, sometimes they don’t. Injuries change your football team. That’s why I keep talking about our youth development. You’ve got to keep trying and developing those guys as much as you can when you get opportunities because you don’t know when those things are going to occur and they’re unforeseen things that are out there. You have plans for them but those plans have to work and when you have the number that they (Florida) have, I can understand. It’s very difficult.”
Florida has had the most nightmarish season possible. Eleven season-ending injuries, losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern, all while their most bitter rival is on the path to a national championship berth with a potential Heisman Trophy winner under center.
FSU should only add to that pain Saturday, when the overwhelming favorites go into Gainesville and win on the road for the second time in a row and three out of the last four.
Final Score: FSU 43, Florida 10