You never know what will happen when Florida State and Miami get together to renew their rivalry.
There are still a lot of questions for both programs and it's not for certain that those questions will get any answers in the game tomorrow.
Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, which defense shows up, and the road atmosphere are all concerns for the Florida State faithful. One name comes to mind when I think of the biggest concern and that's Christian Ponder.
Thus far he hasn't been very impressive, in fact his numbers have been mediocre all season and he's only thrown for over 200 yards once in five games. There has been a lot of speculation that his shoulder isn't quite right but the coaches have been downplaying the situation. That's nothing new though as coaches have a tendency of downplaying an injury so they don't give the opposing team any information they don't have to for game preparation.
The last thing they want to do is give the Hurricanes anymore of an indication that he isn't a hundred percent or that could spell trouble. You can be sure that the Hurricanes defense doesn't care if he's healthy or not. They're going to pin their ears back and be aggressive much like they have all season.
However, if there is something you can count on from him it’s consistency. He may not be putting up the big numbers this season but he isn't making many mistakes either. That exact type of play will need to continue if they want to hang in there with the Hurricanes.
My biggest concern is that he’s becoming very complacent in his play. Most teams will start noticing that he can’t throw the deep ball or even a 10 yard out route. This has been his problem all season, not being able to throw the ball with some authority. At times he’s even looked like Chris Rix (yes, I went there). He’s looked at one receiver the entire play which is something he didn’t do all of last season. The Hurricanes will tear him apart if he does that against their defense.
In order for the Seminoles to pull the upset off their going to need the pre-injury Ponder to show up or this could be a long night. He can’t continue to make these 3-5 yard passes and expect a big gain out of them. We haven’t seen a huge play from our passing game all season and that needs to change.
We know that he has the tools and smarts to be a Heisman caliber QB but we haven't seen that all season from him.
This is the perfect game for him to dig deep and be that dominate QB we were use to seeing last season. If he decides to show up for the first time this season, then I would give the Seminoles the edge in this one. Not to mention the last four games between the two have been won by the road team.
Tomorrow is a statement game for both teams and for the Seminoles it could be the win they need to give them enough confidence to carry them to the ACC title game. The outcome of this game can go either way but for the Seminoles to win the pressure will fall heavily on the shoulders of Ponder. He can help them define their season with a win here and let's hope that's exactly what he does.