College Football Picks Week 3: Why Florida State Will Upset Oklahoma
The biggest game of the third week of the college football season features the No. 1 team in the nation, the Oklahoma Sooners, taking on the No. 5 Florida State Seminoles.
Obviously, as the top-ranked team in the country, Oklahoma is the favorite heading into this matchup, but a Sooner victory is far from a sure thing. I believe Florida State will win this Top-Five showdown, and here are four reasons why.
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Last year, Oklahoma took it to Florida State 47-17 in Norman.
This year, the game is taking place in Tallahassee which should help the Seminoles in their efforts to take down the Sooners.
Everyone knows that momentum plays a huge roll in football games and a major factor in who has the momentum can be the crowd.
In last year's drubbing, things got out of control in a hurry for Florida State. Oklahoma took the lead late in the first quarter and things just snowballed from there.
With the game being in Tallahassee this year, the Seminoles should be able to use that momentum to their advantage or at the very least, count on their fans to help things from getting out of hand so quickly.
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I have been a fan of E.J. Manuel since the day he signed his letter of intent, so now that he has taken over the reigns of the offense, I believe good things are in store for Florida State.
While Christian Ponder served a valuable role in leading the Seminoles as they attempt to reclaim their spot among the nation's elite programs, I always saw him as more of a game manager than I did a game changer.
Don't get me wrong, Ponder had some great games for Florida State but he never seemed capable of taking over a game.
E.J. Manuel has the ability to almost single-handedly lead his team to victory.
The Seminoles have needed this type of player at quarterback to take them back to the top, and I believe they now have their man.
Improved Defense Under Mark Stoops
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The 2010 game between Florida State and Oklahoma was defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' second game running the defense.
The Sooners torched FSU's defense for 47 points and almost 500 yards of total offense.
Since that game, the Seminoles have improved dramatically on defense, and even led the country in sacks in 2010.
With an entire year of Stoops' system now under the team's belt, I believe the defense should perform much better this time around.
I am not saying Florida State is going to shut out the Sooners or anything close to that. However, I believe the defense will be able slow Oklahoma down enough that Florida State can keep up.
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While Florida State is not the dominant force it once was in college football, they are still a proud program that believes they can compete with anyone.
Before last year's game against Oklahoma, the Seminoles believed they were on their way back to being a top-tier team, and beating the Sooners was the next step toward that goal.
With that type of mindset, the whooping that Oklahoma put on Florida State stung that much worse.
It was a rude awakening that maybe the Seminoles were not quite as good as they thought.
Now Florida State is out to prove that last year's game was a fluke and that they really are an elite team again.
They might not admit it, but the Seminoles have been looking toward this game all offseason, and they have revenge on their minds.
Vengeance can be a strong motivating factor, and Florida State has had that driving them in the long year since last season's game.