In what could be the biggest game of Florida State's and Miami's seasons, the season opener in Tallahassee, Florida could set the tone for both of these ACC teams' seasons. Not only could this game decide what happens at the end of the season with the ACC championship game, but depending on how both teams perform in their other game, could have implications on the national level.
To keep the old addative true, and to keep our enemies closer, the Seminoles must know Miami's strengths and weaknesses.
Things to watch for on the offense: Sophomore WR Travis Benjamin will be the U's biggest offensive tool. The new coordinator Mark Whipple's first priority is to make sure there is an oppertunity for an aireal strike, fronted by Benjamin.
Everyone knows that Florida speed cannot be coached, and the speed this man has could be very, very dangerous. As a freshman, he did damage to many teams not only as a WR, but also by taking hand-offs; this year, he could be strong enough to cause coordinators to design their defensive plans around him entirely.
Things to watchfor on the defensive end: Last year's defensive efforts on the U's part was anything but something from a national powerhouse. Then again, it's been quite a while since Miami has had that term attributed to their program.
The numbers make you wonder if we're really looking at Miami of Florida or perhaps clicked on Miami of Ohio's page by accident.
The defense needs leadership and has to play more consistantly, on the better end of the spectrum, if they want to compete for the ACC title and make it to a real bowl game again. Sophomore LB Sean Spence is their best and seemingly only weapon.
To be sucessful: Sophomore QB Jacory Harris needs to stay healthy and on top of his game. He is the key to unlocking all the potential at the U, the WR and RBs are useless without him being on top of his game.
While this news seems to be depressing to a Nole fan, there are a few things we can look forward to as well...
After coming off of the most uplifting bowl game since 2004, not only a win, but a huge margin of victory could just be the boost the Noles needed at the end of their season.
While most people are still hung up on the old issue of the Academic scandal, it seems pointless to mention it anymore. Winningest coach or not, we won those games without the cheaters and we will continue to win more games season after season.
Florida State's eyes will be fixated on the continued development of junior QB Christian Ponder.
He definately needs work as a passer, but with the best offensive line in the country returning, the running game should be better than ever and allow for ample defense for looking for an open reciever, assuming we still have some by the time this game rolls around—but hey, at least we know who the QB is this year.
On the defensive side of the ball, it's the same ol same ol in Tallahassee. The talent is there, the speed is there....
...there are some holes to plug in the first and last lines of defense before Miami shows up at the Doak. It goes without saying that both sides of the ball are going to miss the Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano's golden leg.
Keys to a sucessful season opener: There is one key, Christian Ponder. The fact that you'd have to go back to the beginning of the decade to find Christ Weinke at QB in order to find stability and consistent productivity is just wrong.
Ponder is without a doubt a strong runner, he just needs to work on his passing game to evolve into the dual threat we know he can be.