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Florida State vs. Miami Florida
Betting Line: Miami -6.5 o/u
For several years now when people talk about football in the sunshine state it was the Florida Gators and those other teams. Now with Tebow in the NFL and the Gators obviously going through withdrawals this game becomes even more important than it already is. The winner of this game will take a big step forward towards taking back the title as #1 team in Florida, and make no mistake that is very important to all 3 teams.
These two teams have had very similar starts to the 2010 season. Both opened up with a tune up game before heading to take on Top 5 teams on the road. Miami and QB Jacory Harris couldn't avoid the costly mistakes and came up short against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Horseshoe, and FSU traveled to Norman, Ok where nothing went right from the start and the Seminoles were embarrassed by the Sooners.
Since those two losses both Miami and FSU have done a good job of moving forward and coming back with wins, but none of those games mean as much as this one does to these two teams. Both Miami and FSU are filled with players from Florida, so most of these players have grown up playing each other starting in Pee Wee Leagues. This game is all about pride so expect a very good hard hitting game come Saturday.
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Anytime these two teams play each other there is an insane amount of talent on the field and it shows on both sides of the ball. FSU has playmakers Christian Ponder and Nigel Bradham on opposite sides of the ball and Miami has Jacory Harris leading that offense and Sean Spence doing the same with the defense. With all those athletes on both sides of the ball this game is going to come down to which QB is able to move the ball up and down the field and most importantly which one stays away from the costly turnovers. Both Ponder and Harris have been mentioned in the Heisman discussions at one time or another during their career, but every time people start talking Heisman it seems both go out and crumble. Consistency has been the main issue for both QBs, so playing smart football is key. Jacory Harris has started the year well with 10 TDs in 4 games, but he has 8 INTs to go along with them. Ponder has 8 TDs in 5 games and has 3 INTs. Ponder has been better at avoiding the big mistake, but he hasn't shown the ability for the big play like Harris has so far.
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THE FINAL VERDICT
The key to this game is which QB can play the best under pressure and avoid turning the ball over, but a lot of that has to do with which defense can get to the QB early and be in his head all game long. Florida State in their first year under Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has improved drastically defensively. Last year the Seminoles were one of the worst defenses in the ACC now they are 2nd in the ACC in total and scoring defense. Miami is 1st in the ACC in both those categories, so no team has a huge advantage, but the one thing the Seminoles have shown is they can get to the Quarterback. FSU leads the ACC in sacks with 25 which means Jacory Harris could be under pressure all day long, and Harris has shown at times his decision making is not the greatest.
Yards per point numbers:
FSU - offense 12 - Defense 19 = +7
Miam Fl - Offense 12 Defense 18 = +6
This looks like a good sport for Florida State. For a little added motivation, it's Jimbo Fishers birthday Saturday. A win sure would be a nice present, eh?
If FSU can get that same push up front and make Harris make decisions before he is ready the Seminoles should come away with the win.
Florida State +6.5