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Florida State vs. Oklahoma

Current Odds: Oklahoma -8 O/U 58

9/11/10

Great games in this early NCAA football season are plentiful. Week two will pit the Oklahoma Sooners against the Florida State Seminoles. Retired HC Lou Holtz has said several times that he is looking forward to this game more than any other. The former Notre Dame head honcho turned ESPN analyst thinks that FSU QB Christian Ponder is among the best in the country at what he does. Oh yea, and the Sooners are pretty damn good too! They've got a stud in QB Landry Jones.

The Oklahoma Sooners were met with a bit of a scare in week one as they dispatched Utah State 31-24. This shouldn't have been a close game. Landry Jones was a bit shaky, tossing 2 TDs, but also throwing 2 INTs. The hero of the day was RB DeMarco Murray. The senior rushed for 218 yards, 2 TDs, and a long run of 63 yards. If he hadn't had a huge day the BCS Title hopes of the Sooners could've come to a shocking end. Bob Stoops will almost certainly have his team much more fired up and ready for this non-conference home game. Stoops will be tasked with trying to put up points on FSU's new defensive coordinator who also happens to be his brother; Mark Stoops.

The coaching situation at Florida State is an interesting one. Jimbo Fisher had taken on a large role in years past, but he is now official the top man for the Seminoles. The former LSU defensive coordinator guided his team to an easy win against Samford in the first week of play. He will have his boys pumped up for this game. Getting a win here would really verify him as a leader and a HC. Winning this game for FSU starts with QB Christian Ponder. The 6-3 227 senior is capable of putting up big numbers. He will be matched up against a Sooners secondary that isn't as good as it was in 2009, but is strong nonetheless. The Seminoles can pound the ball with junior RB Jermaine Thomas. He rushed for an average of 5.1 YPC last year and had 9 TDs.

Scoring points starts with DeMarco Murray for the Sooners. He had just 705 yards in 2009, but he proved in week one that he is more than capable of picking up some of the slack. Murray will be matched against a weak Florida State defense. Look for him to get at least 100 yards in this game. If he matches last week's numbers then the Seminoles are going to be in big trouble. Sophomore QB Landry Jones is going to improve this year. He has the intangibles to be a great QB in the NCAA, but experience is needed to season his talent. He has a nice stable of WRs to catch his passes. Perhaps the most interesting is freshman star Kenny Stills. He is a down the field threat. Junior Ryan Broyles is back at WR after catching a whopping 15 TDs for 1,120 yards last year.

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If Oklahoma wants to win this game they will have to play a conservative type of football. Pound the rock and wear down a questionable FSU defense, and stop them with a gritty strong defense of their own. The Sooners have one of the best defensive lines in the nation despite losing Gerald McCoy. They will have pressure on Ponder the whole game. Landry Jones has to be an effective passer. This means not giving up a bunch of INTs. Turning the ball over could cost them a win.

A Florida State win will start with a fiery effort from QB Christian Ponder. Every analyst on ESPN and elsewhere sings his praises, but he has to prove it by winning games like this one. Is Jimbo Fisher ready to lead his team to a big win at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium?

Bottom line? The key to this game will likely be the Florida State defense. They gave up as many points per game as their offense scored last season (30). The Oklahoma defense gave up just 15 points per game. Both offenses averaged 30 ppg. Both teams are largely intact from a year ago bringing back pretty much their entire offense and more than half the defense. We'd look to Oklahoma games against Texas Tech, Miami, Kansas State and Stanford as indicators of what Florida State may be able to do offensively. The FSU offense is every bit as good as those mentioned. While it can be said Oklahoma was looking ahead last week, if Utah State can grab 24 points, then we can certainly count on FSU finding the end zone. Oklahoma was good last year, but far from the dominant 11 and 12 win teams of the previous 3 years. We'll grab the points here. Florida State +8
 

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