Let’s just say the spread for this Game looks a lot different than it did at the beginning of the year. Florida has won seven of the last nine matchups between these teams, but is in the midst of its first losing season since 1979. Meanwhile, the Seminoles have beaten opponents by 43 points per Game and are coasting. They’ll be -27.5 point favorites on the road in this one at 5 dimes.
The Gators lost against an FCS opponent for the first time in school history last week. That’s how well things are going for them. In the 26-20 loss, their opponent Georgia Southern didn’t even have to complete a pass, rushing for 429 yards. While the Florida offense hasn’t helped much, the defense has to do better than that.
Freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg was forced to take over two weeks ago because of injuries, although it’s not like Tyler Murphy was winning Games himself. It’s evident Florida doesn’t trust Mornhinweg enough to let him pass more. He attempted 13 passes against South Carolina because they were ahead most of the Game. Last weekend they were down the entire Game and Mornhinweg still only attempted 25 passes for 122 yards. If you can’t pass on the Seminoles, it’s unlikely you’re going to rush all over them. Not to mention FSU will probably stack the box as it is. Running back Kelvin Taylor has been getting most of the work lately and he hasn’t surpassed 4.6 yards per carry in Four Games. His backup MACk Brown only averages 3.8 yards per carry on the season. It’s not going to be easy for Florida to move the ball on a team that held Clemson in check to 14 points.
As for the Seminoles, they have scored at least 41 points in every Game this year and average 55.2 points per Game. The Gators average just under 20.
Jameis Winston continues to do whatever he wants in the passing Game, completing 70 percent of his passes for 32 TDs and seven INTs. Rashad Green leads the team with 57 receptions, 889 yards and nine TDs, but other guys like Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin can beat defenses as well. In addition, they average 5.8 yards per carry as a team with the top three RBs, led by Devonta Freeman, totaling 29 touchdowns. While Florida has a solid secondary, if Georgia Southern can run on them, what does that mean for Florida State?
27 points sounds like a lot in this rivalry, but after looking at both of these teams, it sound just right, if not too low. The lowest margin of victory for FSU all year was at Boston College in a 48-34 win. That was mostly because of a slow start. OUtside of that Game, the next closest was a 41-14 win over Miami (FL), right at that 27-point spread. The Hurricanes beat the Gators 21-16 earlier in the year, but that was with Jeff Driskel at quarterback.
There’s no doubt Florida will come to play in this rivalry, but will it really matter? Florida State needs two more wins and they’ll be in the National Championship Game, can they be stopped by a 4-7 team? This may be revenge for Florida’s upset last year at Florida State, winning 37-26.
The Seminoles are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road Games, but are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road Games against a team with a losing home record. The Gators are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home Games, but 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home Games vs. a team with a winning road record. The favorite has covered in five of the last six Games between these schools while the under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings.
After last weeks loss it’s tempting to think the Seminoles have thrown in the towel. They may very well have, but the feeling here is that we’ll see a huge effort that at least earns this team a little respect. They played close Games with teams like LSU, Georgia and South Carolina and while FSU certainly looks like a potential National Champ, we have to remind everyone that their Schedule has been a complete joke. It’s been weak to say the least. We’ll grab the boatload of points here. Florida +27.5