College Football Pick
After last week’s upset, Florida State is officially out of the playoff race. There’s still plenty of time to make a mark in the standings with wins against Miami and Clemson, but that probably still won’t be enough. And for the first time all season, the Seminoles are underdogs, with the Hurricanes a -3 point home favorite as of Monday morning.
These teams battled last year, which is reason enough for Florida State to be in the right mindset for this Game. The Hurricanes actually led in the Fourth quarter, but Dalvin Cook salvaged a 29-24 win for the Seminoles with about seven minutes remaining.
And Cook is the guy to focus on because he’ll be at the top of the list for Miami’s defense. Cook ran for 222 yards on 10.1 per carry in last season’s win and that was all they needed with Everett Golson at quarterback. After a slow start, Cook has found his form again, going back to a 267-yard effort at South Florida. Considering the ‘Canes didn’t really get tested in the early going, it’s still unknown just how good this run defense is.
If Miami is at the same level as a year ago, well, then it could be another huge Game for Cook. The bigger question may fall to Deondre Francois if Miami challenges FSU at all. If Cook isn’t busting out for 72-yard runs, will Francois be able to lead the ‘Noles on the road? That’s a question that hasn’t been answered yet with Francois only attempting 37 passes combined in their two road Games.
As for the Hurricanes, there’s no doubt they can stick around in this Game, considering what the Florida State defense has looked like without stud safety Derwin James in the back. That should open up for plenty passing lanes for Brad Kaaya, who torched this defense a year ago for 405 yards and three touchdowns. Even without a running Game in that meeting (19 carries, 20 yards), Kaaya was still able to exploit the defense deep.
And that will probably be needed because there’s no reason to believe Miami can run on this FSU front. Sure, Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby have been great so far, but beating up on weak opponents doesn’t mean much. Florida State has one of the best defensive lines in the Conference and that will lead to problems. It’s no doubt going to fall to Kaaya again to give Miami a chance for an upset or even a shot at a cover.
Expect plenty of points in this Game either way. Cook should find room along with Francois for the Seminoles, but there’s no guarantee what this FSU defense will look like. That means Kaaya could be in for another solid outing. And if the Hurricanes can actually find room on the ground, all the better, which will only keep them around for longer than Florida State wants. And like last year, maybe the home team will churn out a late win.
Our Pick – Let’s call this revenge multiplied by 6! The Noles have taken 6 straight in this series, though the last two have been decided by just 4 and 5 points. This year however, these look like teams going in opposite directions.
Using yards per point to measure, Miami has the #5 ranked defense and the #3 ranked offense. Florida State is ok offensively ranked 35th however their defense comes in ranked 107th out of 128 teams!
Ok, It’s not that easy, as Miami has played Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and App State and Georgia Tech basically handed the Hurricanes the Game last week with critical turnovers early on.
But the number that doesn’t lie, is Florida States ranking of 107 defensively. That should leave plenty of room for a Miami team that’s been close the last two years to finally get over the hump and beat Florida State for the first time in 6 years. Revenge is a big time motivator in college ball and should play out here. Miami -3