Week 8 – Florida State at Miami

Posted Oct 19, 2012

Week 8 Fearless Prediction – Florida State at Miami

Florida State (6-1) at Miami (4-3) Oct. 20, 8:00, ABC

Here's The Deal: Florida State and Miami are poised to renew one of college football's most intense rivalries for the 57th time. And for a change in recent history, both schools will be in the hunt for their respective divisions at kickoff. The Seminoles bounced back in resounding fashion from their only loss by pounding overmatched Boston College, 51-7. Raleigh wound up being an unexpected roadblock to the national title game for the nation's No. 14 team, but the ACC remains there for the taking if it can avoid a second loss in conference play. The Hurricanes are a mash of mixed signals these days. Sure, they are atop the Coastal Division with a 3-1 mark, including a victory over the NC State squad that stunned Florida State, but they've also dropped consecutive games to Notre Dame and North Carolina. Miami didn't play well in either game, leaving many to wonder if the program peaked at the end of September for Al Golden.

Why Florida State Might Win: Golden is at the helm of a feeble defense this fall. The numbers say so. So does the film. The ‘Canes rank 117th nationally in total D, and have been equally inept against the run as the pass. DE Anthony Chickillo and linebackers Eddie Johnson and Denzel Perryman are underclassmen with bright futures, but they're the exceptions of an inconsistent group. The Seminoles got back on track in Week 7, by smacking around BC for 649 yards and six offensive touchdowns. Now that the line is performing well again, Florida State will have too many explosive options for the Miami defense, from RB Chris Thompson on the ground to the strikes of EJ Manuel to receivers Kenny Shaw and Rodney Smith.

Why Miami Might Win: The Hurricanes haven't won any meaningful games this year with defense, and won't do so on Saturday night either. No, to pull the upset at Sun Life Stadium, they'll need to crank up an offense that sought shelter last week, but has produced at least 38 points in all four of this year's wins. Miami would like to reintroduce the ACC to QB Stephen Morris, who has shown flashes of big-play ability, but an injured ankle means Ryan Williams will likely get the start. It will not be easy, but he'll have to be the sparkplug that helps unleash the speed of RB Duke Johnson and WR Phillip Dorsett, and the power of RB Mike James.

What To Watch Out For: The Miami O-line has done an excellent job of pass protection in 2012, but it'll have to continue against an ornery Florida State D in order to give Williams a shot at success. The task of keeping Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine out of the pocket belongs to massive Malcolm Bunche on the left side and either Seantrel Henderson or rookie Ereck Flowers to the right of center. The Canes have yielded just two total sacks in games with NC State, Notre Dame and North Carolina, encouraging numbers with the third-ranked defense coming to town.

What Will Happen: Rivalry games have a knack for narrowing the divide between two schools, especially when the underdog is at home. However, there won't be nearly enough hatred or history to put Miami in a position to upset Florida State this weekend. The Hurricanes remain an average program that lacks the veteran playmakers to operate with any degree of sustained excellence. Far more talented on both sides of the line—and back on track following their only loss—the Seminoles will outclass Miami with a comfortable double-digit win that isn't in doubt in the fourth quarter.

CFN Prediction: Florida State 34 … Miami 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Florida State -19 O/U: 56
Must Watch Rating (5 – Seven Psychopaths, 1 – Here Comes the Boom): 3.5