Old rivals collide in the Sunshine State in a game both teams are desperate to win as the Florida State Seminoles host the Miami Hurricanes. The fun gets started at 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 2 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.
Current odds list Florida State as 4.5-point favorites at home with an over/under of 47.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of this week’s college football betting odds.
It’s been up and down season for the Hurricanes, who head into November at 4-4. Just when you think Manny Diaz has Miami moving in the right direction with a win over Virginia, the Hurricanes suffer an embarrassing home defeat to Georgia Tech. Just when you were ready to write off Miami after that loss, they respond with a road win last week against Pitt.
As it stands, the Hurricanes need two wins from their final four games to reach a bowl game. Three of those four games will come on the road, so the path to a bowl is by no means easy. Of course, if Miami can win their final three ACC games, they might have a chance to win the crowded ACC Coastal division in which every team has at least two league losses heading into the final month of the season.
Florida State, meanwhile, enters this game with an identical 4-4 record after going through similar ups and downs. The Seminoles appeared to have found themselves after back-to-back ACC games against Louisville and NC State, only to lose back-to-back games to Clemson and Wake Forest. FSU was then able to get back on track last week with a 35-17 home win over Syracuse.
Unlike the Hurricanes, Florida State has no chance to reach the ACC Championship Game. That means the ‘Noles are focused solely on becoming bowl eligible after falling last year. FSU faces road trips to Boston College and Florida late in the year, although they should get an easy win against Alcorn State. Assuming they win that game, a win over Miami would be enough to send the Seminoles to a bowl game.
Of course, bowl games are of secondary importance when these two rivals get together. There has been an endless number of memorable moments between these teams over the years. With so many of the players on both sides knowing one another, the intensity in these games is always high.
Miami owns a slight lead in the all-time series after knocking off the Seminoles in each of the past two seasons. However, Florida State had rattled off seven straight wins over the Hurricanes prior to that, so it’s actually FSU that has dominated the rivalry this decade.
For the record, I favor Florida State a little more than Miami in this game. However, the last five games in this rivalry have been decided by five points or less. I can’t ignore that trend or the fact that both of these teams have been wildly unpredictable this season. That makes me think the best bet here is taking the underdog and the points.
Adding to the mystery and mayhem in this game is the fact that both teams are in the midst of quarterback changes. In fairness, things are a little more settled at Florida State. Alex Hornibrook replaced James Blackman as the starter against Syracuse and was solid if unspectacular. Blackman got in the game, although Hornibrook did nothing to lose the starting job, so I expect the Wisconsin grad transfer to start against Miami.
Meanwhile, who starts for the Hurricanes this week is anybody’s guess. N’Kosi Perry has started the last three games but was dreadful last week and was eventually benched. Jarren Williams, who was benched after throwing three interceptions against Virginia Tech, ended up throwing the game-winning touchdown in the final minute to beat Pitt. Either one could end up starting against FSU and the chances are probably good that the leash will be short for the starter.
Amidst the quarterback problems for each team, both Florida State and Miami have started to play much better on defense in recent weeks. The Hurricanes went on the road and held Pitt without a touchdown last week. They also pitched a second-half shutout against Georgia Tech and held Virginia to only nine points. Even the 42 points they gave up against Virginia Tech is a little misleading because the Miami offense turned it over five times while the defense allowed less than 350 total yards.
As for Florida State, the Seminoles have allowed 24 points or less against every ACC opponent outside of Clemson. FSU stood tall at the goal line against Wake Forest, allowing just one touchdown and forcing the Demon Deacons to settle for five field goals. Plus, both touchdowns they allowed last week came in the fourth quarter after the Seminoles had built a comfortable lead.
If I had to guess, I’d say that Florida State and Miami are going to give us an ugly, low-scoring game. Things could easily turn one way or another on a defensive touchdown given how mistake-prone quarterbacks on both sides can be at times. In the end, taking Miami and the points seems like the safest bet. The chances are good this ends up being a field goal game, so I’m not that confident in Florida State covering 4.5 points, even if the Seminoles win.