The annual battle between the Gators and Noles is always entertaining regardless of the record, but both of these 10-1 squads bring a ton of talent to the table.
The Gators are indeed just one Golden Domer upset away from appearing in the BCS title and creating a ton of chaos and frustration from consecutive SEC against SEC national championships. However, the Noles do not exactly want to cooperate these days with the BCS jobbing them every weekend.
The computer rankings must have some sort of personal issue with Jimbo Fisher because as bad as the ACC has been this season, there is no denying that the Noles and Clemson Tigers are among the top five or six elite teams in the country (FSU beat CU, fairly handily so FSU is arguably best one-loss team today alongside UGA, BAMA).
Both defensive lines are the best in the country and they will make life miserable on quarterbacks E.J. Manuel and Jeff Driskel.
Manuel has been the more proven and accurate signal-caller, plus his receivers have been able to exploit opposing defensive backs with much more ease.
Manuel’s favorite target is Rashad Greene and he has the speed to turn a short pass and take it the distance.
Florida State is listed as TD favorites by most experts, and that is because the Gators have averaged just 18 PPG over their last four games.
That is beyond abysmal once you realize that Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Missouri were three of those teams. Sure, Georgia was the fourth but that is no excuse for such poor performances by quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.
Driskel (ankle) is back and will be starting against the top-ranked defense in college football. Everybody knows about Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine since the two of them have combined for a filthy 20 sacks, but their interior lineman are legit as well.
Timmy Jernigan, Everett Dawkins, Demonte McAllister and Anthony McCloud are four bad dudes you never want to mess with and the Gators offensive line has struggled miserably since dominating the SEC in the months of September and October.
The biggest reason for struggles would be the inconsistent play from once Heisman dark horse running back Mike Gillislee, who has found zero running room.
He finally broke the 100-yard barrier this past week over FCS opponent Jacksonville State, but he failed to tally 200 let alone 150 yards rushing combined against inferior opponents such as Louisiana-Lafayette and Missouri.
The senior has just 2 total TD since the LSU game back on 10/6, which is beyond a joke. The Seminoles run defense is number one in the nation by allowing a pedestrian 70.64 yards per game.
One true telling stat would be how effective the Noles defense is on the average offensive play, as they lead the nation in yet another category. Allowing only 3.67 yards per play, which is video game-like and this Gators offense is in a major funk.
They still have legit speed on the outside and in the backfield, but the Noles linebackers are among the fastest in the country and they can track you down in their sleep.
Throw in the fact that this game will be played in a hostile Doak Campbell environment where the entire fanbase of FSU is displeasured with these BCS rankings, and they could put together their best performance of the season.
FSU is essentially a mortal lock to not play in the BCS title even if everybody loses in front of them.
They need to not only get a ton of help from everybody else, but they at least can put down a haymaker and knock the stuffing out of these Gators to earn back some respect and credit from those same computer rankings that have them at No. 17!
James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman are quite the duo in the backfield, and they will own the field position thanks to one of the best special team units in the country.
Bank on a long return from star safety Lamarcus Joyner and or a blocked punt, which should open the floodgates against currently one of the more overrated teams in the country (computer’s have UF at No. 2 due to their impressive resume).
Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: FSU by 7
Danny V’s Pick: Florida State 30, Florida 10