FSU-Miami Preview and Predictions

The NoleDigest staff previews and predicts the Miami game.

If one were to look at the rankings, it would seem like the Miami-Florida State rivalry is back. Both teams are ranked in the top ten for the first time since 2005 and (amazingly) are undefeated this late in the year for the first time since 1991.

But this is not an even fight, as Miami has been winning ugly, including an early-season escape against a Florida team that outplayed them in nearly every phase but the turnover battle, while Florida State has been laying waste to its schedule.

Expect Miami to depend on the run game, particularly the inside zone play (they especially prefer to run it to the weak side of the formation), in the effort to shorten this game and keep it ugly. If the Hurricanes are even going to keep this game close, they will have to run successfully and have some success in the play action game deep, a more difficult task since the loss of primary deep threat Phillip Dorsett.

On defense, expect the Canes to force Florida State to run the football by keeping their safeties deep and forcing Florida State to be patient. This again shortens the game and forces an FSU attack used to big plays to be patient.

This could therefore be a major breakout game for the FSU rushing attack, as that element of the FSU offense has taken a back seat so far to quarterback Jameis Winston's brilliance.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in this game is how Florida State will match personnel with Miami's bigger offensive packages. Will defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt return to the jumbo 5-2 Okie front he implemented early in the year? Where will LB/DE Christian Jones line up against bigger personnel sets that don't allow FSU to stay in its base 3-3-5 personnel? Or will FSU stay with that personnel even against bigger packages?

Either way, expect the Florida State defense to show significant improvement against the power attack due to better gap control from the defensive linemen, who seem to understand their role of occupying blockers better at this point in the year than early on, when they often got overaggressive and opened running lanes in the process.

In the end, expect a game that's perhaps a little lower scoring than expected due to both sides running the football, but in the end Miami just doesn't have the horses to run with Florida State this year, and a Winston-led offense is not easy to drag into an ugly game. FSU makes another statement, winning 41-13 (win probability around 90%).

Geoff: This game could go one of two ways: Miami could successfully slow it down, maybe get a couple turnovers, and keep it to something like 38-24. Or Florida State could continue its run of dominance behind Jameis Winston. I'm leaning more toward the latter at this point, something along the lines of FSU, 47-17. Wayne: Florida State comes into this game a three touchdown favorite and for good reason. The Seminoles have the edge in every major statistic. Miami comes into this game after two straight last second victories against two of the worst teams in the ACC in UNC and Wake. Florida State comes in dominating every opponent they have faced. Gameday is here, Doak will be rocking, and Florida State is going to come out and crush Miami. Florida State wins 45-17.

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