Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida State Seminoles
Date and Time: Saturday, October 7, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Opening College Football Odds: Pick 'Em
Miami vs. Florida State TV Coverage: ESPN
Ironically, when Miami was dominating Florida State, the man who is now its head coach was FSU's offense coordinator.
Mark Richt has brought a legitimate swagger back to "The U," complete with the now-infamous "Turnover Chain" that is worn by whatever player forces a turnover on the previous drive. It's something that Miami's players have all rallied around, and that motivation has quietly turned this into one of the more dangerous defenses in America.
That said, Miami's success should be gauged with nothing more than a quiet optimism. The schedule hasn't been anything to write home about at this point, and even a down Florida State team will provide a bigger challenge than Bethune-Cookman, Toledo and Duke.
The Seminoles got into the win column for the first time this season last week when they beat Wake Forest 26-19. James Blackman had the signature moment of his young career to date when he hooked up with Auden Tate for a 40-yard touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
The once-vaunted FSU defense was much better on this day than at any point this season, holding the Demon Deacons to 367 yards of offense while forcing two turnovers.
Blackman really has no clue at this point what he's doing, and you can tell. Most of his passing routes were all simple, and he can't look off of receivers and make secondary positions. Thanks to his poor offensive line in front of him, Blackman is being asked to take three steps and get the ball out to a predetermined receiver, and that could be a tremendous problem against a team as athletic and hungry to force turnovers as Miami.
Blackman is averaging 6.76 yards per pass attempt, and he has yet to throw an interception this season. He's going to have to stay squeaky clean in order for FSU to win this game for sure.
Miami vs. Florida State Free Picks
At the outset of this season, it would have been preposterous to think that Florida State would be listed as a home underdog to Miami at any of the best online sportsbooks. The Seminoles were supposed to be a legitimate top 10 team even after the Miami loss.
That said, the lack of offense this team has been able to generate has produced a ton of negative headlines, and most are going under the assumption that this is Miami's year.
In the words of the great Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend."
Derwin James is a man on a mission at the moment in the Florida State defense. This unit had the moment of its season against Wake Forest when it forced a three-and-out with less than two minutes to play to setup the winning score. This is the game this unit has to be ready for.
The story of Malik Rosier and Mark Walton is a good one right now for Miami, but these men haven't been tested by a defense anything quite like this. The Hurricanes are averaging nine yards per pass attempt and 7.5 yards per rush this season, and we think they're ultimately going to struggle to get to 300 yards in this game overall.
Any points we can get with Florida State could be valuable, but we don't think the Seminoles will ultimately need them. They'll propel themselves back into the Top 25 by continuing their dominance of Miami.
College Football ATS Pick: Florida State PK at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Florida State 23, Miami 20