Matchup: #3 Florida State at Miami (Florida State -2,5, 61.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 15th @ 8:00 pm (EST)
Location: Miami, FL (airing on ABC)
Preview: One of college football’s storied rivalries will be renewed on Saturday night when the #3 ranked Florida State Seminoles take on the Miami hurricanes in a key ACC conference battle.
The Miami Hurricanes have quietly put together three impressive performances in a row since losing 28–17 to Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes have beaten Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina by an average of 24 points per game. Running back Duke Johnson has had an impressive junior campaign, rushing for 1213 yards and 9 touchdowns averaging 7.7 yards per carry. He’s been a receiving threat out of the backfield is well with 273 yards receiving with two touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya had his ups and downs in the first six games of the 2014 season, but he is progressing and growing up fast this season. Since the loss the Georgia Tech, Kaaya has completed 61% of his passes for 586 yards and seven touchdowns. The most important stat though is he has thrown zero interceptions, and made smart decisions. It does help when you have a special talent like Johnson in the backfield as well. Miami’s offense has been solid as of late, but the defense has really rounded in to form this season, and our 11th in the nation in total defense allowing just 4.37 yards per play. They have a solid pass defense I will in just 180 yards through the air and 5.72 yards per passing attempt.
The Florida State Seminoles are coming off a 34–20 win over Virginia last Saturday. The Seminoles fell down at the end of the first quarter, yep scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to take the lead for good. The Seminoles own the nation’s longest winning streak, winning 25 straight games. They’ve had their share of close calls the season winning in overtime against Clemson 23–17, surviving against Notre Dame at home, and rallying from a 21 point deficit at Louisville to notch a 42–31 win. As I pointed out in previous articles, this isn’t the same Florida State team of last year, yet Jameis Winston has been big in key spots. Florida State has had its fair share of slow starts this season, but when you look at Jameis Winston’s stats in the second half, it can’t be ignored. In the second half this season Winston’s completion percentage is 6% higher than the first half. He’s completing almost 70% of his passes for 1357 yards compared to 64% passing for 1183 yards. The Seminoles are ranked 11th in the nation in passing averaging 319.9 yards per game through the air. They are running the ball with little success, averaging just 129 yards per game. Their defense has come up big in spots, yet are ranked 49th in the nation in total defense allowing 5.15 yards per play. They are struggling against the run, and have allowed 135 yards per game. Week after week Florida State has had some close calls, but just when you count this team out, they rise up to the challenge and come up big when it matters.
Miami returns 14 starters from last year’s squad that lost at Tallahassee 41-14. Running back to Johnson suffered an ACL injury last season in the second quarter of that game and at halftime the Hurricanes were actually in the game down 7 at the half. When I look at the college football season in general I look for teams that are improving as the season goes on. Miami is one of those teams, and not only is there a rivalry here, but I like the Hurricanes in this spot. Miami will have success running the ball and if they should jump out to a lead, Jameis Winston will have to lead his team back against one of the better pass defenses on the road. Miami will have had two weeks to prepare for the Seminoles, while Florida State just played last Saturday against one of the more physical defenses in the ACC in Virginia . I’ve said it all year that Florida State does not belong in the top four, and they’ve played with fire too many times this season and when you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned. I think the nation’s longest winning streak comes to an end this weekend. How fitting it would be for it to come to an end against their biggest rival and a Miami program that’s definitely on the rise. Miami wins on the field on Saturday night.
2014 Week 12 NCAA Football Pick: Miami +2.5, Over 61.5
Florida State vs Miami Score Prediction: Miami 37 – Florida State 34