Matchup: #5 Notre Dame at #2 Florida State (Florida State -9, 56.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 18th @ 8:00 pm (EST)
Location: Tallahassee, FL (airing on ABC)
Preview: The #5 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish travel to Tallahassee, Florida to take on the #2 ranked Florida Seminoles in a matchup with serious national championship implications.
The Florida State Seminoles own the nation’s longest win streak at 22, and are coming off a 38-20 win at Syracuse. Florida State has been in the headlines a lot and not for their winning streak, but because of their leader and quarterback Jameis Winston not making the best decisions. Earlier in the season, Winston was suspended 1 game for shouting obscenities in front of students. That 1 game was against Clemson, and Florida State won in overtime 23-17. Now he was allegedly involved in an autograph scandal, similar to the same type of situation that got Heisman trophy candidate Todd Gurley suspended. It was thought that Winston might be suspended for Saturday night’s game, but he will in fact play and will not be suspended. He also will face a school board in the near future on allegations of sexual abuse…Things just aren’t looking good for Winston these days. The Seminoles have had a hard time replicating their 2013 performance. They aren’t blowing out opponents like last year, and are only winning by an average 18.3 points per game. Against the teams they’ve played with a winning record (N.C. State & Clemson), they have won by an average of just 10.5 paints. The Seminoles aerial attack ranks 7th in the nation averaging 324 yards per game, yet they are struggling to run the ball consistently, averaging just 138 yards per game. This is definitely not the same high-powered offense as last season, as they did lose a lot of key players on offense, like Devontae Freeman and Kelvin Benjamin.
Notre Dame comes in to Saturday’s matchup at 6-0 and are coming off a close win against North Carolina. They were in a classic sandwich spot last week as they had won against Stanford the previous week and had the big matchup against Florida State ahead. Notre Dame possesses a balanced offense, averaging 280 yards through the air and 163.8 yards per game on the ground. They are led by senior Everett Golson, who has completed 62.5% of his passes for 1683 yards and 16 touchdowns and has only 4 interceptions this season. Golson has improved significantly since his sophomore campaign, and is a good decision maker and can use his legs when needed. There is one thing that is reminiscent of the squad that went to the national title game back 2 seasons ago, they are well coached and play good situational football. Defensively they are allowing 348 yards per game and 4.99 yards per play and are 8th in the nation in scoring defense.
I’m grabbing the points with Notre Dame on Saturday night. The distractions that Jameis Winston has caused his team I believe will finally catch up with the Seminoles. I look at the Seminoles’ body of work and I haven’t been impressed this year. When you look at their schedule and the results and all of the stats, does this really look like the 2nd ranked team in the country? Notre Dame will be prepared for the matchup on Saturday night, and getting points with a coach like Brian Kelly is too good to pass up. This is a team that put up 370 yards of total offense on Stanford, and outgained them by almost 170 yards. They might have won in the final seconds, but they won the game and were impressive doing so. I believe that this Notre Dame team is still underrated, and that the media and general public thinks Florida State will just turn it on when they need to. Well, this team hasn’t shown me that they can do that, last year’s squad? No question, but not this season. I said 3 weeks ago that Notre Dame would walk into Tallahassee and win, and I still haven’t changed my mind. During the week, the Seminoles didn’t know if Jameis Winston would play, now they know he will, and maybe they’ve had a little sigh of relief. Come Saturday night that relief will quickly turn to panic, as I think it will be evident that they’re current ranking is a circumstance of last years success.
2014 Week 8 NCAA Football Pick: Notre Dame +9, Under 56.5
Notre Dame at Florida State Score Prediction: Notre Dame 24 – Florida State 20