Florida State and Miami is one of my favorite rivalry games in the last 20 years and the two ACCteams are squaring off this Saturday for the next installment of the series that has been made infamous by of all things missed field goals by Florida State.
Bobby Bowden was tormented for years by his kickers losing games at the end of hotly contested battles and costing the Seminoles and Bowden opportunities at national championships.
This game will not be a battle among potential national champions as it has in years past, but the ACC title will hinge on this contest. Miami has surprised many and is 3-1 in the Coastal division and Florida State leads their division in wins at three, but trails Maryland (2-0) in the Atlantic division.
Florida State had dreams of playing in the BCS title game after defeating Clemson in September, but a disappointing loss to NC State has all but ended those hopes. Now the Seminoles are setting their sights on winning the last four conference games on the schedule, three of which are on the road to get in a position to represent the conference in a BCS bowl game.
A top six offense and a top four defense is a claim that only Florida State can claim this season as they have looked absolutely filthy at times on both sides of the ball. The same cannot be said for Miami who have been as inconsistent as any team in America.
The Hurricanes looked awful in losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame, but in their defense they are two of the top five teams in the nation, but last week’s home loss vs. North Carolina is one that could keep Miami from the ACC title game.
What will be difficult for Miami going forward is the injury to quarterback Stephen Morris who may have to sit in favor of Memphis transfer, Ryan Williams. Even with a healthy Morris, the Hurricanes would have been decided underdogs against a talented Seminoles team led by the conference’s best quarterback EJ Manuel.
13-2 as a starter dating back to last season, Manuel has lived up to the high expectations that preceded his arrival to Tallahassee as a prep superstar in Virginia Beach and is coming off a game that saw the senior throw for 439 yards and four touchdowns vs. Boston College.
Unlike the days when kickers decided the outcome of this great rivalry, Manuel and the Seminoles may turn this game into a blowout rendering the kicking game unnecessary.
The Seminoles have owned this series having won five of the previous seven games and will look to make it six of eight on Saturday night in Miami.
Final score: Florida State wins 52-24
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.