TV Schedule: Saturday, November 28, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field, Gainesville, Fla.
The Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators will tangle in an emotional rivalry game for the Sunshine State bragging rights. This game does have some national meaning though. FSU (9-2) can sneak into a New Year’s Six game potentially if they can knock off the Gators and find their way into the top 10 in the playoff rankings. Meanwhile, the 10-1 Gators technically still have a chance for a playoff spot, but even if they survive this test, they must beat the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
Florida State has made a switch at quarterback as Sean Maguire has seemed to supplant Everett Golson. Maguire has done more than fine at the helm and has given the Seminoles a fresh new look on offense with his passing ability. With three wide receivers (Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson) over 500 yards, the ‘Noles are not short on weapons for Maguire. Obviously, star sophomore running back Dalvin Cook is the lead man for the bunch.
It should be interesting to see how Florida State handles some outside distractions as head coach Jimbo Fisher has been rumored as the top target for LSU if they decide to part ways with Les Miles. This time of year is always full of rumors and distractions. It’s always interesting to see the quality teams that can put that stuff aside and play good football.
On the football side of things, FSU is going to have to be able to move the ball against the talented Gators defense. In the end, they won’t need to score much as Florida has really struggled on offense of late. There may not be a lot on the line in terms of big implications, but they still want to beat their instate rival and put themselves in the mix for a big bowl game.
For the Gators, they are coming off a pretty horrendous performance in an OT victory over Florida Atlantic. It could have possibly been that they were taking them lightly and looking ahead to the upcoming big games. That would be a logical explanation if the Gators hadn’t also looked mediocre in their last few games beforehand.
Treon Harris just does not offer much of a passing threat and opposing defenses know that. They are keying on the running game, and it’s making it very hard for the Gators to do much on offense. They do have some weapons if Harris is able to do something in the air. Freshman Antonio Callaway and veteran Demarcus Robinson each have caught balls for over 500 yards. The big player of late has been running back Kelvin Taylor, who has 13 touchdowns this season.
The key for them is to somehow, someway get some big plays in the air and open up the running lanes. Their defense should keep them in it, but they will need to score some. They need momentum heading into the Alabama game to have any chance of winning. It’s going to be an impossible task, but before that, they must get through this one first.
In the end, this will be another fun rivalry game to watch during rivalry week. A lot of these kids are from the state and know each other very well. There will be a lot of emotion and scrappy play in this one. One of these teams is going to grab a huge win to close out the regular season.
Prediction: Florida State 23, Florida 13