Let’s just get something straight off the top. Florida State is an underdog at Miami – and should be – but what I’m hearing from the so-called pundits that the Noles don’t stand a chance in this game is straight B.S.
Defense: Slight Edge Miami
Both defenses are really going to decide who takes this game over. You’ve got the difference between a defense that is doing and one that can do. Both defense are great at creating opportunities, but the edge is given to Miami because they actually capitalize on them.
FSU’s defense leads the nation in forced fumbles and is good at stopping the run, except Syracuse. Its weakness is something I’m not sure Miami can exploit: the secondary.
N’kosi Perry would have to be dialed-in and that’s a tough ask for a young quarterback against FSU defensive end Brian Burns who is quietly putting up numbers in the sack column along with being one of the nation’s leaders in QB hurries.
The question is this: is FSU making other offenses look better in the passing game or are those teams good? Dino Barbers, Justin Fuentes, Chris Hatcher and Bobby Petrino all have something in common; they’re offensive-minded. They are all good with spread concepts. Can Harlon Barnett stop teams out the gate, that is the question.
Manny Diaz has his Miami defense playing so well that the entire team’s identity is based around it. The defense has literally won or lost every game on the Canes schedule. Miami’s only loss was to LSU and that’s where the defense was caught slipping.
This defense gives up yards, but this is what they also do: create turnovers.
It doesn’t matter how many yards a team gives up if they can stop you from getting into the end zone. They also fly around to the ball – all 11 guys. This makes them fun to watch. The energy they play with can instantly change momentum.
They are also good at shutting down third down – ranked number one – and they have the ability to score on defense.
Offense: slight edge Miami
It’s tough for me to breakdown something non-existent, at times, for one team (FSU’s offense), and something skewed by playing against inept teams with the assistance of an explosive defense (Miami’s offense).
I will base this comparison off the two FSU games I was able to watch live and which made me kind of believe in them.
What makes FSU’s offense scary – besides its total lack of production at times – is that if you’ve played the game and aren’t looking at it solely from an entertainment value, you can see what’s there. The other factor is that when they are able to execute and run consecutive plays without penalties, they move the ball.
What has stopped FSU’s offense this year is FSU. No unit has been on the same page this year for an entire game. When the line blocks, the quarterback makes the wrong read or a wide receiver drops the ball. When the WR makes a great play, offensive line doesn’t block. When everyone is on the same page, there’s a penalty. That’s a lack of execution problem.
My critique of Deondre Francois, even though I absolutely love James Blackman, is that when he is on he is by far the best quarterback for this offense. When he learns to read the defensive end on the zone read, whether coached or not, he’s going to rush for a minimum 50 yards a game and it’ll open up everything else in the offense. The question is, can he mentally do it.
Francois has both played in and won in this rivalry; I can’t count him out.
I love Miami’s running backs DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer. They are the UM offense to me. I’m not putting the game in the hands of a freshman QB.
While FSU’s offensive line has taken a beating this season for its poor play, the less talked-about atrocity is UM’s offensive line. FSU averages close to 2.5 sacks a game and Miami has averaged close to two as well despite having not played two defenses currently ranked in the top 20 in sacks.
If you believe UM’s defensive line is going to have a field day against FSU’s offensive line, then you’re going to need to have that same belief in reverse based off the numbers.
Special Teams: “F” Special Teams
If it comes down to anything special teams related, FSU is getting blown out.
All in all, the national media and beat writers who are presenting this “woe is FSU,” “FSU getting blown out:” F(orget) you!
In its last four wins, Miami has forced 12 turnovers, but has also given up six turnovers as well. That’s not good. Not good at all.
Miami is a better team right now with a better culture and players playing for each other. That has more to do with Richt being there long enough to establish himself.
Get over your self-pity. This is not a lay down game.
A blowout may happen, games get out of hand from time-to-time, but to think that this game is 47-0 – the largest margin for either team in the rivalry – then you’re just trying to lessen the amount of sh!t folks are going to talk after the game is over.
That being said, someone will win 31-27. I’m just not sure who, so with that in mind, “Go Noles!”
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/seminoles-may-not-beat-miami-but-forget-you-if-you-think-theyll-be-blown-out