We wind down rivalry week with a clash between another two of college footballs arch rivals. I should note that other than this being a rivalry game, this matchup is otherwise pointless for the Florida Gators. The only thing up for grabs is beating Florida State in the rivalry game. Florida has already clinched an appearance in the SEC Championship, and they have a massive challenge ahead of them next week. This is what amounts to a throwaway game for Florida, well, if it weren’t for the notion of the rivalry. However, even if Florida State blows Florida out by 50 today, the fact still remains the Gators are going to be playing Alabama in the SEC Championship, while FSU won’t be playing. On one hand, Florida does not want to sleep through this game and have it carry over into next week. It begs the question though, how much preparation is Florida putting into this game?
It wouldn’t be all too surprising if Florida put more effort into watching film on Alabama than they have Florida State. Florida have bigger fish to fry than Florida State this week. The prospect of beating Alabama is not the best, they have a better chance of beating Florida State this afternoon. That is, if they come in focused playing the Seminoles, instead of their minds wandering on Alabama, they’re going to have a solid chance of winning this one. And yes, it would be an upset if Florida beats Florida State, which seems a bit off considering the Gators are playing in the SEC Championship. The Seminoles have been so hot and cold this season that it’s been a bit of a disappointment. Hot and cold is not how Florida State wants to operate.
It all started in September with a loss against Louisville. Not just a loss, it was an absolute route in favor of the Cardinals, a 63-20 drubbing to put Lamar Jackson and Louisville on the map. Then the Seminoles lost on a last second field goal to North Carolina, essentially ending their dreams of heading back to the playoff which they did with Jameis Winston. An additional loss to Clemson was the cherry on top of their lackluster semester of football. Nevertheless, they can win both of their rivalry games this season, with a win against Miami on their docket already, a victory over Florida would complete the equation. Let’s get straight to the pick.
Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Florida State -7(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Florida vs. Florida State Pick:
For Florida to win, they just can’t run the football and kill clock. They need to open it up a bit and forget about the SEC Championship next week. Because I know for a fact, Florida State is going to be juiced for this matchup. The motivation factor certainly leans in FSU’s favor tonight. This is their biggest game until next season. No disrespect to whoever they play in a bowl, but this is going to be the main draw for them. Dalvin Cook went bonkers on Syracuse last week, as he rushed for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Orange had no answer for him. Deondre Francois paced the Seminoles with 315 yards through the air, along with 2 touchdowns.
Florida is going to prove to be a much stingier defensive unit. After all, they’re going to be playing in the SEC Championship because of their defense. Florida are 5th in the nation, allowing just 282 yards per game and 13 points per game. For the Gators to win this week, and then beat Alabama they’ll need to find a way to force turnovers. Florida State brings in a unit which lags behind Florida, posting 371 yards allowed per game and 25.5 points.
The Noles have the advantage on offense, it’s pretty night and day in that regard. The freshman quarterback Francois has shown the ability to be a major contributor at Florida State for the foreseeable future. He’s quietly accumulated a nice stat line of 17 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and 126 yards rushing with 3 rushing touchdowns. Francois isn’t a runner, but a solid scrambler who can pick up yardage if a play breaks down. He’s been lucky to play next to a future NFL 1st rounder. Cook has rushed for 1,467 yards with a 6.1 average per carry this season. Florida has a solid defense, but how much do they really care tonight? Whoever wins, the real winners are the Florida Gators because they’re going to be playing in the conference championship. But on the scoreboard, I think Florida State is looking primed to win this rivalry game by 10 points or so.
PICK: FLORIDA STATE -7 (-115)