The Florida State Seminoles are in Indiana on Saturday night for a meeting with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It’s been a struggle for Florida State over the last few years. Despite winning the National Championship only seven years ago with Jameis Winston under center, Florida State has taken a dive since then.
Jimbo Fisher accepted an opportunity to coach at Texas A&M for an increased salary. Florida State couldn’t match the offer and they’ve been one of the most disappointing teams in the FBS. At the time, the hiring of former Oregon Ducks’ head coach, Willie Taggert, made it seem like it was going to be business as usual for the Seminoles.
That hasn’t been the case and Florida State is on to their second head coach after Jimbo left Tallahassee. 38-year-old Mike Norvell is responsible for getting the Seminoles back on the path to being a contender. It’s not going to happen in one or two years, so Florida State fans are going to have to be patient. I don’t know if Norvell is the answer at FSU, but expecting instant results isn’t realistic.
The Seminoles are off to a 2-1 start in the Norvell era at Florida State. They suffered a close 16-13 loss versus Georgia Tech in Week 1, and then were embarrassed against the Miami Hurricanes the following week by a score of 52-10. James Blackman, who doesn’t look like the answer for Florida State at quarterback, passed for 120 yards with a touchdown and interception. Even in a blowout, Blackman was unable to pad his stats against a defense playing it safe.
Florida State was able to record their first win last week versus Jacksonville State. I can’t say it was overly impressive in a 41-24 victory over a team they should have brought to the toolshed. That said, they might have found their quarterback.
Jordan Travis took over for Tate Rodemaker and immediately brought the offense to life in the second half. Travis passed for 210 yards and a touchdown on 12 for 17 passing. It was only against Jacksonville State, though, so we’ll see how he stacks up on Saturday night.
Notre Dame intends on going to the College Football Playoff, so a slip up against the Seminoles at home in this one would hurt their plans. Struggling to put Florida State away would work against them as well. This is one of those games where they have to be out to impress the voters. The Fighting Irish haven’t played in two weeks after getting a bye last weekend.
They opened the year with a textbook 27-13 win over Duke, and then blasted South Florida in a 52-0 route on September 19. Ian Book has been coming into his own for Notre Dame. Book is a sleeper Heisman candidate who could sneak up into the national conversation soon. However, slowing down the Notre Dame run game must be their main focus on Saturday night. Head below for our free Florida State vs. Notre Dame pick for October 10, 2020.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish NCAAF Betting Odds:
Florida State vs. Notre Dame Prediction:
Ian Book is capable of doing a little bit of everything. He has deceptive speed and was able to rush for 3 touchdowns last week around the goal line. When you have a rushing game like Notre Dame, the option can work to perfect near the end zone. Notre Dame has a three-headed monster between C’Bo Flemister, Chris Tyree, and Kyren Williams in the backfield.
They get to run behind a very talented offensive line that carves up holes. It reminds me a little bit of Wisconsin ten year ago. They could just hand the ball off all game and continue to pick up big yardage. By the fourth quarter, the defense wants nothing to do with lining up against a team like Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish have kept things on the ground this season. Book hasn’t looked deep often this year. Part of that has been due to design and personnel. I think Brian Kelly has been saving a big chunk of his offense for more difficult opponents. In a 52-0 win against South Florida, why would they have passed the ball? The ground was working so well that it wouldn’t have made sense.
Notre Dame is expected to get a big lift in the passing-game on Saturday night. Talented wide receiver, Kevin Austin, who hasn’t played since 2018 is expected to return against Florida State. Austin is by far the most talented wide receiver on the roster, so his presence is going to open up a lot of the Notre Dame offense now. The Seminoles get unlucky if Austin does indeed return to the lineup on Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis is coming off the best game of his career after coming off the bench into the game against Jacksonville State. However, that’s Jacksonville State and this is Notre Dame on the road in South Bend. Travis must deal with one of the most talented linebacker units in the nation. He will have to make smart decisions or this game is going to get out of hand early.
Travis has passed for 372 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in his career. He got some work as a freshman at Louisville, but transferred after playing a backup role in Lexington. Travis connected for 6 passes on 11 attempts for 79 yards in limited action in his first season as a Seminole in 2019. He can run the football, but the Notre Dame linebackers should sniff him out in this one. Look for Notre Dame to pull away in the second half for a comfortable win of 35-13 or 42-17 over the Seminoles.