The Seminoles are 9-0 and have already clinched a spot in the ACC title game. As long as they don’t lose, they are on track to make the College Football Playoff.
Can Miami, 14 1/2-point underdogs, throw a wrench in those plans when they travel to Tallahassee to play at 3:30 on Saturday? We spoke to Tallahassee Democrat FSU beat writer Ehsan Kassim to see if Miami has any chance of pulling off the upset.
The Seminoles are undefeated and one of the top teams in the nation. Have they shown any vulnerabilities at all so far?
“One vulnerability for the Seminoles has been in the run game and run blocking. Against some of the better teams on its schedule, FSU has been unable to establish a strong run game, which has led them to struggle to sustain long drives and oftentimes keep them from putting even more points on the board. FSU has been better of late in utilizing the short-yardage passing game to make up for that and has used Jordan Travis more in the run game to open up holes.FSU has also struggled to contain the run on defense in a few games, something that was a weakness of the team last season.”
Star receivers Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson both missed FSU’s win over Pitt last week. Has coach Mike Norvell said if they will be ready to play this weekend?
“Norvell, as usual, was pretty vague in his response of how Coleman and Wilson are doing in his availability on Monday. But since then, the media has seen Wilson and Coleman practice Wednesday in open availability for practice. Both Wilson and Coleman practiced Wednesday and were making plays. If FSU has both back, the offense is more dynamic. It’s no coincidence the Seminoles snapped their streak of 14 straight games of 30 points or more with the duo out.”
Quarterback Jordan Travis, a Palm Beach County native, is excelling. What improvements to his game has he made?
“Travis continues to grow as a passer. He’s as comfortable as he has been throwing from the pocket and has even utilized his legs less this year but can when he needs to. His trust in his receivers has allowed him to feel comfortable taking more shots this season and that has opened up more in the offense. But he also has trust in his other receivers and can do just about anything in the playbook.”
Miami may have a quarterback battle on its hands this week, and no one outside the program can say for sure who will start this week. How good is the Florida State’s pass defense that awaits UM’s starter?
“The Seminoles have allowed just four passing scores — with one coming in garbage time against LSU. Pittsburgh scored once through the air last week and could have had another if not for a hustle play from Fentrell Cypress II forcing a fumble when a Panthers receiver was about to score following a blown coverage. The Seminoles did not allow a single passing TD in October. With safeties Akeem Dent and Shyheim Brown, as well as cornerbacks Renardo Green and Cypress playing as well as they have all season, the Seminoles also rotate in younger DBs and keep everyone fresh.”
How big of a recruiting weekend is this for Mike Norvell and the Seminoles?
“The last I heard, there were upwards of 200 prospects from the 2024-26 classes expected to be in attendance. That includes 5-star commits Charles Lester, KJ Bolden, Landen Thomas and Luke Kromenhauk in the 2024 class. Receivers Cameron Coleman and Jeremiah Smith are 5-star 2024 flip targets, while 5-star Jamie Ffrench is a 2025 target. This is expected to be the biggest recruiting weekend during a game week for Mike Norvell, who is entering his fourth year as the head coach. A statement victory could do wonders for the program.”
The Hurricanes have been slumping recently, while the Seminoles have been rolling all year. Do you think Miami has a shot in this game?
“It depends on which Miami team shows up. If it’s the one that beat Texas A&M and plays with a chip on its shoulder, this could be a fun one in Doak. If it’s the Miami team which turned the ball over four times against N.C. State, it could be a long afternoon for Miami against a Seminole team playing as well as they have this season.”
What’s your final score prediction?
“FSU 38, Miami 20 — A late score by the Hurricanes will make this a little closer than the final score indicates.”