FSU Beat: Seminoles Gear Up for Miami

On Saturday, the 6-1 Florida State Seminoles will be visiting the state rival Hurricanes for an 8:00 pm showdown. It will be the seventh of Florida State’s first eight games that will be played in the state of Florida. The Hurricanes have notoriously poor home attendance, regardless of how the team has been playing, but the atmosphere when the Seminoles comes to town is typically that of a big time college football game. Fortunately for FSU, there will be plenty of Seminole fans in the crowd.

There is the concern that this series may be losing a bit of its luster. To be frank, Miami is in bad shape, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The public has a difficult time respecting a one sided rivalry and unfortunately, while FSU has been trending up in recent years, there is currently a legitimate talent gap between the Noles and Canes. In addition to the current state of each program, Miami has likely NCAA sanctions looming. Depending on the severity of punishment, it could cripple the program down south for two seasons, minimum.

The positive for Florida State fans is that a weakened Miami program makes convincing players from their backyard to come to Tallahassee a much easier task. The negative for college football fans as a whole is that one of the sport’s greatest rivalries loses its competitiveness. Historically, when Miami and Florida State square off, the nation tunes in to watch. Will that still be the case of Miami is reeling? Florida State has not been defeated by Miami in Miami since 2004. The Seminoles come in boasting a powerful and diverse ground attack against a Miami defense that ranks 118th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game.

In defense of Miami’s defense, they have played two option teams to date, which has certainly contributed to the six straight games in which they have given up 200+ yards rushing. Without question, Florida State should be trying to exert their force and take advantage of this glaring weakness. Given the ground productivity they have put forward thus far with Chris Thompson and James Wilder Jr., there is little to suggest that they will not. Through seven games in 2012, the Seminoles have outpaced their total 2011 run production in yards by nearly 200 and total rushing touchdowns by three.

On offense, the Canes do not boast spectacular weapons at receiver to challenge the Seminoles down field. Stephen Morris has played well at times, but can also be a bit erratic under pressure. He has a big time arm and is mobile enough to extend plays. Unfortunately for Miami, he may not be getting the start on Saturday due to an ankle injury suffered against UNC. Even if he were to play, it would stand to reason that his mobility would be limited.

Despite these facts and what seems to be overwhelming odds against Miami, including being a 17 point underdog at home, this is still a rivalry game and it will not be played on paper. Florida State has shown that they have an ugly game in them and just dropped a heart breaker to an over-matched NC State team. While it is difficult to envision the Seminoles coming into this rivalry game anything less than focused, and losing to this particular version of the Miami Hurricanes would be an unforgivable offense, It would be foolish to expect that Al Golden’s bunch will give anything less than their best.

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Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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