Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes, Saturday Oct. 8, 8 p.m. ET
This is not how this was supposed to happen. Florida State was supposed to be unbeaten and cruising towards the only game that mattered - the seemingly annual showdown for ACC supremacy against Clemson. But it sure hasn't turned out that way. First, the Seminoles were totally humiliated by Louisville. They lost by 43, and frankly that was flattering. Then they beat South Florida but allowed far too many points (35) in doing so. Then, just in case one horrible loss didn't damn the team's playoff chances, they went out last week and lost again to North Carolina. Now they are facing the insult of being an underdog in Miami - an almost unimaginable situation at the start of the season given the expectations for the two teams. This is not the dream that the team's players and fans had.
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Florida State at Miami Betting Storylines
Florida State obviously has a whole lot of issues. The record makes that obvious. What is most striking of all, though, is just how weak the secondary has been. There is almost an embarrassment of talent in the secondary, yet they have looked they have been trying to play while walking on ball bearings all season. They look confused, they miss calls, and they are late for assignments. They too often look like they just don't care. They are getting torched time and again. North Carolina's QB Mitch Trubisky is a very nice player, but there is no way that he should be able to pass for 405 yards against the Seminoles. He averaged 10.7 yards per attempt and completed 31 of 38 attempts. That's a total defensive failure, and that isn't the first time it has happened. Miami's Brad Kaaya is a capable passer - accurate, and mostly able to avoid mistakes. He could have a very good day if the Seminoles don't fix their issues in a real hurry. That fix isn't going to come easy, though, because it's not like there is just one thing to work with. Schematically they have issues, but more significantly there are obviously issues with attitudes and lack of trust. That doesn't just go away.
Miami fans are probably about ready to install the Mark Richt statue. After years of frustrations, the prodigal son returned home this offseason, and he is off to a raging start at 4-0 and highly ranked. It's a dream for a team beaten down by the Randy Shannon and Al Golden eras. They might want to hold off on the coronation for a while, though. Richt was a strong hire, and he'll succeed here, but as of yet he hasn't proven much. They have only beaten Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, and a Georgia Tech squad that has now lost two in a row. In other words, they haven't yet been tested. With a schedule that weak it is tough to draw a lot of meaning from what they have done statistically. In other words, though Miami has a much better record, we know far less about them than we do Florida State. All of what we do know about Miami is mostly positive, though, while Florida State is 11 kinds of ugly right now. This is one of the more interesting games to handicap we have seen so far this season.
Florida State at Miami Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Miami favored by two points. 60 percent of early bets have come in on Miami. We aren't likely to see dramatic line movement at this point, though that could change if any news develops.
The Seminoles are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up loss. The "under" is 9-4 in their last 13 conference games. The Hurricanes have covered their last four spreads and 4-1 ATS in their last five games in October. They have gone "over" the total in five of their last seven conference games. The road team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these squads.
Florida State at Miami Predictions and Picks
Florida State is by far the more talented team, and they should win this one. Or at least they should if they were playing anywhere close to their potential. They aren't, of course, and it feels like there is a good chance they could quit on themselves after their two losses. Miami, meanwhile, will be completely fired up for this one. This is a big game for them - not so much to keep them in the ACC race as to make a statement that things are different under the new regime. They have by far the more established, proven QB, and he will have a strong day against this secondary. I would hesitate if I had to give up a field goal or more, but at this price Miami is the pick.
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