(3) Florida State Seminoles (-3.5, 61.5) at Miami Hurricanes
Despite staying undefeated last weekend with a 34-20 win over Virginia, the Florida State Seminoles dropped a spot in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, slipping from No. 2 to No. 3. They will try to earn it back with a win over the Miami Hurricanes this Saturday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami (8 p.m. Eastern).
Florida State is 9-0 but their best victory – a 31-27 win over then-No. 5 Notre Dame – became much less influential last weekend when the Irish lost badly to Arizona State. Now, the Noles’ body of work is apparently less impressive than that of the one-loss Oregon Ducks.
This weekend, Florida State faces a dangerous Hurricanes squad that is a perfect 5-0 at home. The key for the Noles will be stopping Miami’s two-headed attack of junior RB Duke Johnson and freshman QB Brad Kaaya. Johnson has rushed for 1,213 yards (eighth in the FBS) and nine touchdowns this year, while Kaaya has thrown for 2,087 yards, 20 majors, and nine interceptions.
“I know he is playing very well, and he is a very talented guy,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said of Kaaya. “I know the offense that he is in. James carries a lot of things that we do plus some other things he does. He has to be a very cerebral guy and a very mental guy to be where he is at right [now] and having the success. He obviously has tremendous upside.”
Miami is just 6-3 on the season, but enter this game on a three-game winning streak, with Ws over Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina. The Canes also hold an impressive 22-10 home win over now-No. 21 Duke (which is the Blue Devils’ only loss of the season).
“It’s an enormous opportunity to prove something to the world,” Kaaya said. “A lot of people doubted us, I’m sure a lot of people still continue to and they have good reason to. We just have to keep progressing as a team.”
The Seminoles are 3.5-point favorites on the road. Miami is 2-4 ATS in its last six home games against Florida State.
(Photo credit: NT1952 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)