Florida vs. FSU Prediction, Game Preview

    Florida vs. FSU prediction and game preview. A battle for the Sunshine State takes place in Gainesville between the Gators and Seminoles.

    November 20, 2015


    Sunshine State bragging rights—and more—will be at stake when the Florida Gators (10-1) host the Florida State Seminoles (9-2) Saturday night. Check out the Florida vs. FSU prediction and game preview.

    Florida vs. FSU Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, November 28
    Game Time: 7:30 ET
    Venue: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
    Network: ESPN

    Follow and/or Contact @Rich Cirminiello

    Why You Need To Care

    Instate rivals Florida and Florida State meet for the 60th time. And unlike the past few matchups, the Gators, not the Seminoles, will also be prepping for championship weekend. But Florida has a ton to prove—and correct—before facing Alabama in Atlanta next Saturday.

    Jim McElwain has had a sensational debut in Gainesville, unexpectedly leading the No. 12 Gators to the SEC East title. Still, there are unmistakable flaws that were exposed, particularly on offense, in recent close calls with Vandy, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic. And if the staff can’t use the Seminoles as a jump-off point, dreams of winning the SEC, appearing in a Big Six bowl game and even contending for a playoff spot could all die at once in the Swamp.

    No. 13 FSU remains in the unfamiliar position of knowing that for the first time in four years, there’ll be no game on the first Saturday of December. Clemson owns the ACC Atlantic this season. However, there’s a lot at stake for the Seminole players. A win Saturday means three straight over the hated Gators and an almost certain invitation to a Big Six bowl event. Oh, and the Noles can also delight in being the kings of Florida, having already handled Miami and USF.

    Why Florida State Will Win

    If the Gators couldn’t solve the FAU defense, how will they possibly manage FSU?

    Among ranked teams, Florida might have the worst offense. They can’t run it consistently, QB Treon Harris makes too many mistakes and the O-line was whipped last week by a Conference USA front. Those are troubling realities with the Seminoles coming to campus. Florida State hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in a game all year. And with DBs Jalen Ramsey and Derwin James making it impossible for Harris to complete passes downfield, the Noles can stack the box to neutralize Kelvin Taylor on the ground. On offense, FSU harbors the only game-changer in this matchup, RB Dalvin Cook, who thrives against instate opponents.

    Why Florida Will Win

    Yeah, the offense is necrotic. But the Gators have won 10 and will play in the SEC Championship Game because the defense is really that good.

    With all due respect to Clemson, Florida State hasn’t faced a defense as ferocious as the one it’ll see on Saturday night. Florida is nasty at every level, especially with linebackers Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis and DBs Vernon Hargreaves, Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye patrolling the back seven. The Gators are tied for sixth nationally in yards per play allowed, testament to their closing speed and penchant for preventing yards after contact. Plus, throwing on Hargreaves and Tabor is a recipe for turnovers and a flurry of punts.

    Player Who Matters

    An iffy Florida State O-line that makes far too many mistakes could be getting a break this weekend.

    Star Gator DT Jon Bullard, who’s played valiantly through knee pain, could be scratched on Saturday. It would be an enormous loss for Florida, since Bullard has been one of the top interior linemen in college football this season. His absence would likely mean that redshirt freshman Taven Bryan gets the start next to Caleb Brantley. It would also mean more daylight for Cook as the Seminoles look to deemphasize QB Sean Maguire in the matchup with the Gators’ next-level cornerbacks.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Florida has been teetering on the brink in November. Florida State is determined to shove the Gators over the edge.

    The Gators may be in the title hunt, but the Seminoles are the more complete squad, thanks in large part to the presence of Cook. No, he won’t run wild, like he did against Miami. But he will pop off a couple of long runs, as well as keeping the chains moving. Florida, meanwhile, will continue to struggle on offense, with Harris faltering in the face of the Seminole pass rush and defensive backs. The Gators will be in the awkward and uncommon position of losing the week leading up to the SEC title tilt.

    Florida vs. FSU Prediction

    Final Score: Florida State 26, Florida 20, Line: Florida State -2, o/u: 43
    Must See Rating: 5: Creed – 1: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade … 4

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 12

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