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Official Discussion: Florida @ FSU

Well, it's here: The Gators and the Seminoles.  The game between the hated in-state rivals in which bragging rights are decided among every neighborhood, workplace and school in the state of Florida.  Throughout the 90s this game had relevance in regards to the national championship, and after a couple down years between the two schools this game means something again on the national stage (for 1 team at least).

The Gators are coming in 10-1 and must win out to have any sort of outside shot at the National Title game against Ohio State.  They are 4th in the BCS and must not only beat the Seminoles, but hope for a USC loss against Notre Dame.

The Seminoles are down this year, currently 6-5 and coming off some very bad performances. They were shut out at home for the first time since 1973 two weeks ago, and have never found rythym at the quarterback position (which could be the coaches fault when it all comes down to it).  The running game hasn't been there for the most part, and the defense has faced a ton of injuries.  The best way the Seminoles could end their regular season would be with a win over the Gators today.

I hope that the Gators don't take this game lightly, and I hope that Gators fans don't think this game will be a cakewalk either.  This is a rivalry game being played at Doak Campbell Stadium, a place the Gators haven't fared too well lately, and the Seminoles will have upset on their mind. Florida has won all season but has not been overly impressive in several of those W's, and FSU is going to be out exploit some of those weaknesses.

Overall my keys to the game will be the running game for both teams.  Florida will have to be able to maintain balance in the offense with a solid run game, whether it comes from DeShawn Wynn, Kestahn Moore or maybe even Mon Williams.  On that note the Gators will have to shut down Lorenzo Booker and not let him get into the open field.  In other words, they'll have to TACKLE.

Another key will be pressuring the FSU quarterbacks. Weatherford has looked pretty awful this season when facing pressure, and does not have the decision making skills to make things happen when has constant hands in his face. The Gators ends will need to do what they've done all season and get to the QB on a constant basis. Strong and Mattison will also need to switch up blitz packages and try to confuse the FSU O-line. Also, the Gators need to make sure that when they pressure Xavier Lee they contain him, because his feet could cause problems for this defense. He's very athletic and can make things happen.

My prediction:  A close game between the Gators and Noles.  My final score prediction will be 21-17 Gators.  Man, I hope I'm right.

In the other very relevant game for Gators fans today, the #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be traveling to Southern California to take on the #3 Trojans.  We will have to be cheering for the Irish in this one, but hoping that they don't look so impressive against USC that they jump us in the BCS. I know, it's complicated.  Anyways, play like a champion today, wake the echoes, etc.

Other good matchups today: South Carolina at Clemson and Georgia Tech takes on the Dawgs.

Update [2006-11-25 11:25:49 by GatorMark]:Gameday just showed a graphic that said Leak only needs 348 yds to be the all-time leader at UF. He won't get it today (I hope he does) but could easily get it in the next 3 games. If so, congrats to Chris. That's amazing considering guys like Spurrier, Bell, Wuerffel and Grossman preceded him as Florida QBs.