14 October 2011
Tomorrow, the Florida State Seminoles will take on the Duke Blue Devils in an effort to avoid a four game losing streak and notch their first win against an FBS and ACC opponent in 2011. There is no denying the disappointment that the season has been thus far, but the biggest mistake these Seminoles could make it mailing it in this early. Saturday's game needs to be a big game for the Seminoles if this season is going to go in any type of positive direction. In the wake of three straight losses, starting the season ranked 5th and now sitting under .500 through five games, the Seminole fanbase is restless and at the very least need to know that their football team can still handle the mighty Duke Blue Devils.
Harry Homer says: Okay I get it, everybody is pissed right? We lost to Wake Forest. It's a tough pill to swallow. But me? I'm looking forward. This is no time to mope around! Our Noles need us and they'll need to have a short memory if they're going to take care of business from here on out so I suggest we do the same. Now, let's talk Duke Blue Devils. I'm sure I'll get the cynics and pessimists fired up when I say this, but Florida State is going to win this game and do so convincingly. It's time for the guys to wake up and I guarantee they are fully aware of that. Duke is a team that has improved, no doubt. But Florida State still has the horses that they simply cannot and will not match. There are people who are concerned about our defense, which I can understand, but many have completely misjudged what this defense has done. What Florida State absolutely has to do is eliminate the big plays. The Noles have played solid defense on literally 90% of the snaps they've seen. The problem is that the other 10% are killing them (in addition to untimely penalties). In 147 plays against Wake Forest and Clemson, Florida State allowed just 398 yards of total offense, which totals out to less than 2.8 yards per play. In the remaining 12 plays against both teams, FSU gave up 437 yards! This doesn't include 124 yards of penalties against Clemson and 112 against Wake Forest. These are the types of issues that the team needs to clean up, but I have faith that they can make it happen. I'm sure a lot of you have your belief in this team shaken, but I'm still betting on a two to three score victory for FSU tomorrow. Florida State 38, Duke 17.
Pete Pessimist says: Harry still selling kool-aid huh? To be honest, I'm not looking forward to this game at all. If we manage to lose to Duke, you can just go ahead and fold it up and Jimbo might wanna consider not making the trip back to Tally. Should we win? Of course we should. But we should've won last week as well. Harry and others will talk all this noise about what the defense does most of the time, but to me that adds up to a pile of nothing when they get burnt for huge amounts later. Those are real issues that have to be fixed and you can't just go writing off huge plays in grouping them in some separate category as if that makes a damn bit of difference on the outcome. The same kids that shut offenses down are out there when they get burnt. Can the FSU defense come out and play intense, organized football for a full 60 minutes? I haven't seen it yet and I'm sick of waiting. Now granted, the offense put them in some awful situations last week. There's no way you win football games when you commit five turnovers, so that needs to be something that's fixed immediately. Perhaps with EJ back in as the starter, things will go a little more smoothly, but let's remember he accounted for two last week also and he's yet to play in a game this year without throwing at least one interception. Hurts to hear that, doesn't it? Whatever, it's the truth. For all my talk, I recognize who we're playing and I'm still of the belief that we can't lose to Duke until it actually happens. Florida State 28, Duke 17.
Randy Realist says: Valid points from both guys once again heading into this week's game. I'm siding with Harry in that I believe we will see a much more clean game out of Florida State tomorrow. The biggest thing to watch here will be penalties. They have absolutely killed the Noles in the past three games and right now are the difference between what could be a 5-0 or 4-1 team and what is the 2-3 team today. Duke has a very real passing game threat, as was highlighted earlier in the week by Regie. Sean Renfree is a very smart player and the Seminoles will have to rattle his cage, which won't be easy because he tends to get the ball out quick and know where to go with it. It's time for FSU's talented DB's to step up and start making plays on the ball, much like they did last season. The trend in the last two games has been that the play of the back seven on defense has not matched that of the front four. That is something that will need to be corrected if the season will be salvaged in any way.
On offense, Florida State has continued to move the ball well through the air and seem to have found a few different playmakers at receiver. Unfortunately, the brightest shining star of that unit may be sitting out with an ankle injury tomorrow. Still, in Rashad Greene's potential absence there are others that will be capable of stepping up to the plate. The Seminoles were able to gather a solid rhythm on the ground last week, particularly compared to its first four contest. Look to see a heavier dose of freshmen Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. against the Blue Devils to continue building that aspect of the offense. I'm calling this game for FSU. Florida State 31, Duke 21.
Storyline to watch
Hurry up offense: In an effort to cater to the Florida State offense's strength, the Seminoles may be moving more towards spreading the field out with its talented receivers. Last week it appeared to put EJ Manuel into a bit more of a rhythm and could also lead to spreading out the defense for more holes in the struggling running game.
Time: 3 pm
Televised: ESPN3.com, FSN
Share your score predictions in the comments section!
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