Four rivalries highlight my selections for Saturday. Some will be slugfests while others will be shootouts. See if you like my thinking.
Miami at Florida State (-21) – I honestly have no clue how Miami is ranked in the top ten but hey, it is what it is. Everyone from one side of this country to the other has FSU covering in this game and I can’t for the life of me find a reason to disagree. Al Golden is doing a really nice job in Miami and his team can flat-out run the football at a clip of over 200 yards per game.
The problem is that this Seminole defense is absolutely flying right now. They are more disciplined and detail-oriented than ever and it is showing. FSU is giving up just 13 points per game and to be really fair, some of those were garbage points scoreddd late by opponents.
The only way the Canes pull this off is by creating turnovers, running the ball effectively and QB Stephen Morris has to be efficient and error-free. I just don’t see those things happening. The Noles have too many athletes on both sides of the ball and this Jimbo Fisher team just seems different. I like Florida State to cover… Like everyone else I guess.
Georgia (-3) vs Florida – The last time these two both entered on losing streaks I’m pretty sure cars were just starting to roll off the assembly line. I refuse to call this game anything other than the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” because that’s what it is and I’m not falling into the political correct world here.
The Gators will hang their hopes on their defense which continues to be pretty good despite a rough outing at Missouri. They rank eighth in the nation in points against and they will need every bit of that to contain Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs also will be getting running back Todd Gurley back and I think he could be the difference.
The one area the Gators could find an advantage is in special teams where Georgia struggles. Even if Florida gets a score off of special teams, I think the Goergia offense will be too much. I like the Dawgs to cover.
Michigan (+5) at Michigan State – The Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy heads back to East Lansing. Both teams have their respective fates in their hands in terms of a Legends’ Division title and the Spartans could grab a really firm hold with a win and a fairly weak schedule down the stretch.
The Spartans boast the nation’s top defense which is giving up 12 points per game. Last week in Champaign, the MSU offense found its’ groove for the very first time in scoring 42 on the Illini.
Michigan has had an odd season needing late-game heroics to beat lowly Akron and UConn while scoring at will Notre Dame and Indiana. This game always comes down to two things; who runs the ball better who takes better care of the ball. It’s that latter issue that really worries me if I’m Michigan. QB Devin Gardner can be a turnover-machine and that could play right into the hands of Sparty.
I like MSU to win, but I expect it to be within the line so take UM.
North Carolina (-5) at North Carolina State – Let’s get right to the heart of this one. The Tar Heels can throw the ball at will. The Wolfpack run the ball a little better than UNC does. They both give up around 25-27 points per game. North Carolina’s Bryn Renner is the better QB so take the Heels to win a shootout in Raleigh.