Saturday, November 26, 2005

Florida State Lose Three in a Row?

Battle of the Sunshine State 3:30 CBS

vs

Matchups:
Florida Offense vs Florida St Defense
The Gators have experienced a significant learning curve trying to implement Urban Meyer's spread option offense this season; significant enough to not be in the SEC Championship Game despite beating Tennessee and Georgia. FSU's Defense is down several key players due to injury and has struggled in its last two game against the run (NC State) and the pass (Clemson). FSU does have the speed to match up with the spread option. This match up will more about who does not make mistakes than who makes plays.

Florida St Offense vs Florida Defense
Based on the last two performances of the FSU Offense, Florida looks to have the advantage here. The Gator defense has had its own troubles, especially when it comes to tackling. It will be important for FSU QB Drew Weatherford to get into a rythm early; FSU will need to try and get the running game going as well. Florida will need to get pressure on Weatherford and let the rush and the crowd get to him in his first start in this rivalry.

Coaching
FSU has not lost back to back regular season games to Florida in 20 years. But this season, they lost their first back to back ACC Games. Meyer can go a long way towards salvaging this season if he beats FSU. A win will put him 3-0 against their three big rivals in year 1. Bowden is a veteran of this game and has tormented Gator Fans for over a quarter century. Advantage should go to FSU with the experience of Bowden and Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews.

Odds and Ends
- Florida and Florida St are meeting for the 50th time.
- With a win, Urban Meyer would become the first Florida coach to beat Tennessee, Georgia, and FSU in their first season as coach.
- Since 1990, the team which has rushed for more yardage has posted a 14-2-1 record. The team with fewer or even turnovers in a game has posted a 11-5-1 record. The team that has led at the half has won nine of the last 10 games in the series (all but 1998) and the team that scores first has won seven of the last 10.

Prediction Time.....
Florida's offense has struggled this season while trying to run Urban's Meyer's new spread option offense. FSU has the better running attack with Lorenzo Booker and Freshmen Antone Smith leading the way. Drew Weatherford will rebound from two dismal performances with a sold outing. FSU wins a close one in the Swamp on the legs of their running backs.
Prediction: FSU 24 Florida 23

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