Posts Tagged 'clemson'

College FootBlog Week 4 Recap

Week 4 of the College Football season is officially in the books, and the dominant players and teams are beginning to separate from the rest of the pack.  College FootBlog breaks down last weekends action in the Week 4 Recap.

Sooners fall out of #1 spot:  Once a Heisman front-runner, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has been very average the last two weeks, throwing for 4 TD’s and 4 picks.  The Sooners still won, but they didn’t exactly get the payback they were looking for against Mizzou, who upset OU last season in Columbia.  Wins against Florida State and Mizzou, who are both 2-2 with no big wins against major programs, along with LSU’s dominance against top-tier competition allowed the Tigers to jump ahead of the Sooners in the AP Poll.  Luckily for Sooner fans, LSU and Alabama square off in Tuscaloosa in a month, so one of those teams will drop a few spots.

Brandon Weeden continues to lead the high-octane OSU offense (photo courtesy of OSU Marketing)

LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu may be the best DB in the country:  LSU and Alabama have the two best defenses in the country–and it’s not even close.  The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers against top-flight competition, all away from Death Valley.  Their defense is full of elite talent that will be playing on Sundays in the near future, but the guy that always seems to make the biggest plays on the biggest stages is cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.  In last weekend’s bigtime match up against West Virginia, the sophomore DB had a key interception and a forced fumble, in which he literally ripped the ball right out of the hands of WV wideout Brad Starks.  That makes twice that Mathieu has brought his A-game to a national television audience–in week one, he stripped the ball from Oregon punt returner Kenjon Barner and promptly took the fumble in for a touchdown, and the Ducks never recovered.

Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden continues to light it up:  We anticipated a shoot out, and that’s exactly what we got last weekend, when Oklahoma State traveled to Texas A&M.  Weeden threw for 438 yards (a new school record) and two TDs against the Aggies.  The senior quarterback completed a whopping 47 passes in 60 attempts and spread the ball around nicely–he had three different receivers with ten or more catches, led by dynamic wideout Justin Blackmon, who had 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.  Weeden currently leads the nation in passing yards per game with 398.0 per contest.

Florida could be back:  After a disappointing 2010 season, first year head coach Will Muschamp has the Gators off to a 4-0 start, 2-0 in SEC play.  Quarterback John Brantley looks much more comfortable in Charlie Weis’ pro-style attack versus Urban Meyer’s spread attack that made Tim Tebow a household name, although they didn’t need much passing last weekend against Kentucky, as both Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey rushed for over 100 yards a piece.  More importantly, Muschamp has brought his attitude to the Gator defense, who created four turnovers last weekend.  We’ll see just how far Florida has come very soon–the Gators host Alabama this weekend and travel to LSU next weekend.

The ACC is not good at tackle football:  I’m not sure how the intramural flag football programs in the ACC are, but several programs proved their conference still isn’t ready for big boy football.  After giving then #1 Oklahoma all they could handle, Florida State’s defense was gashed by the Clemson QB-WR combo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.  The ‘Noles gave up 455 yards to the Tigers, 366 coming through the air.  FSU was supposed to be the ACC’s hope for a title-contender in 2011, but that’s not going to happen.  Miami lost to Kansas State, NC State was destroyed by Cincinnati, and Maryland had the ugly knocked out of their uniforms by Temple 38-7.  Until the ACC can beat quality out of conference opponents, they will not be taken seriously in the BCS title talk.

Heisman Dark Horse Part 3: Jacory Harris

In part three of our Heisman Dark Horse candidates, we take a look at Miami quarterback Jacory Harris.  In case you missed them, we featured Florida State’s Christian Ponder in our first article (see link) and West Virginia running back Noel Devine in our second article (see link).

After splitting snaps with Robert Marve as a freshman, Harris took the reigns last season exclusively.  And the then-sophomore QB didn’t disappoint.  When the dust settled, Harris led the ACC with 3,352 yards passing. In order for Harris to have a legitimate shot at the Heisman, at least two things must happen in 2010.  College FootBlog takes an in-depth look at these items and analyzes Harris’ chances of punching a plane ticket to New York this December.

Harris must cut down on his mistakes this fall if he wants a shot at the Heisman (google images)

Many of those picks were due to poor decisions and/or bad reads.  Other picks were caused by pressure up the middle that did not allow Harris to properly step into his throws, which caused the ball to float, giving the defensive backs time to adjust and attack the ball at its highest point.  He must improve this if he wants to show up on anyone’s Heisman radar this fall.

Will it happen?  It should.  With a full year under his belt and home games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina (two games Harris really struggled) and an off-season to study film can only help him.  An injured thumb on his throwing hand didn’t help Harris last year, either.  Harris had surgery on that thumb and appears to be ready to go for two-a-days, and because he was not able to throw this spring, he spent his time in film study, which should improve his decisions and reads this fall.

Harris must shine in his nationally televised games:  This point directly ties into the previous one–decision-making.  Harris will lead his team into some of the most hostile stadiums in the country this year, traveling to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes and they travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson, who Harris struggled against last season.  

Each of those games has a great shot at national coverage, and the annual rivalry games against Florida State and Virginia Tech will likely be opportunities for Harris and the ‘Canes to play in front of a national audience.  If North Carolina continues where they left off last season, there is a chance for yet another nationally televised game against the Tar Heals as well.  Big performances in those games would go a long way in impressing Heisman voters who are not in the southeastern United States.

Will it happen?  Probably, but how much he improves is debatable.  What should concern ‘Canes fans is that ten of his 17 Int’s came against the good defenses he faced.  Miami played five games against defenses that ranked in the Top 20 in the country, and there was only one of those games (Wisconsin) that Harris made it through the game without throwing the ball to the wrong-colored jersey.

The Hurricanes will again have to face top-tier defenses in 2010, and that includes trips to Ohio State (ranked #5 in total defense in 2009) and Pitt (ranked #23 in total defense in 2009).  They get North Carolina and rivals Florida State and Virginia Tech at home, but they travel to Death Valley to take on a Clemson defense that roughed Harris up several quarterbacks last year.

Mega-Conferences: Be Careful What You Wish For

The fate of the Big 12 Conference was in the hands of the Texas Longhorns, and earlier this week, the conference was finally able to exhale.  After more guaranteed revenue, the University of Texas agreed to keep the conference intact, and they were soon followed by Oklahoma.  And despite the departures of Nebraska next fall and Colorado in 2012, the threat of the mega-conferences is on the back burner.  Now the question is how long the current situation will last.

Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns are staying with the Big 12....at least for now (google images)

It appears that this is a band-aid on an issue that could require plastic surgery.  Had Texas and Oklahoma left for the Pac 10 and Texas A&M bolted for the SEC, it would have had a domino effect in the rest of the college football world.  All conferences must learn from what could have happened and they need to prepare themselves for the same situation 3-5 years down the road.   College FootBlog takes a look at what might have been had the Longhorns set the mega-conferences into motion and weighs two potential impacts it would have had.

1.  The ACC and Big East would have been dead in the water.  The ACC thought they were going to challenge the SEC when they on-boarded Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College a few years ago.  Instead, Miami and Florida State have struggled to live up to their prestige from the 80’s and 90’s, and with huge losses in out of conference and bowl games, they have been little more than an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl because the BCS has to have a representative from their conference.

The Big East has come a long way since losing their coveted teams to the ACC.  But it hasn’t been easy.  Despite having three teams finish in the Top 25 last season, the Big East is still trying to prove they belong with the big boys.  The emergence of Pitt, Cincinnati and Rutgers has helped give them some respectability, but they are still largely considered a second-tier league.  With the depth they had last season, that is somewhat unfair, but that is still the general consensus. 

The Big Ten flirted with Pitt when they originally wanted to have 14-16 teams in their league, and much like when the ACC raided them a few years ago, the conference seemed ready to take their lumps and move on.  There is talk that if and when the SEC comes calling, they will go after Virginia Tech, but even if the mega-conferences leave the ACC and Big East alone, each conference could easily become a footnote in the BCS title hunt if the big conferences get bigger and deeper.  That would result in far less revenue and could effectively make each conference a new-aged mid-major. 

If they don’t want that to happen, representatives from each conference need to take advantage of the new three-year window and fight for stability and/or growth.  Otherwise, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech could easily look to jump ship before it goes down.

2.  The Mid-Majors would have dropped further into obscurity.  Even with Boise State making the move to the Mountain West, they simply will not be able to compete in terms of revenue and overall respectability vs a 16-team Pac 10.  Add to it that Utah is likely jumping ship from the MWC to become the Pac 10’s 12th team, and they will continue to fight for some well-deserved attention in college football.  Should the Pac 10 increase to a 16-team league in the future, all hope of having a representative in the BCS National Championship will be gone.

The conference already had an uphill battle due to the lack of television coverage and the perception that they, along with the other mid-majors are the little brother of the bigger, more traditional BCS conferences, but one or two mega-conferences would effectively shut the door on their chances for a title.

That would be a shame, considering what Boise State and Utah have more than represented themselves and their conferences on the big stage of a BCS bowl game.  A one-loss or even a two-loss team from a mega-conference could easily get the nod from voters to play in a title game over an undefeated mid-major team.  Considering the strength of schedule from a 16-team SEC and/or Pac 10, it would be very difficult to keep a conference champion from a dominant conference out of the National Championship.

The other major issue facing the non-BCS Conferences would be their ability to schedule decent out of conference games.  Boise State and TCU are already teams that present a no-win situation for a major program.  If the larger program wins, they were supposed to win.  If they lose, the upset becomes an instant classic.  A 16-team conference would provide more than enough competition and national recognition without scheduling a couple tough out of conference games, leaving the cupboard bare for the mid-majors to challenge the big boys.

College FootBlog wants your input.  Let us know your thoughts on the Mega-Conferences and the pros and cons if they become a reality.

2010 College Football ACC Preview (Atlantic Division)

The summer time is rapidly approaching, and that means fun in the sun for most, but for college football enthusiasts, it’s like entering a bit of a black hole.  Summer workouts begin, but until two-a-days begin in August, coaching staffs are not allowed to be directly involved with the player drills and workouts (unless, of course, Rich Rodriguez is at the helm…sorry, we couldn’t resist). 

As we enter this dead period, College FootBlog will take a look at each major conference and will provide preliminary power rankings.  Our first conference breakdown will be the ACC.  We first take a look at the Atlantic Divison, and we will take a peek at the Coastal Division later in this week. 

All-American guard Rodney Hudson anchors FSU's offensive line, which will be one of the top OLs in the nation (google images).

1. Florida State:  After several years of underachieving, look for FSU to back it up this season.  The Seminoles return all starters on the offensive line, which has two All-American candidates in guard Rodney Hudson and tackle Andrew Datko.  The issue that needs to improve is the Seminole defense, who finished last season 108th nationally in total defense.  While a revamped coaching staff on that side of the ball will probably not lead to a top 25 defense, there is every reason to believe that they will be much improved this fall.  Throw in Heisman Trophy candidate Christian Ponder at QB, and the ‘Noles should have the inside track at representing the Atlantic Division in this year’s ACC Championship Game.

2.  Clemson:  The loss of the electric running back, CJ Spiller will leave a huge void in the Tigers offense.  We will find out in a few weeks whether or not quarterback Kyle Parker will be taking snaps this fall, or if he will pursue a professional baseball career.  The question marks on offense are somewhat offset by the playmakers on the defensive line, most notably DE Da’Quan Bowers.  The other thing going against Clemson is that they play ACC Atlantic favorite Florida State in Tallahassee this year.

After missing all of last season, Mark Herzlich is now cancer-free (google images)

3.  Boston College: The big story out of BC is the return of 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Mark Herzlich, who is now cancer free.  The offense that struggled quite a bit last season returns four of five starters, and after some growing pains last season, quarterback Dave Shinskie will be looked upon to provide more consistency to an offense that ranked 93rd in passing offense last season.  Everyone will be rooting for Herzlich to have a good season, but it may be difficult to return to his ’08 form this quickly after aggressive treatment of the illness that forced him to miss all of last season.  Still, he should provide a jolt to a solid defense that ranked 26th nationally last year.

4.  NC State:  Defensively, the Wolfpack lose seven starters, which includes all four starters on the defensive line.  The good news for the ‘Pack is that linebacker Nate Irving, who missed all of last season due to injuries sustained from  car accident is back and participated in spring ball this year.  His absence last year, however, actually helps the depth going into this year, as some younger players gained valuable experience filling that void.  The strength of NC State should be at quarterback.  Head coach Tom O’Brien already knows what he will get from althetic QB Russell Wilson, and because Wilson used this spring to focus on baseball, back up Sean Glennon got valuable reps all spring to help with depth.

5.  Wake Forest:  As great as head coach Jim Grobe has been at Wake, he has his work cut out for him this season, after the loss of Riley Skinner, who started four years at quarterback in Winston-Salem.  The Deacons also have to replace three senior starters on the offensive line and five senior defensive players, including cornerback Brandon Ghee who went in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.  Grobe is a great coach and has added some talented recruiting classes, but this year’s youth and inexperience will be a difficult hill to climb.

6.  Maryland:  There is a very good possibility the head coach Ralph Friedgen will not make it to see the 2011 season, at least in College Park.  Much of Maryland’s issues last season could be attributed to the poor play of their offensive line, which gave up three sacks a game last season.  The outlook for this season is pretty bleak, with the loss of Bruce Campbell.  The ‘Terps are coming off a miserable 2009 campaign that resulted in a 2-10 record, and unfortunately for Maryland fans, all signs point to another sub-.500 year this fall.

Look for College FootBlog’s breakdown of the ACC Coastal Division later this week!

NFL Combine Big Winners and Losers

Each year, millions of dollars are at stake in Indianapolis, as top college players take part in testing and interviews at the NFL Combine.  Depending on their performances over the four-day period, these young men can literally make or lose millions of dollars based on what they show NFL scouts in this short amount of time.

This year was no different from years past as a few individuals improved their stock, while others likely took major hits to their wallets.  College FootBlog breaks down six of the biggest winners and three of the biggest losers based on their combine performances.

Winners

Jacoby Ford posted the Combine's top forty time at 4.28 seconds (google images)

1.  Jacoby Ford (WR/Clemson):  Ford stole the show on the wideout day, posting a ridiculous forty time of 4.28.  At 5’9″ and 186 lbs, many experts had him pegged in the later rounds of the draft.  Ford helped his stock even more by running very crisp routes, negating the criticism that he was just a return man.  With his performance in the receiver drills and his forty time, Ford is now drawing comparisons to Carolina Panther All-Pro Steve Smith.

2.  Taylor Mays (Safety/USC):  Mays was already tabbed as a first rounder, but his 4.43 time in the forty may have moved him into the top 10.  Mays has made a steady climb since the Senior Bowl, where he intercepted a pass in the game, showing critics that he is only a big hitter that he can also perform in coverage.

3.  Jahvid Best ( RB/Cal):  Best was right in the thick of the Heisman race before he was forced to miss several games due to a concussion.  His speed has been well-documented–Best was the California state champion in the 100-meter dash as a senior with a blistering time of 10.31 seconds.  That speed was on display for the pro scouts at the combine as Best posted the top time for all running backs, edging CJ Spiller by 0.02 seconds with a time of 4.35.

4.  Eric Berry (Safety/Tennessee):  Berry also showed out in the forty-yard dash, posting an official time of 4.47.  Like Mays, Berry was already considered a first rounder, but the versatile defensive back showed a lot of confidence and great hips and change of direction in the combine drills.  That, in addition to playing for defensive guru Monte Kiffin should result in a nice payday for him next month.

5.  Sean Weatherspoon (ILB/Missouri):  Weatherspoon continues to see his stock soar as he ran a 4.68 forty, which is very respectable for a middle linebacker.  He also did an unbelievable 34 reps of 225 lbs in the bench press.   This strong performance combined with his dominance in the Senior Bowl, where Weatherspoon showed cover skills to compliment his ability to close holes and make tackles will only help his stock.

6.  Dekoda Watson (Linebacker/Florida St.):  Watson ran a 4.52 forty and is now up to 240 lbs.  FSU’s defensive captain from 2009 battled minor injuries throughout his career, but his speed off the edge and his improved muscle mass should help the OLB move higher in the third round or potentially crack the late second round.

Losers

Joe Haden's slow forty time likely dropped him out of the Top 10 in next months draft (google images)

1.  Joe Haden (CB/Florida):  Haden was widely considered the to DB in the draft this year, but his stock took a major hit at the combine, as he posted a very unimpressive 4.57 and followed that time up with a 4.60.  Despite all the great film of Haden from his dominant days at Florida, this slow time will have a major impact on his stock. 

2.  LeGarrette Blount  (RB/Oregon):  Blount was already fighting an uphill battle due to his actions in the 2009 opener against Boise State when he KO’d Byron Hout and then had to be held back by coaches and teammates from going into the crowd to fight fans.  After a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, Blount showed up at the combine looking like he was carrying some extra, unnecessary weight. 

That proved to be the case when he clocked in at 4.62 and 4.69 in the forty.  His 241-pound frame should help his cause, but even for a big back, 4.62 is not a solid time.  Blount could have offset the less than stellar forty time with the bench press, but he managed 19 reps of 225 lbs, which is okay, but not spectacular.

3.  Tony Pike (QB/Cincinnati):  Pike was on a lot of scouts’ radar going into this season, but after a rather unimpressive performance at the Senior Bowl, he had a lot to gain going into the combine.  After the combine, he likely dropped even lower.  Pike took part in throwing drills and many scouts were unimpressed with his arm strength.  Pike, who is not a physical specimen, will have to hope for a third round selection.

2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings Part 1

With the 2009 football season now officially in the books, College FootBlog will tackle the ongoing debate of which conference is the best in the FBS.  In this three-part breakdown, we will rank the six major conferences from the BCS in 2009, and we will also provide an outlook for each conference for the 2010 season. 

In our first of three articles, we will take a look at teams five and six in the power rankings of the major BCS conferences, although it should be noted that Boise State and TCU could make us rank eight conferences at the conclusion of next season. 

Oregon State's Quizz Rodgers has his sights set on a Pac 10 Title (google images)

6.  Pac 10 

2009 Recap:  For the last several years, USC has brought respect to the conference, but last year’s fall from grace left put the pressure on the other teams in the conference to step up.  No one else did–at least not consistently.  The Pac 10 was a dismal 2-5 in bowls last season and one of those wins was USC’s victory over a very mediocre Boston College team in the Emerald Bowl.  Losing three linebackers and quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first day of the NFL Draft last season proved to be too much for Pete Carroll to overcome. 

After a promising start, Cal fell far below expectations, and Oregon started and finished with huge losses on national television.  Toby Gerhart led the Stanford Cardinal on the college football map, but overall, the Pac 10’s 2-5 bowl record was very underwhelming. 

2010 Outlook:  All signs point to the Pac 10 having a big turnaround next season.   Conference Champ Oregon returns quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James.   Oregon State will have the Rodgers brothers returning key running backs coming back next year, Arizona is emerging after an 8-5 record, and Jim Harbaugh and Steve Sarkisian have Stanford and Washington out of the cellar of college football. 

5.  ACC

 2009 Recap:  The ACC barely made the cut for the fifth worst conference in college football last season.  For the

VT's Ryan Williams exploded on the scene in '09, rushing for over 1,500 yards and 19 TD's (google images)

second year in a row, the Atlantic Coast Conference was consistently inconsistent.  Paul Johnson once again proved to critics that the triple option can (and does) work in major college football, but they could not get things going against Iowa’s defense in the Orange Bowl. 

Virginia Tech racked up ten wins, but once again, Frank Beamer was unable to get his team over the hump as one of college football’s elite teams.  For what seems like the fifth straight year, Clemson failed to live up to all of the hype as well, losing five games, including one against a very average South Carolina team.  Overall, ACC teams finished with a 3-4 bowl record in ’09. 

2010 Outlook:  Like the Pac 10, the ACC should make significant strides in 2010.  Georgia Tech may take a step back with Jonathan Dwyer departing to the NFL, but several teams should be much improved.  Virginia Tech returns running back Ryan Williams and QB Tyrod Taylor, and we may actually see Miami and Florida State get back on the map.  Each of the traditional power houses from Florida showed signs that they may be on the cusp of regaining greatness, but they were up and down for much of the season.  Look for Miami and FSU to make a serious run at Va Tech next season. 

Note:  Look for Parts 2 & 3 of College FootBlog’s 2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings later this week. 

 

Gator Bowl Prediction: West Virginia vs. Florida State

As the new year begins, an era in college football will conclude.  On January 1st, the Florida State Seminoles will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl in Bobby Bowden’s final football game at FSU.  In this match up, West Virginia will look to gain even more respect for the Big East, but the ‘Noles will be playing for something bigger than themselves, as they will look to send their legendary coach off with a victory in his final game. 

College FootBlog will break down this New Year’s Day match up, analyze the strengths and key concerns of each team, and ultimately, make a prediction of this game. 

Noel Devine is one of the most electric RB's in all of college football (google images)

 

West Virginia 

 
Strengths:  The Mounaineers have a solid running game, led by junior running back, Noel Devine.  Despite being hampered by nagging injuries in the middle of the season, Devine has still managed to rack up 1,297 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. 
Quarterback, Jarrett Brown compliments Devine in the running game as well and has rushed for 423 yards himself.  They will look to have a big day against FSU’s struggling defense.
 
Key Concerns:  Despite having a stout defense against the run, WV’s pass defense has been exposed somewhat this season, ranking 52nd nationally in the FBS. 
The secondary will have to step up in this game because Florida State spreads the ball around to multiple receivers and backs.  Their ability to cover the intermediate routes and screens will have a direct impact on who wins this game.
 
Strengths:  FSU’s offense has taken another huge step forward this season, averaging just under 422 yards from scrimmage per game.  One key component of that has been the leadership and solid play from quarterback Christian Ponder.  Unfortunately, for the ‘Noles, Ponder’s season was cut short with a separated shoulder.

Freshman QB EJ Manuel will need a solid day if the 'Noles want a win (google images)

 
Freshman QB EJ Manuel has assumed that role, and has filled in fairly well in his three starts.  The wideouts at FSU are very versatile and any of them can make the big play, but the most consistent of the group has been sophomore, Bert Reed, who has racked up 710 receiving yards this season.
 
Key Concerns:  FSU’s defense has been brutal this season, ranking 110th nationally.  Legendary defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews will need to get his unit to play inspired football, or West Virginia could make it a long day for the ‘Noles.
 
FSU has had particular trouble with the spread this season, and Devine and company will provide one of the toughest challenges they have had all year.
 
Florida State Offense vs. West Virginia Defense
  
Even though Manuel is a young quarterback, he has a lot of weapons around him, and more importantly, in front of him.  FSU’s offensive line is the best OL in the ACC, and the weeks of preparation have given time for All-American guard Rodney Hudson to get back to full strength.
 
West Virginia has a unique defensive scheme with their 3-5-3, but FSU’s OL coach, Rick Trickett, who coached there before coming to Tallahassee, will have his line ready to play against them.  Also, look for EJ Manuel to hit a lot of screens and short passes early to soften the defense and get him into a rhythm.  EDGE:  FSU
  
West Virginia Offense vs. Florida State Defense
  
West Virginia’s spread attack and the speed of Noel Devine will be tough to overcome.  FSU has been vulnerable to the big play all season, and this game should be no different.  The ‘Noles have a particularly tough time with misdirection, and the Mountaineers will likely use this to their advantage.
 
The Mountaineers are not known for their ability to throw the ball, but pretty much every opponent FSU has faced, regardless of talent at QB, has scorched the ‘Noles’ struggling secondary.  With that in mind, WV will likely take a few shots down the field.  EDGE:  WV
  
Special Teams
  
We have mentioned how explosive Noel Devine is as a running back, but he is equally as dangerous as a kick returner.  The Seminoles, however, have had a lot of success this season against some of the best returners in the country, including Clemson’s CJ Spiller.  That is because of the leg of freshman kicker Dustin Hopkins, who has boomed a whopping 23 kickoffs for touchbacks, which is fifth best in the country.
 
Couple that with the nation’s top punt returner in freshman Greg Reid, and Florida State’s special teams have truly been special this season.  EDGE:  FSU
  
Prediction
  
As bad as FSU’s defense has been all season, look for them to play inspired football.  It is, afterall, the final game for head coach Bobby Bowden and longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.  Also, take into account FSU’s success at the Gator Bowl (5-0-1 all-time), and the ‘Noles will be tough to beat.
 
Expect a high-scoring game, but ultimately, we think FSU’s offense will have a solid game with all the preparation time, and the defense will do just enough to send Bowden off with yet another bowl win.  Score Prediction:  FSU wins 33-27