FSU vs. Miami: Vegas proven irrelevant

A hard-hitting rivalry that always turned out a lot of pro prospects seems to have taken a step back, but expect a close game anyway.

There’s a big difference between Florida State’s rivalries with the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators.

First, the big things they share: there is no love lost between any of those three teams. There’s fair amount of hatred all around, but especially in the Seminoles’ two rivalries (since Florida has stopped playing Miami). And yes, FSU has played many games in the past, against both teams, that have decided national championships.

But that’s about where the similarities end.

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FSU and Miami has always been a respectful rivalry on the field, between two squads that were often loaded with talent that would play at the next level. They knew this, and they played games that were at a different level than most college football matchups. Sure, there would be some rivalries that would look that way for a year, maybe two, but the Seminoles and Hurricanes were like that for decades.

Although Miami has fallen apart in recent years — and FSU had a mediocre decade as well — these two teams have remained in the spotlight. Despite the lack of premier football, the annual rivalry game has remained exciting and fast-paced. It’s the reason why ABC picked them up for their 8 p.m. spotlight game tonight, which will be the tilt shown to most of the country. An unranked Miami team against an FSU team that has already let the pollsters down, yet they continue to be interesting.

That’s why you’d be crazy to believe Florida State will cover the 21-point spread offered up by Vegas for tonight’s game.

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It looks like a safe bet that the ‘Noles will run the ‘Canes out of their own stadium. According to Coley Harvey of the Orlando Sentinel, who crunched the numbers, FSU is running up more than 530 yards of total offense per game, while Miami gives up more than 500 yards per game. The UM defense that has been so feared for the last 30-plus years has become an absolute farce, and there’s been little to suggest they will be able to stop the high-powered FSU offense.

That’s where they get you.

But the underdog always finds a way to stay in this game. Ten of the last 11 matchups have been decided by eight points or less. A 21-point spread is extremely large in this rivalry, and I believe it’s too big for this game. Florida State has been a group with issues starting quickly, and unless they really run up the score early, a three-touchdown win will not be happening tonight. The Miami fans that do show up will make this a difficult atmosphere, in a hostile stadium. It didn’t matter that there were tens of thousands of FSU fans in Tampa a few weeks ago when the Seminoles played South Florida.

The same will occur tonight, I believe. These kids that grew up together know too much about each other, and that will keep the game from becoming a blowout.

Always has, always will.

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