Note: If you're looking for the 2012 Week 13 matchup between these two teams, please go here: Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles Pick.
Florida State Seminoles (6-5, 3-7 ATS) at No. 1 Florida Gators (11-0, 4-5-1 ATS) The Swamp Gainesville, F.L. Saturday November 28th, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Florida -23/Florida State +23
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The top ranked Florida Gators are one game away from wrapping up a perfect regular season before putting their National Championship opportunities on the line against Alabama in the SEC Championship on December 5th. The Gators now host their bitter inner state rival in the Florida State Seminoles who have had a disappointing season at the 6-5 mark on the year. The Seminoles have managed to bounce back from a 2-6 start, but they could really end the year strong by which would defend Coach Bobby Bowden from all the criticism he has endured throughout the season. The question most have is will this be Bowden's last game? Also if it is his last game what kind of fight can the Seminoles put up to the mighty Gators and is there any way they could pull of a huge upset?
I honestly think to beat Florida then you are going to have to find an offense that is extremely effective and can score a ton of points. Unless you are Alabama, then you are not going to have a chance to beat Florida in the trenches. Their defensive line is among the best in the country and they have the best trio of running backs out of any team across the country. Florida State has an offense could move the ball behind Christian Ponder who was one of the best quarterback's in the ACC. However, Ponder was lost to a shoulder injury relinquishing duties to E.J Manuel who has thrown 4 interceptions and only 1 touchdown. Manuel is not the least bit proven and it that could be a disastrous sign against the Florida Gators premier defense. The Seminoles have had absolutely no success running the football so it is pretty obvious they will let Manuel at least try to move the ball down the field.
The question is will the offensive line be able to give Manuel enough time to spread the ball around and have the opportunity to move the football. Wide receivers Bert Reed and Rod Owens each have caught at least 50 passes a piece and should be huge factors again this Saturday. The Seminoles will have to get a lot of help from these guys considering the Florida State defense has been extremely vulnerable and Florida will attack them with the possibility to rack up some points. The Seminoles can not afford to let the Gators defensive front control the game or it is going to be another similar result to last year's 45-15 blowout in Tallahassee.
As stated before, the Gators defense will present tons of problems for the Seminoles offensive line. Defensive ends Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap make up possibly the best defensive end duo in America. The entire defense is anchored by linebacker Brandon Spikes who leads the onslaught of 11 returning Gators from last year's National Champions team. The Gators defense has been the major factor behind their success again this season as they rank number 2 in America holding opponents to just 229 yards per game. Even more impressive is that Florida has the nation's number 1 scoring defense as they have held teams to just 9.81 points per game. Only Alabama has kept offenses under 10 points per game on average along with Florida.
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On offense, QB Tim Tebow leads the SEC in career touchdown mark on the ground. Tebow broke open some big plays last week in a 62-3 thrashing over Florida International and has rushed for 11 touchdowns on the season. Running backs Jeffery Demps and Chris Rainey offer additional ground support averaging over 6 yards per carry on the season. There is little doubt that Florida will attack in the trenches, but expect the Gators to make the really big plays in the air against a struggling Florida State secondary. Tebow has thrown 14 touchdowns to just 4 picks this season while completing 65% on the year. WR Riley Cooper is the big play threat on the outside averaging 17 yards per catch with 7 scores. Cooper will get behind the Seminoles secondary and it will be interesting to see if Tebow can get him the ball. The missed on a few connections in the South Carolina game a few weeks back, but do not expect that to become a trend.
Jay's Pick - I just do not see how Florida State can contend here with their horrible secondary and without their field general Ponder. The Gators will roll.
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