No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. No. 12 Florida Gators (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date/Time: Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:30 pm EST
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV 206
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FSU -2.5/FLA +2.5
Over/Under Total: 43
Even though they sit sit-by-side in the current College Football playoff rankings, this years 60th meeting between the 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles and the 12th-ranked Florida Gators in the Swamp Saturday night will have both teams in a complete role reversal than in previous FSU-Gators rivalry week classics of recent years.
Last year it was the Seminoles still alive in the four-team playoff race while the Gators were stumbling through a forgettable season, but this fall its the Gators who have already clinched the SEC East title and could play themselves right into the playoff picture with a win over FSU this week followed by an upset of No. 2 Alabama in the SEC title game.
Of course, for any of that to happen Florida will have to find some answers on the field, since the Gators havent played very well now for almost the entire month on November. A potential run into the playoff was almost made a mute point last week, when the Gators barely squeezed by 2-9 Florida Atlantic, 20-14, in overtime. The Gators only had eight completions, turned the ball over three times and missed three kicks including an extra point in the escape over Florida Atlantic, but considering theyve struggled to do it for three games now against teams that are 9-24 combined means it going to take more miracle work from first-year coach Jim McElwain.
Florida State turned up in their cupcake game last week to the tune of a, 52-13, victory over Chattanooga. Running back Dalvin Cook has scored 10 of his 17 touchdowns down the stretch in what the Seminoles and Coach Jimbo Fischer have been pimping as a late Heisman surge, so you know Cook and the Seminoles will enjoy the role of spoiler against the Gators in 2015.
This point spread has also done a 180-degree flip just like the teams in the contest this season. Florida opened as 2-point favorites when the game originally was released last weekend, but based off of the Gators near-loss to FAU the short-memory public hammered FSU so heavily that the number flipped to where now its the Seminoles that are sitting as 2.5-point favorites. The over/under total is listed at 43 at most sportsbooks, with a few 43.5s mixed in at a few offshore books.
Its no secret the Gators offense has struggled since QB Will Grier was suspended back in October. Treon Harris had his best game in the Gators loss to LSU, but since then he seems to have regressed and during the month of November has thrown more picks (4) than TDs (3).
Cook (147 ypg rushing 1st in FBS) and FSU will have to try and get their yards against a Florida run defense that is ranked 8th in FBS. And dont think for a second that the folks in Gainesville dont still remember that Cook committed to the Gators before his senior year of high school, only to flip-flop to the Seminoles following the season. The Gators strong run defense will be paying extra attention to Cook for multiple reasons, which will make it even more important for whichever FSU QB is playing either Sean Maguire or Everett Golson to play well and make big plays in the passing game to win.
FSU has won four of the last five meetings with the Gators, including last years victory in Tallahassee, 24-19. Historically its the road team that has been the best wager in this series, since the road team is 4-0 in the last four meetings. The favorite in this matchup is 13-4 ATS going back almost two decades, which makes this weeks 180-degree betting line flip even harder to read from a handicapping perspective. The under could end up being the best value on the board, especially since it has gone 5-1 in the last six meetings overall and a perfect 5-0 in the last five meetings played in the Swamp at Florida.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Yes, the Gators have struggled in recent weeks and look nothing like a 10-win team right now. But lets remember that they are a 10-win team in the SEC no less. FSU has had problems at QB all season, like everyone expected, and the Florida defense is good enough to limit the damage done by Cook. Call me crazy, but Im taking the Gators as a barking dog at home this week. Im taking Florida plus the 2.5-points.
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