No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) at No. 5 Florida State Seminoles (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS), Saturday September 17th, 2001. 8:00PM EST, College Football Week 3, Doak Campbell Stadium Tallahassee, FL
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Okl -3/FSU +3
Over/Under Total: OFF
College Gameday will reside in Tallahassee, Florida this Saturday to entertain a colossal showdown when the no. 5 Florida State Seminoles host the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles have been itching for their shot at payback since getting blown out by the Sooners a year ago in Norman 47-17. This season the Seminoles pose a bigger threat as they are improved on both sides of the ball. Of course the Sooners do not sport the top ranking in the country for no reason. In Oklahomas season opener, the Sooners posted 663 yards of total offense which was more than any other offense in the entire country. Therefore, this will be an epic battle between two of the nations best this Saturday.
Even though we are only in week 3 of the college football season this game has serious National Championship implications. The Seminoles only have 1 remaining team left on their schedule that is ranked in the top 25 and that is by another out of conference opponent by way of in-state rival Florida. This will be the Seminoles big chance to make a statement to the entire nation that they are legitimate contenders for the National Championship.Another loss to the Sooners would ruin those chances even if Florida State managed to win out because of their weak remaining strength of schedule.
Oklahoma on the other hand still has some huge games down the line with both no. 9 Texas A&M and no. 8 Oklahoma State to name a few. If the Sooners did happen to lose to Florida State, they would have a much better chance at still making the National Championship if they could win their remaining games. However, it is unlikely the Sooners could sweep the Big 12 this season without a single loss. Therefore a loss this early in the season would completely put the Sooners National Championship chances on the backburner.
Luckily for the Sooners, Oklahoma had last week off after their season opening blowout over Tulsa 47-14. The extra week should only help the Sooners efforts this week. As stated before, the Sooners sport one of the best offenses in the country. QB Landry Jones is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender that can spread the ball around efficiently. In the opener, Jones completed 35 of 47 passing for 345 yards with 1 touchdown and 0 picks. Jones favorite target is 2010 Biletnikoff Finalist WR Ryan Broyles. Broyles gave up the option to turn pro over the summer just for the chance to come back and make a run at a National Title. Therefore, do not expect Broyles to shy away from the big stage this Saturday night after catching 1,622 receiving yards in 2010.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the Florida State defense will have their work cut out for them. The Seminoles gave up nearly 400 yards passing to Jones and the Sooners last year. That simply cannot happen this Saturday if the Seminoles are going to be in contention for the win. Instead Florida State will have to play solid defense in order to keep the Sooners from posting a big number on the scoreboard. The Seminoles had one of the best pass rushes in the country last year averaging over 4 sacks per game and return another solid group that will need to have a big impact this Saturday. The Seminoles defensive line will need to stay in the backfield this Saturday and disrupt Jones poise in order to rattle that Oklahoma offense.
If the Seminoles defense can get stops, then they have an offense surely capable of the upset. QB E.J. Manuel is a big quarterback that is tough to bring down. Manuel has the athleticism to make some plays with his legs, but he can really hurt defenses with his arm. On the season thus far, Manuel has completed 66% passing for 581 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 picks. However, the Seminoles offense also moves the ball extremely well on the ground. Junior tailback Chris Thompson is one of many running backs that can step in as a homerun threat in the backfield. Thompson had over 840 yards rushing last season in a backup type role. This year Thompson looks poised to carry the workload, but highly touted freshman James Wilder Jr. could get in the mix as well. Wilder is a bigger back that can really provide excitement with the ball in his hands. Therefore, keep your eye on #32 when he is in the game for big play potential.
Jays Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I just do not see much different about these teams this year besides the game being in Tallahassee. I expect a closer game, but the Sooners will still be too much offensively. Take Oklahoma -3.
Additional College Football Betting Previews