The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Bye Week Viewing Guide

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If your plan for the Florida State bye week is to relax at home and watch college football, you’re in luck. We here at The Daily Nole watch more football than considered healthy, so we know which match-ups deserve attention and which teams will be fun to gauge throughout the year.

Oct. 13 is no different. The Seminoles have time to correct their mistakes from the Miami game and tune up for the final half of the season. While they do that, fans should take a look at past opponents, future opponents, and the other worthy games of the weekend. If you so choose your fate, here are our recommendations and picks for this weekend:

Past Opponents

Virginia Tech at North Carolina (ESPNU, 7 p.m. EST) – Virginia Tech might still win nine games this year, despite a horrific loss to Old Dominion three weeks ago. This is a classic Hokies team that can’t truly decide what version wants to show up on Saturdays. Luckily for them, they face a North Carolina team whose head coach (Larry Fedora) needs a miracle to keep his job. The Tar Heels are coming off a bye week and will likely put up some yards early on, but Virginia Tech’s defense will regroup and the Hokies will pull away at the end. Gobble gobble by 14.

Samford vs. VMI (3 p.m. EST) – Devlin Hodges continued his incredible season with a 6-touchdown outing against Western Carolina last week. The Bulldogs had a string of rough losses, but they’re entering an easy stretch in their schedule, with VMI Keydets being the next opponent. VMI is 0-5 on the season. Bulldogs by 31.

Northern Illinois vs. Ohio (3:30 p.m. EST) – The Northern Illinois offense is still struggling against inferior competition, but the defense is doing more than enough to give the Huskies a shot to win games. They’ve done just that in the past two weeks. They’re now 3-3 and slated to face off against a similarly performing Ohio Bobcats team. NIU is favored by just four points. However, the Bobcats’ defense gives up over 500 yards per game, which might be just what the doctor ordered for the Huskies. NIU by 14.

Louisville at Boston College (12:30 p.m. EST) – Georgia Tech attempted just two passes against Louisville last week. The Yellow Jackets put up 66 points and 554 yards. Do the math. Louisville truly has no answers at the moment, either from the players or the coaches. An inconsistent offense with a near non-existent defense means the Cardinals might not win another the game for the rest of the season. That’s a bad omen against Boston College, whose offense is powered by bulldozer running back A.J. Dillon and pleasant surprise quarterback Anthony Brown. The Eagles defense might not be up to par, but it won’t matter for this one. Dudes by 24.

Miami at Virginia (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. EST) – Conventional wisdom dictates that Miami will either play another close game against Virginia or get outright upset by the Cavaliers. The Hurricanes are coming off an emotional win over Florida State and traveling to a Virginia team that’s had a bye week to prepare. Not to mention, the Cavaliers are actually…decent! The S&P ratings have their offense and defense in the top 50 nationally. Miami might be surprised at how competent the Virginia offense is with running back Jordan Ellis leading the way. In the end, the Miami offense will probably be enough to let them squeak out a victory. But this contest won’t be decided until the very end. ACC officials by 3.

Future Opponents

Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh (NBC, 2:30 p.m. EST) – Six games into the season and it’s still a mystery if Notre Dame is overrated or not. On one hand, the offense has radically improved with quarterback Ian Book as the starter, and has explosive running back Dexter Williams and receiver Miles Boykin helping the cause. On the other hand, the defense hasn’t faced a true offensive juggernaut this year. So the wins against Michigan, Stanford, and Virginia Tech look great on paper, but it’s still a question of how Notre Dame might respond to a team that can really push it downfield. That question will have to wait another week, since the Pittsburgh Panthers are still trying to figure out a team identity. Pat Narduzzi’s team has somehow scrapped their way to three wins despite a severely under-performing defense. It’s hard to see it getting any better against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame by 21.

Florida at Vanderbilt (ESPN, 12 p.m. EST) – Credit needs to be given to Dan Mullen for turning the Florida offense into a strictly average unit. Had Jim McElwain been able to accomplish this feat, he’d still be roaming around Gainesville. Florida has soared to a 5-1 record off the backs of an over-performing defense that’s benefited from some lucky bounces and surprising performances in the secondary. The Gators are a lot like Notre Dame however — they haven’t faced an offense that will really stress their defense. But much like Notre Dame, that won’t happen this week. Vanderbilt is a below average team in every regard who has yet to put together a complete performance. This will be closer than expected but Florida will still win by multiple scores. Gators by 17.

Top 25 Match-ups

(2) Georgia at (13) LSU (CBS, 3:30 p.m. EST) – Georgia is still working out issues on the offensive side of the ball, where the stable of running backs and receivers is impressive, but the offensive line less so. The defense is still pretty stout — if not dominant. Meanwhile LSU saw a very winnable game against Florida slip through its fingers, and is left wondering why the defense hasn’t played up to expectations. This will be a telling match-up for Ed Orgeron’s team. Can the Tigers remind everyone what makes Death Valley so intimidating, while giving the Bulldogs a run for their money? Or will Georgia walk in and control the game from start to finish like they have all season? Perhaps it’s the creeping doubt regarding Orgeron, but the Bulldogs seem more confident in their own game at the moment. Georgia by 14.

(7) Washington at (17) Oregon (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. EST) – This is an excellent rivalry game for the 3:30 p.m. slot. Even though the Huskies are ranked considerably higher than the Ducks, the gap between these two teams is likely much closer. Chris Petersen has built another machine in Seattle, except this one runs on a reliably stingy defense and predictably efficient offense. Oregon continues to improve with Justin Herbert under center and Jim Leavitt totally changing the philosophy of the defense. This is going to be a good one. Huskies by 3.

(15) Wisconsin at (12) Michigan (ABC, 7:30 p.m. EST) – Wisconsin’s dreams of an undefeated season were dashed early on against the BYU Cougars. But the mindset remains, as the Badgers still possess a very imposing offensive line that wears down even the toughest defenses. Michigan might provide the perfect counter to that. The Wolverines are stacked on their defensive line and their secondary provides ample support in stopping the run. Will they be able to attack the Wisconsin corners enough to grind out a victory? It’ll be low scoring, but Jim Harbaugh gets the best win of his Michigan career so far. Wolverines by 7.

Bold Predictions

Memphis over UCF – The Tigers have had some disappointing results this season, despite a 4-2 record appearing commendable. They lost a close one to Navy and simply melted down against Tulane. But they can absolutely put up points in a hurry, and that’s where UCF’s weak spot lies. The Knights are clearly a top-20 team thanks to their potent offense, but their defense hasn’t looked as good as it did last season. The game is in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl and you can expect every AAC team to give UCF their best shot. Memphis by 3.

Tennessee over Auburn – Choosing two teams from Tennessee to win on the same weekend is pretty crazy. Yet anyone who has watched the Tennessee defense knows that head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s system is starting to take hold in Knoxville. The Volunteers performed admirably against Georgia and even made it a game in the fourth quarter. Now they’re coming off a bye week against an Auburn team who sputtered to a 23-9 loss to Mississippi State. Add in rumors of locker room dysfunction, and this seems like the perfect storm of conditions for Tennessee to pull off an upset. Volunteers by 7.

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