Looking to keep its 27-game winning streak and national title dreams alive, Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC, No. 3 CFP) hosts rival Florida (6-4) at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles and head coach Jimbo Fisher have already secured a spot in the ACC title game, but in order to play in the inaugural College Football Playoff they’ll need to keep their perfect record alive against an upset-minded Gators squad that’s also playing for head coach Will Muschamp for the last time.
Florida State is the only undefeated team left in the country, but its perfect record has left much to be desired. The Seminoles needed a last-second field goal against unranked Boston College last week, squeezed by at Miami, 30-16, before that, and would have lost to Notre Dame if a late touchdown play by the Irish hadn’t been called back.
Still, the Seminoles are on the verge of setting a school record by having back-to-back undefeated seasons while knowing one loss will knock them out of the CFP. They currently sit behind one-loss teams Alabama and Oregon in the CFP rankings, with Mississippi State holding the fourth spot and TCU, Ohio State and Baylor all looking to move up.
Quarterback and reigning winner of the Heisman Trophy, Jameis Winston, leads Florida State’s attack with 3,125 passing yards and 19 touchdowns, and he’s lost a start in college. Running backs Dalvin Cook and Karlos Williams have complemented Winston with 1,155 rushing yards and 17 combined touchdowns, but meet a Florida defense that’s No. 13 in the nation against the run, allowing 110.4 yards per game and 3.0 yards per attempt.
Overall the Gators are No. 12 in the nation in total defense, but their failures on offense in SEC play ultimately led to Muschamp’s dismissal. Muschamp was fired after the 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina, but agreed to coach the final two games of the regular season. The Gators also suffered difficult losses earlier in the year, including a 21-point blowout at Alabama and two straight home letdowns to LSU and Missouri.
However, the Gators have won three of their last four games, including a 38-20 blasting of then-No.11 Georgia. Running backs Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones combined for 389 of the team’s 418 rushing yards in the victory, and scored four of the Gators five touchdowns on the ground.
Taylor and Jones, along with true freshman quarterback Treon Harris, will take on a Florida State defense letting up 148.8 rushing yards per game and 12 touchdowns on the year. Harris has thrown four touchdowns and rushed for another three in the last five games.
Start Time: 3:45 PM ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream: A live online stream is available at Watch ESPN here
Point Spread: Florida State -7.5
Over/Under: 53 points
Prediction: Florida State over Florida, 34-20