The Miami vs. Florida State game on Saturday renews the rivalry between two of the best programs in the ACC. Both schools have already lost a game outside of conference play, raising the stakes even more in their head-to-head game. It’s possible that the two could meet again this year in the ACC Championship Game, but it’s more likely that the winner of this game is going to have the momentum they need to win their half of the standings. It appears to also be a down year in the ACC, meaning that this game could become very important when it comes to national rankings.
Florida State was embarrassed by Oklahoma in week 2 of the college football season, but that ended up being their only loss of the season so far. In their first two ACC games though (against Wake Forest and Virginia), the Seminoles came up big, outscoring their opponents 65-14 in the last two games. Florida State will be relying on a defense that leads the conference in sacks (25) and will be pressing Miami’s quarterback on nearly every play. If they can force a few turnovers with that always-moving defense, it could turn the game in their favor quite quickly. Quarterback Christian Ponder just needs to play within himself and let the defense pick up the slack.
The Miami Hurricanes have a pretty good defense as well, giving up the fewest yards per game in the ACC (about 260 yards per game), and the 16th fewest points in the country this season. Miami’s only misstep of the season came against Ohio State in week 2, when they fell 36-24 in a game that turned on a few key plays by Buckeyes quarterback Terrell Pryor. They just beat Clemson 30-21 in their first ACC game of 2010, and would like to continue that run while hosting Florida State this week. The way their schedule looks, this could be the last time that Miami plays a ranked team in 2010.
At the start of the 2010 college football season, it looked like the ACC was going to be a pretty good conference, but now they are down to just two ranked teams. Those two ranked teams are Miami (No. 13) and Florida State (No. 23), and it could drop to just one based on what takes place Saturday. Sometimes it’s best to just toss the statistics out the window when it comes to a rivalry game, and that might be adequate here. The two schools appear pretty evenly matched, and that could make it a very exciting game. Kickoff of the Miami vs. Florida State game is at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.