Does the state of Florida finally rise up and make something happen in college football? Outside of the University of Florida and UCF, there has not been much to cheer about from the college football programs around the state.
Here are three predictions, with The Daily Knight podcast providing more detail.
If you prefer to listen to the podcast without video, here’s the actual podcast link:
Michigan State at Miami
Let’s keep this one short. Why? Miami shoots itself in the foot as much if not more than any major college football program. Will the offensive line woes suddenly disappear? Of course not. Tackling and basic execution from route running need to improve, and so does Miami’s ability to make the big play.
It’s sad that quarterback D’Eriq King plays within a structure that seems dysfunctional. One really good play, then one play that’s a complete head scratcher. That’s especially true of the defense if one takes away the offensive line concerns.
Miami has more talent than it's shown. Will the Hurricanes prove their abilities against a big-time Michigan State running back on Saturday? Kenneth Walker III already ran for 321 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 10.7 yards per carry.
There’s no need to dive deep into this game. If the Hurricanes cannot slow down Walker, the Spartans will roll. Still, prove that you can win a tough game. Do not expect that to happen.
Michigan State 34 Miami 27
Florida State at Wake Forest
Can Florida State mentally recover after the disaster against Jacksonville State, losing at home 20-17?
To do that, quarterback play must improve. Quarterback McKenzie Milton only averages 4.8 yards per attempt. That’s an issue. Running back Jashaun Corbin played well during the Seminoles first two games though. He's rushed for 253 yards, averaging 8.5 yards a carry, and scored two rushing touchdowns. He’s not the issue for a Florida State team that only generated 17 points against an FCS team, however.
It’s the inexplicable plays that need to go away. A botched snap, a missed tackle, a myriad of missed blocks along the offensive line, and inexcusable penalties at critical moments continue to cause issues for the Seminoles.
Wake Forest has a talented quarterback in Sam Hartman. He’s going to make plays because he’s improved to the point that he’s completed 67.3% of his passes and holds a 4-0 touchdown to interception ratio. Hartman also accumulated 432 yards passing in two games.
If the Seminoles do not slow down a solid but not great Wake Forest rushing attack, the game could get ugly. Right now, there’s no reason to believe in Florida State.
Wake Forest 38 Florida State 24
Alabama at Florida
The Gators need a spark. Something to keep Alabama’s high octane offense from going up and down the field. That spark needs to be the pass rush. Florida already recorded seven sacks. Alabama, meanwhile, allowed three sacks so far in 2021.
Who wins up front? Florida defensive end Zachary Carter produced three of those seven sacks, so watch out for him. He needs to be a menacing player for Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young.
If they can create uncertainty for Young, he could turn the football over. It’s a road start for a sophomore quarterback, and it’s also Young’s first road start. Need to get after that young signal caller from the outset of the game.
Players like wide receiver Jameson Williams cannot have extra time to work themselves open. If the Alabama receivers do receive extra time, the Crimson Tide could score 40 or more points.
On the other side of the football, quarterback play is of interest to anyone that follows the Gators. Will Anthony Richardson be healthy? He’s rushed 11 times for 275 yards and two touchdowns so far this season, as the backup!
Emory Jones is expected to be the starter, and he’s rushed 23 times for 155 yards and a touchdown. At least one of the two signal callers needs to get hot passing the football as well. Alabama’s front seven is legitimately in the conversation for the best in college football.
Until some team proves otherwise, Alabama is the best team in college football overall. That’s the most important thing to remember.
Alabama 38 Florida 28