Florida State has won 25 straight games and is led by reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. FSU has scored 30 points or more in every game Jameis has been under center. FSU has beaten Miami four times in a row and is currently ranked 2nd in the nation. The Canes haven't beaten the Noles in Miami since 2004. Miami has struggled in big games under Al Golden, especially against ranked opponents. Despite all of that, Florida State is favored by just 2.5 on Saturday night. Here are the latest lines from Vegas Insider.
When the Canes were sitting at 3-3 heading into the Cincinnati game, many fans seemingly threw in the towel on this season. After three consecutive blowout wins, the Miami bandwagon is starting to fill up again. This is a different Miami team than we saw just one month ago. The defense is playing with confidence, thanks to better tackling and more aggressive coaching. Miami's offense has been dominant in recent weeks, led by impressive offensive line play and the unique skill-set of RB Duke Johnson. QB Brad Kaaya has shown maturity and has improved each week. While he's only a freshman, I don't think the moment will be too big for him this Saturday. Beating Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Cincinnati isn't enough. This team needs a statement win. With a victory on Saturday night, Al Golden can change the entire narrative around his tenure as the Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes. The opportunity is here.
People in Las Vegas clearly believe in the Hurricanes. Miami is 5-0 at home and 4-1 against the spread in those games, with the loss coming in a 34-point win over FAMU. Florida State is just 2-6 against the spread this season. While FSU is still undefeated, the Noles haven't dominated opponents the way they did in 2013. Many people were surprised that Louisville was just a 3.5 point underdog at kickoff when FSU came to town two weeks ago. FSU trailed 21-0 in the first half, but rallied for an 11-point win. Slow starts have been an issue for Jimbo and company. It's crucial that Miami starts fast and makes a few plays early to gain confidence.
Miami was able to rest this past weekend and enters the rivalry showdown as healthy as a team can be in mid-November. The Canes may even get OT Ereck Flowers back, which would be a big boost to the offense. Florida State has injury issues at several positions, especially on defense. FSU's stud freshman RB Dalvin Cook was hurt in last night's win over Virginia and I would be surprised if he plays Saturday, given the way it looked.
As the defending champions, Florida State and its star quarterback should be favored to win. That being said, I'm optimistic about Miami's chances to pull the upset. I can't wait for Saturday to get here. Go Canes.