Let's face it, last Thursday Night's 34-23 loss to Cincinnati was a horrendous and humbling loss on so many levels.
The Miami Hurricanes were clearly the more talented squad, but their weaknesses were exposed like a dark cellar opened up with a 7500K Halogen light bulb.
UM is second to last in the country in 3rd down offensive efficiency....
They've had 3 touchdowns called back for penalties in two weeks.....
The allowed Bearcats RB Hosey Williams 7.3 ypc.....
The 'Canes pass rush showed up for about 3 plays.......
And so on and so and so on......
And all of this the week after they nearly squandered a 23 (should have been 40) point lead Vs Nebraska, and the week before facing their biggest rival, whom their Head Coach has never beaten.
Hardly the recipe for confidence.
But yet somehow, someway, the Football Gods have offered Al Golden and his staff a magic ticket at redemption.
If Miami was facing FAU or Bethune-Cookman the week after the Cincy debacle, there would be no such opportunity at washing the terrible taste of that loss out of the program's mouth.
But this is FSU week.
This is the one game that if the Hurricanes come out victorious, could dissuade flying of banners above the stadium calling for the end of the reign (for a week or two).
It's almost too perfect.
And the 'Canes head to Tallahassee facing a Noles squad that while undefeated, seems a tad vulnerable.
Their best offensive weapon by far, RB Dalvin Cook, is day to day with a balky hammy. Even if Cook gives it a go, he might not be 100%.
His top back-up Marion Pender, is also questionable, two weeks removed from a collapsed lung.
If one or both can not go it would mean added workload for FSU QB Everett Golsen, who while statistically impressive, has not made Seminoles fans exactly forget Jameis Winston.
And even with a solid receiving corps of Jesus Wilson and Travis Rudolph among others, you would think the talented UM DBs featuring Corn Elder and Artie Burns could hold their own.
That is, unless Golden and Mark D'Onofrio continue to trot out less than adequate S Dallas Crawford.
Look we love Crawford as a leader and ST contributor, but is hard to imagine anyone playing more poorly than he did last week Vs Cincinnati.
And what's most astonishing is that the staff continues to feed him reps despite having an embarrassment of riches at the position (although in fairness Deon Bush and Jamal Carter were suspended the 1st half of last week's game, though that doesn't explain his second half PT).
It's time for the staff to stop turning strengths into weaknesses. Irregardless of a kid's character you don't beat Cincy nonetheless FSU, not playing your best 11......
On the other side of the ball, QB Brad Kaaya is your best player.
But the Noles back 4 is miles better than their front 7.
CB Jalen Ramsey is one of the best players this rivalry has seen the last 10 years.
And he destroyed the rhythm of the 'Canes offense nearly single-handed in the second half of last season's come from behind FSU win, with edge blitzes and key coverage plays (including the game sealing INT).
Can Offensive Coordinator James Coley come up with a 4 quarter plan that at least limits if not neutralizes Ramsey?
Will he also find a way to get Joe Yearby more touches against the Seminoles' susceptible front?
Their are opportunities to move the ball against this D. Wake Forest proved it last week.
And Miami is imminently more talented than Wake.
But again, on O you have a glaring blemish that the staff has not been consistently able to work around in RT Sunny Odogwu.
Odogwu has been a mix of penalties and poor pass protection nearly all season.
Yet he still gets tons of reps, and very rarely gets help from a RB or TE.
If he's the best option (Kc McDermott anyone?) available, Art Kehoe needs to be working overtime with this kid this week.
And they need to find a way to keep him from continually being unveiled by sliding protection or helping with chips and double teams.
The game on the field Saturday Night, will be mostly decided by the players.
Much like last season when UM raced out to leads of 17-3 and 23-10, it does not feel like their is a complete mismatch for either side talent wise.
But the preparation of those athletes and how each staff works with its strengths and weaknesses/adjusts to each other will give one team the edge of the other.
Last week Vs the Bearcats, Golden and staff did not get it done.
Against Jimbo Fisher and FSU they get another ginormous chance.
It may be their best and last one.