As part of the dwindling off season, SOTU will preview each game on the Canes' schedule. During the season there will be much more in-depth previews the week before each game, but these will serve to get you ready for what is to come. Enjoy!
Lots of questions for both squads (albeit on different levels)
If you are a regular reader on this site, you know that UM's over/under win total according to Vegas is anywhere from 5.5 - 6.5, depending on the wise guy.
Al Golden's tenure in Coral Gables could finally crash and burn if there is not significant improvement in 2015.
Let's come back to that in a minute.
On the other side of this rivalry you have much more stability.
However, despite having a roster filled with blue chip prospects and being 29-1 over their last 30 games, Jimbo Fisher's squad also comes into the season with some uncertainty.
In fact the ACC Media actually picked Clemson over the Noles for the conference title at the 2015 ACC Football Kickoff.
This is still a very powerful program, but there are concerns.
Jameis Winston had his ups and downs last season as a sophomore. But time and time again he made the clutch plays in crunch time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
He's gone and his replacement will either be more of a game manager (Sean Maguire) or a player who had severe turnover problems (Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson).
At the game's most important position, it would be impossible not to expect some drop off for FSU.
They also lose two exceptionally consistent weapons in Nick O'Leary and Rashad Greene.
Of course talented players like Ermon Lane, Travis Rudolph, and Kermit Whitfield are waiting in the wings to have break out years.
But perhaps their best returning weapon, RB Dalvin Cook, has had some off the field issues (not going to go there in this article) this off season and has been suspended indefinitely.
No player on the Noles roster is more explosive than Cook. If the Miami native is not ready to go on October 10th, the odds of a Miami upset improve a pretty decent amount.
Florida State also has to figure some ways to plug the gaps on a defense that uncharacteristically sprung a lot of holes in 2014, and lost a lot of talent to the NFL (DT Eddie Goldman, DE Mario Edwards, among others).
But they do have the insanely talented CB Jalen Ramsey back, a player who shut down UM's offense in the second half of last season's contest nearly single-handed.
Again, the problems and questions in Tallahassee are no where near as severe as Miami's.
Player for player, the better roster certainly resides on the FSU sideline.
But perhaps there are some cracks in the mighty armor of the guys who wear garnet an gold?
For AG and staff to get a signature win that could save their jobs, they better hope so.
The 'Canes still hold a precarious 31-28 overall advantage.
If you have friends, work with, or even interact awkwardly with FSU fans, you have surely been reminded a gazillion times that the Seminoles have won the last 5 in a row.
The last time Miami won (2009), a spindly QB named Jacory Harris led the way.
Last season freshman QB Brad Kaaya came out firing and Miami built a 16-0 lead. But the wheels came off in the second half and Cook was sensational leading the Noles to the 30-26 win.
I could add videos for all the Wide Right's, but we'll save that for another time.
Players to watch
With or with out Cook, and whether it is Maguire or Golson, Florida State is going to bring a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball.
If the Miami Central product Cook is cleared to play, he is a potential Heisman candidate from the RB spot.
If not, don't feel too sorry for the Noles. Mario Pender is a guy they like a lot, and 5 star prospect, 6'1 232 pound freshman Jacques Patrick, should be a load.
Miami desperately needs guys like Chad Thomas, Al-Quadin Muhammad, and Jermaine Grace to have huge games along the front 7 to have a shot.
FSU could be more run oriented this season behind Cook and minus Winston. If they beat up UM up front, this game will get ugly.
When they do go to the air, Lane is a special talent at 6'3 205. And while Rudolph was more accomplished as a true frosh last year, both are dangerous. And there is loads of talent behind them.
The Hurricanes really need Tracy Howard, Artie Burns, and Corn Elder to win some one-on-one battles on the outside and make FSU as one dimensional as possible.
If Golson is the starter, keeping him in the pocket will be key as well.
When UM has the ball, Kaaya is the man.
But he would benefit tremendously if wrecking ball RB Gus Edwards, and outside threats Joe Yearby and Mark Walton, run the ball consistently.
As previously mentioned, the Seminoles D was not exactly consistently stout last year. And while they had a penchant for big plays, UM's best bet for victory against them would be controlling the line of scrimmage.
The FSU DB's could be the best group in the country.
Ramsey is the headliner, but safeties Nate Andrews and Tyler Hunter make plays as well.
They also have two 5 star prospects in Derwin James and Tarvarus McFadden, who could see the field very early on.
Kaaya will have to be very careful when he put the ball in the air. All of the guys are threats to make big time picks.
Standish Dobard, who replaces Clive Walford at the TE spot, could be a very important figure for the 'Canes in this one.
Well here is it for Al Golden and Co. again.
Yet another chance for a marquee win Vs FSU.
Last season they had them right where they wanted them, and let them off the hook (Denny Green voice).
This year however they may be facing even a taller task. Florida State has the better team and the game is at Doak.
It will take special performances from Kaaya, Grace, and perhaps Stacy Coley, not to mention some luck, to get the win.
Miami also can not let Ramsey and Cook (if eligible) take over the game again.
And the staff needs to make adjustments. Let's be honest, Fisher and his staff out-coached AG and co. pretty handily in the second half last season.
Basically a lot of things need to happen for a Hurricanes victory.
I'm not saying it is impossible.
If Kaaya is that transcendent player and Florida State's QB play drops off considerably.....
Perhaps that chirpy FSU person (or people) we all have in our lives can be quieted?