What might have been….the story of a Southern Miss vs. Florida State Independence Bowl game was never meant to be written. While the Golden Eagles were projecting as a bowl eligible team and looking to secure a pre-January 1st date, the Seminoles had their sites set on making BCS travel plans…not a trip to Shreveport.
Entering the season ranked #3 in the nation, it’s been a tough road for FSU, starting with the loss of star quarterback Deondre Francois to a knee injury in game one. See ya later single digit rankings and hello to the world of C-USA bowl opponents. Florida State actually had to pull off three straight wins to finish the schedule just to get into a bowl game.
Oh, and see ya later head coach Jimbo Fisher, who bolted for Texas A&M as the whistle blew on their last game.
Without Francois, FSU averaged a little under 27 points (26.7) and 343.6 yards. They handed the starting role to freshman James Blackman. He performed as you might expect – he was inconsistent. He tossed 15 interceptions while being picked 11 times. There was nothing explosive about a Blackman led offense.
The Noles relied heavily on a very good defense to pick up the slack and keep them in games. This unit ranked in the top 35 in both pass and run, and finished only allowing 21.9 points per game.
They’ll be leaning on this group against a competent Southern Miss offense. Yes, they play in the C-USA, which clearly isn’t the ACC, but they’re a decent unit. It’s not going to be easy, but they should have some level of success both on the ground and through the air.
Defensively, there isn’t anything the Noles bring to the table that will create real mismatches for the Golden Eagles. This is a good D. They can handle the passing game and have been stout vs. the run.
Line: Southern Miss +16
Pick: I’m taking the points on a team that matches up nicely. Florida State has the reputation and it’s always worth noting the conference strength differential, but Southern Miss can compete against this version of the Seminoles.
Southern Miss +16
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