Is Florida State really back up to national championship-caliber snuff? Has Ole Miss been able to reload, and can it make a national statement right away? Check out the Florida State vs. Ole Miss fearless prediction and preview.
Florida State vs. Ole Miss Game Preview
Date: Monday, September 5
Game Time: 8:00 PM ET
Venue: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
Why Ole Miss Will Win
Ole Miss has the quarterback that Florida State doesn’t – at least in terms of experience.
Deondre Francois is a superior talent with a world of upside, but no one’s thinking he’s Jameis Winston quite yet. The Seminoles might have everything else in place, but none of it matters if Francois ends up making a few redshirt freshman mistakes against an aggressive Rebel defense with a bad attitude and something to prove.
Chad Kelly is an NFL-caliber passer who can run, overcome his own mistakes with a big play, and could single-handedly win the game by negotiating the terrific Florida State defense with a patient, short-range passing attack.
Kelly has to outplay Francois for the Rebels to have a shot, and the Ole Miss front has to be a rock against the run and keep Dalvin Cook from going off. There might be several key replacements in key areas, but the Land Shark defense will swarm forcing Francois to make plays.
Kelly is good enough to take advantage of every opportunity his defense can give him. If Ole Miss goes +3 in turnover margin, that should be enough to pull this off.
Why Florida State Will Win
Do the Rebels have the horses? There’s plenty of young talent, and Kelly might turn out to be the best NFL quarterback currently playing college football, but for starters, the O line will likely start four underclassmen against a Seminole defensive front that should be as dominant and effective as any in the country.
Evan Engram is a special tight end, but the Ole Miss passing game needs to hope for a few wide receiver stars to emerge right away against a Seminole secondary with almost no real weakness. Not helping the Ole Miss cause is an FSU defensive front starting Demarcus Walker and Josh Sweat on the ends going against the reworked Rebel line.
Obviously, Kelly can only do so much if he’s under pressure all game long, and that’s exactly what FSU should be able to do. Rely on the secondary to close down the Rebel receivers, expect the interior of the front seven to keep the potentially mediocre ground game from pounding away, and rely on the defensive team speed on the outside.
And if Francois has a relatively clean and efficient game, the offense should be just fine as long as it doesn’t have to press.
What’s Going To Happen?
Oh yeah, Dalvin Cook.
The Ole Miss gameplan will be to shut down No. 4 and make Francois try to hit throws, but even if that happens, Cook will still get just enough yards to provide the steadiness needed to take all the pressure off the passing game.
This will be a good, strong Rebel team as the season goes on, but it’s about to be outclassed by a national title-level Seminole squad that’ll make a huge splash with the sports world watching. It’s not going to be the Welcome To Florida State moment the 2013 opener against Pitt turned out to be, but it’ll be an impressive performance.
Florida State vs. Ole Miss Prediction
Final Score: Florida State 34, Ole Miss 24
Line: Florida State -4.5, o/u: 57
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 5