On a given drive, it is easy to believe in the Miami Hurricanes.
When Brad Kaaya drops back in the pocket, for instance, you can see lights and cameras. On such plays, all the world can be his, and all the possibilities are endless. When Joe Yearby cuts in the hole, you can see sidelines and touchdowns.
But for a full game, can you see it?
This has been the thing that has highlighted the stay of Al Golden. His team is good for a drive, or for a quarter, maybe a half. But it can turn wobbly in a heartbeat, and it can make critical mistakes and crushing turnovers. It was that way against Cincinnati. It was almost that way against Nebraska.
Against Florida State?
Much has been made of FSU’s offensive struggles this year. But the Seminoles have protected the ball, and in college football, that’s a lot of the battle. Even if Dalvin Cook is limited in Saturday’s game, FSU will not beat itself. That leaves it up to Miami, and it remains to be seen if the Hurricanes are up to the task.
Oh, Everett Golson will need his best game. But the game is in Tallahassee, and FSU hasn’t lost there since Will Muschamp was applauded in Gainesville.
FSU 20, Miami 17
Not long ago, a lot of people would think that the Gators would be riding a two-game losing streak when they played Missouri. Instead, it’s 5-0 and ranked 11th in the nation.
Who knows? Maybe Will Grier throws for four more touchdowns, and afterward, Jim McElwain will act like it was no big deal. But Florida will take it. And as long as the Gators’ defense keeps playing the way it has, winning is possible. Even away from home.
Florida 28, Missouri 17
The Bulls are talking about running the ball even more. But so far, USF hasn’t run the ball well enough as it is. If the Bulls go one-dimensional against Syracuse, it could keep the Orange in the game. The thought here, though, is that Marlon Mack has a big day and Quinton Flowers hits a deep pass late.
USF 17, Syracuse 14
UCF is playing as if it might never win again. Still, UConn isn’t exactly star-studded itself. The temptation is to predict a 0-0 tie. But someone has to score. Don’t they?
UCF 10, UConn 7
Rice is a hard team to figure out. It’s rolled its weak opponents, and it’s been crushed by its good ones. But FAU figures to be right in the middle. It’ll be close, but FAU needs this one.
FAU 14, Rice 12
FIU had its most disappointing loss of the season last week against UMass, getting very little through the air and quarterback Alex McGough. UTEP has struggled mightily with its own offense this season.
FIU 22, UTEP 17
Jacksonville at Tampa Bay
Both teams may be figuring they finally get to play someone their own size. It’s time that Jameis Winston re-established a bit of faith among his fans. He can’t keep throwing interceptions returned for touchdowns, can he? Mike Evans, in particular, has struggled in his return from a nagging hamstring. With Evans, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, the Bucs simply have too much talent to continue to flounder.
Tampa Bay 23, Jacksonville 17
Miami at Tennessee
How can either team possibly win this game? For the Titans, Marcus Mariota has consistently had good grades this season, but he isn’t surrounded by a lot of talent. Now that Miami has Joe Philbin – and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle – out of the way, maybe the Dolphins can start to resemble the team they were supposed to be. In particular, that defensive line needs to be good.
Miami 17, Tennessee 14