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Predictions: FSU to outlast a talented Louisville opponent

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Your first question is this: Can Louisville beat FSU?

Yes.

Your second question is this: Will Louisville beat FSU?

No.

Oh, it’ll be close. I wouldn’t be surprised if Louisville, behind the marvelous Lamar Jackson, led in the fourth quarter. But FSU is too solid across the board, even with star safety Derwin James out. The FSU defensive line is solid. Dalvin Cook is a star. Deondre Francois can make plays.

But FSU has to play well, or the fast-break Cardinals could make them pay. Louisville can play defense, too, especially at linebacker.

One thing the Seminoles might have to guard against is the early game time (noon). They can’t afford to try to ease into this game or it could get away from them in a hurry.

Prediction: FSU 34, Louisville 24.

North Texas at Florida

This is another opportunity for the Gators to work on their offense before entering a tougher part of their schedule. Jim McElwain has been hard on sophomore quarterback Luke Del Rio, but Del Rio has responded through two games.

The Gators will be without receiver Antonio Callaway. Still, Florida should be able to play Name That Score against North Texas. It won’t be a game for long.

Prediction: Florida 41, North Texas 7

Appalachian State at Miami

The Hurricanes play their third straight walkover game. That may seem like a lot, but the schedule gets tough later in the season.

Quarterback Brad Kaaya really hasn’t had a game where he’s broken loose this season. The Canes have been a good rushing team, and they’ve pretty much kept it on the ground. They can do it again this week, but I see UM trying to get Kaaya some work.

Appalachian upset another UM (Michigan) a few seasons ago. It won’t happen this time.

Prediction: Miami 40, Appalachian 17.

USF at Syracuse

The Bulls have been impressive through the early season, particularly last week against a usually strong Northern Illinois team. It’ll be harder against an opponent from the Big 10, but it should be manageable. After all, Syracuse gave up 62 points last week to Louisville.

A year ago, USF scored 41 against Syracuse. There is no reason USF can’t do it again, even though Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey can be competitive for a while.

Prediction: USF 41, Syracuse 27.

UCF at Maryland

The Terps have jumped to a 2-0 start under D.J. Durkin. In wins over Howard and Florida International, Maryland has been especially effective on the ground.

UCF is still trying to find its attack under new coach Scott Frost, but don’t forget. This team was 0-12 a year ago.

Look for UCF to make it a closer game than you would expect. But for Frost, it’s going to take some time.

Prediction: Maryland 24, UCF 17.

FAU at Kansas State

The Owls will have trouble running the ball Saturday, which puts a lot of the load of young quarterback Jason Driskel. Can he keep it close? We’ll see.

Prediction: Kansas State 28, FAU 13.

FIU at UMass

The Panthers struggled last week as quarterback Alex McGough suffered stiffness in his back. FIU also figures to have a tough time against the Minutemen.

UMass gave Florida a fit for a while in the opening game.

Prediction: UMass 21, FIU 17.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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