Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Gary Shelton’s picks: Florida, FSU, Miami favored in close games

in Sports/Top Headlines by

People love picks.

Perhaps it’s because they want another perspective. Perhaps it’s because they want a bit of insight. Perhaps it’s so they can pick along, and do it better, and feel morally superior.

Whatever the reason, prediction columns have always been popular. And let’s face it, there is a reason the gamblers all live in big houses.

But now that the football season has cranked up, perhaps it’s time to join in. So strap on your seatbelt. Here we go.

The Sunshine State predictions:

FSU 27, Boston College 24: The Seminoles still haven’t lost an ACC game since TVs were in black and white, so they ought to be favored in Friday night’s game. But not by much. The Eagles have played FSU close for two straight years, and the Seminoles have played two games this season when they’ve gotten off to bad starts. But FSU has three things in its favor: It’s played good defense, quarterback Everett Golson had two terrific second halves, and Dalvin Cook might have been the best player in the country. Again, the fourth quarter should belong to FSU.

Florida 20, Kentucky 13: The Wildcats are getting a little peskier. Who would have thought it, but Mark Stoops has brought a certain toughness that, in Kentucky, you usually find under the backboards. The Gators can still feel the anger of Jim McElwain from last week, when they were almost tied by East Carolina in the late going. This week should go a long way toward establishing either Will Grier or Treon Harris as the starting quarterback. Other predictions: Grier beats out Harris, Kelvin Taylor returned to good graces and McElwain is a pussycat.

Miami 23, Nebraska 21: The Hurricanes have beaten two small schools from their own state, but they weren’t convincing against FAU. Certainly, focus won’t be a program for Miami this week. The Cornhuskers gave up big plays in their loss to BYU, and Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya and running back Joe Yearby can get those. But how good is the UM defense? We’ll see.

Maryland 20, USF 17: The Bulls played a great first half last week against FSU, which is much better than Maryland. Still, the Terps have the big-play capability over South Florida. Running back Marlon Mack is USF’s best hope of an upset, as long as he gets a big play or two from quarterback Quinton Flowers. One nagging concern: USF did surrender those 266 yards to FSU’s Cook. An upset would go a long way toward USF’s bowl game goal, however.

Central Florida 70, Furman 3: The 0-2 Knights needed a Furman on the schedule after getting blasted by Stanford last week and losing an upset to FAU in week one. UCF will be without quarterback Justin Holman, but that shouldn’t matter for a week. The Knights have to discover some threat of a running game, however.

FIU 24, North Carolina Central 10: The Panthers received a scare when quarterback Alex McGough was injured, but now that he’s healthy again, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Buffalo 17, FAU 14: A week after playing Miami close, it would be a letdown for the Owls to lose to tiny Buffalo. But the Bisons played Penn State well in a 27-14 loss last week. The difference seems to be in quarterback Jaquez Johnson, who might miss this game for FAU.


New Orleans 30, Tampa Bay 14: The Saints are getting older, and their running game isn’t very good. But New Orleans still has Drew Brees, and at 36, he can still play. The Bucs would have to play solid defensively to have a shot in this one, especially in a secondary that gives up too many big plays.

Dolphins 20, Jaguars 17: Miami sputtered a bit last week before closing out Washington, and Blake Bortles gives the Jags a puncher’s chance. The Dolphins’ defense seems to be a bit ahead of Jacksonville’s, however, especially in the secondary. The Jags will try to pressure quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked three times against the Redskins.

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

Latest from Sports

Go to Top