Plant The Spear is a weekly column previewing the upcoming matchup for the Florida State Seminoles. As a newly anointed father, I decided that it would be best to talk about the things that really matter to fans – tailgating, food, out-of-town watering holes, weather, betting lines and of course, cheerleaders – never forget the cheerleaders. If you’re looking for your typically stuffy and recycled game preview that practically every other sports website has, don’t read this. Go somewhere else. However, if you enjoy a take on college football that’s mixed with pop culture references and a little witty banter all smothered in sarcasm, we’ll get along just fine.
*Author’s Note* As always, this is a No Homer Zone. Regardless of my membership with the Seminole Boosters, or my being a Florida State fan since I was 10 (I’m 32 now), or the fact that my wife is an FSU grad – I’m a college football fan above all else. Kool-Aid drinking will not be tolerated.
Breakdown: It seems that a nice little trend is developing here. FSU starts off slow and falls behind, only to surge back in explosive, dramatic fashion behind the mad skills of redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston. It kind of reminds me of growing up. Remember when you used to let the little kids score some points and feel good about their skills for a little bit, watching them as they would gain confidence and maybe even talk a little trash to you? What would happen? Eventually, you would crush their hopes and dreams while reminding them that life is full of disappointment and failure, and some people are just better than others. Sorry about your luck.
FSU enters Saturday’s showdown with Maryland with a 4-0 mark and ranked #8 in the country. QB Jameis Winston is still blowing up all over the place, leading the Noles back from a 14-3 deficit against Boston College to claim yet another 300+ yard passing performance and his third comeback victory in just four games as a college football quarterback. No big deal.
Maryland steps into the ring with a 4-0 record and ranked #25 in the polls, the first time since 2001 that the Terps step foot in Tallahassee as a ranked squad. Last season, Maryland lost every single scholarship QB to injury and had to rely on the backup punter to step in and take snaps. (Not really, I think it was a linebacker that took the QB job, but their lack of luck with the QB position last year was just brutal) This season, senior QB CJ Brown is healthy and is ballin’ out of control thus far. Brown leads the ACC in total offense and can tote the rock or toss it around the yard with precision.
Remember, the game is at noon this week. This of course means Kegs N’ Eggs. Get your asses up in time for kickoff.
What Maryland’s Working With:
Crab Cakes and Football
Why FSU Will Win: Maryland is off to a hot start, yes, but they haven’t played anyone with a pulse up to this point (FIU, Old Dominion, UConn and West Virginia). Some would argue that shutting out rival West Virginia was an impressive feat, but you have to remember that it was “Visiting Cousins” weekend on the WVU campus so many of the players didn’t make the trip and stayed in Morgantown for the festivities. (Just kidding guys, it’s always “Visiting Cousins” weekend. Paddle faster) While the Terps may score a nice chunk of points, they haven’t faced a defense with the skill and speed of FSU. They will need to jump on the Noles early and often while somehow finding a way to stop Famous Jameis and the crew. Maryland is banged up in the secondary, which means more Playstation numbers for Mr. Winston and another ‘W’ for the good guys.
What Worries Me: Obviously the fact that the Noles have started off pretty much each game the same way that I wake up in the morning concerns me. Maybe they are just bored with the competition; maybe they’re not showing the full bag of tricks before the Clemson game. Maybe it’s what I talked about earlier. Who knows. Recipe for potential disaster: Maryland scores 73% of their points in the first half and the Noles don’t start their games until 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. If that doesn’t come back to bite them this week against Maryland, it might eventually down the road. The Terps run a ton of motion and misdirection in their spread attack, which will be good preparation for the defense leading up to Clemson. If FSU trips up against Maryland though, it won’t really matter.
Watch Out For: Maryland sophomore WR Stefon Diggs. Diggs is tearing it up so far this season, having already racked up 400 receiving yards, 4 TDs and a 22.2 yards per catch average. Ridiculously good. Ridiculously fast. Has the potential to make the FSU defense look ridiculous. He’ll be fun to watch, as long as he doesn’t do too much.
What I’d Like To See: Same old story here. I could’ve just copy and pasted from the last few weeks but that would make me feel cheap and dirty. FSU needs to play a complete game, especially against a team like Maryland. Everyone is pointing (and rightfully so) to the October 19th game against Clemson, but it won’t mean anything for the Noles without a victory on Saturday against Ol’ Crabcakes. I want to see the defense step up and shut down the CJ Brown/Diggs combo and tighten up on the run defense. Not too much to ask.
Weather: (Tallahassee, FL) 82* at Kickoff / Partly Cloudy
Vegas: Florida State -16 / Over-Under: 57
Prediction: Maryland will no doubt put some points up in their final trip to Doak before shipping off to the B1G next season. Too close for comfort, but the Noles eek out the ‘W’ and move to 5-0 heading into the bye week to begin preparations for the most important game of the season that I haven’t talked about at all– Clemson in Death Valley, October 19.
FSU 38 – Maryland 24
Tailgate Food of the Week (Courtesy of Epic Meal Time):
Last Week’s Prediction: FSU 41 – Boston College 13
Actual Score: FSU 41 – Boston College 27