Week 6 Saturday Six-Pack: Approaching The Airport



Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT


Las Vegas Line: Florida State -9

For as much of the luster as has worn off the Red River Shootout, the complete lack of national interest in the Miami-Florida State rivalry illuminates just how far this series has fallen.

This is the prime-time ABC game, sure, but Disney’s properties are advertising Cal-Utah and Arkansas-Alabama as the top Week 6 selections. Cal-Utah makes sense given their records, but Arkansas-Alabama is likely to beat an ugly beat-down.

Miami’s arrival in the ACC a decade ago was meant to take this already-heated rivalry to another level, on par with the Oklahoma-Texas, Michigan-Ohio State or any of the game’s other marquee showdowns. However, Florida State fell on hard times from which it only recovered around 2010, and Miami’s been in search of its identity since 2003.

This year’s installment is especially ho-hum, given Miami should be undefeated, but instead is coming off a confounding loss last week at Cincinnati. The Hurricanes’ underachieving effort against the Bearcats crystallizes their last decade or so nicely, and may have sealed embattled head coach Al Golden’s fate.

A win at rival Florida State might turn down the heat on Golden. More importantly, it would put Miami on an early, inside track in the unpredictable ACC Coastal.

The Hurricanes certainly have the talent to hang with the Seminoles, particularly given the three-time defending ACC champs haven’t looked to be in sync yet sans Jameis Winston. Jimbo Fisher seemingly doesn’t trust Everett Golson to throw downfield (with good reason), and the loss of Dalvin Cook to a hamstring injury severely hampers what Florida State can do on offense.

But is Miami able to avoid self-sabotage long enough to take advantage? The Hurricanes’ penchant for unforced errors and poor tackling suggest not. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is phenomenal at times, but has yet to sustain his playmaking for a full 60 minutes.

He’ll have Terrance Smith bearing down on him repeatedly, and Jalen Ramsey lurking in the secondary, ready to capitalize on any miscue.

It should be a close game, befitting a true rivalry — just for the wrong reasons.

PREDICTION: Florida State 27, Miami 23