And just when you think you’ve seen it all then this happens.
An “11th hour” decision was made last Saturday to postpone the tilt between FSU and Clemson when each school’s respective medical staff couldn’t come to an agreement on moving forward with COVID protocols. But did the drama from that decision stop there?
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made several blasts against FSU’s administration in press conferences and interviews in the days since the decision was made, to which FSU head coach Mike Norvell had a few responses as well.
We find it quite comical that Swinney makes it look like the Seminoles were afraid of playing the Tigers, for fear of another embarrassing loss this season. We at Free Sports Press applaud the medical staff at Florida State for keeping the players’ health and well-being at the forefront of this game and not wanting to risk anything. Shame on Clemson for allowing this player to travel with the team when they knew he was displaying potential COVID symptoms.
In case you missed some of what Swinney has been saying then check out this example here.
And we continue to applaud Norvell for responses like this.
We look forward to seeing just how “chippy” this game gets if/when it’s rescheduled. There is still an open date before the ACC Championship Game if both teams can come to an agreement.
Let’s press on to a couple games that have caught our eye for this weekend’s slate of contests.
The first is the only Top 25 tilt in the conference with #2 Notre Dame traveling to #19 North Carolina.
#2 Notre Dame (8-0) vs #19 North Carolina (6-2) Preview
The Irish have the run D.
North Carolina will come into the stadium with its fancy schmancy big play attack that puts up 563 yards per game, and the really, really good defense it has faced so far is … Clemson? No. Pitt? No. Miami? No.
The Fighting Irish were lit up by DJ Uiagalelei in the win over Clemson, but it held Travis Etienne and company to 34 yards on the ground. The Irish run D has allowed more than 100 yards twice – 106 to USF and 153 to Florida State – and only gave up more than 260 to DJ.
North Carolina lives on its offensive balance and versatility, but it lost the one time it didn’t run for 100 yards – 44-41 to Virginia – and it’s about to be one-dimensional.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heel D doesn’t take the ball away and can be hammered on when someone makes the attempt.
North Carolina, welcome to the Notre Dame offensive line.
And the really good offense Notre Dame has faced, besides Clemson’s? No one really comes to mind.
Has it faced D’Eriq King? No. Has it faced Virginia Tech? No. Has it faced Wake Forest? No.
Notre Dame is in the ACC’s top eight offensively, it stuffed Louisville – who’s sixth – and got rocked through the air by Clemson. It missed the other five teams in the top eight until this week.
The Tar Heels have the most efficient passing game in the ACC, the O keeps things moving with a good pace, and it has the all-around speed and explosion to hit the big plays to keep pushing.
This team doesn’t know how to play a full 60 minutes, but those 23 it shows up for, look out.
Florida State ran for 241 yards on North Carolina. Virginia ran for 210. The Tar Heels lost both games, and they almost got tagged by Virginia Tech when giving up 260.
Oh there will be flash, and there will be excitement, but Notre Dame will throw for 230 yards, run for 250, and barrel its way to the win by owning the lines. It’ll be a test, but the Irish will pass.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Broadcast
Date: Friday, November 27
Game Time: 3:30pm ET
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Next up is a good measuring stick game for Florida State. How far have they come since their loss to NC State and what kind of difference can the younger players on this roster make?
Virginia (4-4) vs Florida State (2-6) Preview
This whole 2020 Florida State season is going just GREAT.
The Mike Norvell era got off to a rocky start before it all began, there’s been nothing positive on the field other than a bizarre upset over North Carolina, and now it’s all taken another after the program made Dabo mad – FSU pulled out of the game last week with Clemson with COVID protocol concerns.
Meanwhile, Virginia is quiet on a three-game winning streak to turn its season around, tuning up even more with a 55-15 win over Abilene Christian last week.
The Cavalier offensive line is playing great, the pass rush is terrific, and the team does a great job of controlling the pace and tempo.
Florida State might not be doing a whole lot of things right, but it’s able to control the time of possession, too.
In a game like this with little passing game and less of a defense to rely on, the Noles will be more than happy to try running the ball, letting the clock roll, and keep the score low and make the game go fast.
This isn’t an explosive Virginia team. It comes in with the ACC’s worst pass defense, no downfield passing game to worry about, and with enough of a turnover problem to give FSU several easy chances.
FSU will keep on trying with the various young parts getting their shot, but this rough year isn’t going to get any better.
It’s not going to be anything pretty, but Virginia will come up with a workmanlike effort on both sides of the ball. It won’t make the mistakes Florida State will, and the run D will hold up a wee bit better.
Virginia vs Florida State Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 28
Game Time: 8:00pm ET
Venue: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Network: ACC Network
We’re definitely looking forward to seeing how FSU responds to their last on-field performance as the first season of new head coach Mike Norvell wraps up with a handful of games left. This team seems to be close to turning the corner if they can clean up a few key components.
Let’s dive into our picks now.
Hopefully the full slate of games that are scheduled can actually take place. We feel fairly confident in these picks and hope to secure our second perfect weekend of the season.
Friday, November 27th
|#19 North Carolina vs #2 Notre Dame||ND 37, UNC 31|
Saturday, November 28th
|Syracuse vs NC State||NCST 31, SYR 21|
|#3 Clemson vs Pittsburgh||CLEM 47, PITT 23|
|Boston College vs Louisville||BC 31, LOU 28|
|Georgia Tech vs Duke||GT 27, DUKE 25|
|Florida State vs Virginia||UVA 31, FSU 24|
Last Week’s Picks: 3-1 (FSU/Clemson was postponed after our pick was made)
Year-to-Date Record: 50-19 (72.46%)
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a great slate of games and we’ll check back in next week and hopefully not cringe at the results.
And if you missed it, check out our latest episode of the “Laces Out” series here.
If you’ve signed up for our weekly ESPN College Pick ‘Em challenge then don’t forget to get your picks locked in. Top entry at the end of the season will get a nominal cash prize!
Information for this post was obtained from College Football News.