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Orange Bowl Preview: Florida State and Michigan Get Set to Tangle

Ari Russell

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(Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire)

The day has finally arrived, where we have some big time bowl games popping up. Probably one of the most anticipated non CFB Playoff  match ups takes place on Friday night in Miami Gardens, as the Florida State Seminoles get set to take on the Michigan Wolverines. 

This game has a bunch of intrigue for various reason.

Let’s start with Dalvin Cook. It’s expected to be the last time we see Cook in a Florida State uniform as all signs are pointing to him skipping his senior year for the NFL Draft. He has nothing else to prove at this level. Cook will leave FSU as the most decorated RB in school’s history. After breaking the school’s career rushing record and TD record, what else does he have to do? The amazing part is that he did this all in three years. It’s going to take a real stud for anyone to break Cook’s records any time soon. Sad to see him go, as he’s such an explosive player, but it should be fun one last time to see him Friday night.

The net intriguing part of this game is to see how inspired Michigan will be. We know that Harbaugh, and the Wolverine faithful, feel slighted about not making it to the CFB Playoff. They felt they got robbed in the Ohio State game, and they have a point. However that loss to Iowa, wasn’t a good look, and it’s hard keeping one loss teams out that won their conference ahead of a 2 loss team that didn’t even win their division. Either way you know Harbaugh is going to get his troops fired up for this one. When he’s angry, usually his opponents feel the pain. Plus we saw how fired up those Stanford teams got, when they felt slighted. Could we see the same with the Maize and Blue on Friday? It’s possible.

The last intriguing part, well not last, but last for this article, that at least I’m interested in seeing, is FSU freshman QB Deondre Francois. If for whatever reason you haven’t seen this young man play, Friday night you want to turn your TVs on. There is no question Francois is going to be an emerging star. Expect Heisman hype going into next season, especially if he has a big Orange Bowl. The ACC is turning out to be a QB heavy league, and that will be even next year with Mitch Trubisky, Brad Kaaya and DeShawn Watson possibly going pro. Keep an eye out for Francois. We know the Michigan defense is stout, but this guy is special.

Should be a good one at Joe Robbie…I mean Sun Life….I mean Hard Rock Stadium Friday night.

The Capitol One Orange Bowl (have to mention sponsor before I get sued) Kickoff at 8pm ET.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.

The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:

Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.

The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.

FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.

New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,

“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.

This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”

These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.

Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.

That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.

The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games  at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

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Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.

Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.

And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.

This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.

That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.

“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.

“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.

“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.

“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.

“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?

“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.

Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.

Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.

His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.

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