Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Florida State Seminoles – College Football (September 5, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 4, 2021 6:08 am PDT

The Sunday game to wrap up the first weekend always has its own time slot, and it should be fun yet again with the ACC dominating primetime.

Dedicating this game and the season to Bobby Bowden will be a consistent mindset for the FSU program. Mike Norvell enters his second season, and the team is looking to avoid a fourth consecutive losing season.

The last time FSU has accomplished that was 1973-76. That was three years before Bowden became the head coach, and the final year was the iconic coaches’ first season in Tallahassee.

The Golden Domers are in their first season with life after Ian Book, the school’s winningest quarterback. Getting back to the College Football Playoff will be easier said than done with the schedule that Notre Dame will endure.

How will these two teams fare in week one? Let’s find out in my Notre Dame vs. Florida State prediction and pick.

Notre Dame vs. Florida State Odds

Notre Dame (-7.5)+100
Florida State (+7.5)-120
Notre Dame to Win-300
Florida State to Win+250
Over 55.5-110
Under 55.5-110

Notre Dame and Florida State have had some legendary matchups over the years, but it has been a challenge to watch if you are a Seminole backer. The Irish have won the last two meetings (2018, 2020).

Notre Dame has won them by a combined score of 84-39, with both games never in doubt.

The prior three meetings all went in favor of Florida State. The 2003 meeting was Brady Quinn’s freshmen season as Notre Dame suffered their worst home defeat at the time in program history, 37-0.

The backfield of Greg Jones, Leon Washington, and Lorenzo Booker was elite. Wideout Craphonso Thorpe stole the show, and he just scored again on the Irish secondary.

The 2011 Champs Sports Bowl came down to the wire with FSU winning 18-14 thanks to a stellar defensive effort. The 2014 thriller in Tallahassee had a controversial ending. The Irish looked to have a go-ahead score in the closing moments. However, they had a receiver illegally blocking downfield with the ball thrown. FSU prevailed, 31-27, and would appear in the first-ever College Football Playoff.

Looking at the numbers, FSU has been miserable against the spread in the past four seasons due to expectations.

They have had decent teams on paper entering the year, but the results say otherwise. FSU is 17-28-2 against the spread in the past four seasons, one of which has been under Mike Norvell.

Brian Kelly is 10-4-1 as a road favorite the past four seasons, but the road team in this series has lost three straight games. FSU has also lost four straight season openers, so they will try to buck that trend. It is time to discuss this Sunday night primetime matchup between Notre Dame and Florida State.

Why Notre Dame Wins

Since 2015, the Irish have been better in the trenches compared to the Noles. It hasn’t been overly close, and Florida State has struggled against teams that can churn out long drives and come away with consistent points.

The Seminoles’ defense wasn’t great in 2020. Check out where they ranked compared to the nation in some key areas.

  • 5 points allowed per game (111th)
  • 475 yards allowed per game (115th)
  • 4 yards per play (111th)
  • 508 points per play (109th)

Barring the Noles have the next Jalen Ramsey, Timmy Jernigan, and Telvin Smith back from their vaunted 2013 national title squad, the Irish will have their way on offense.

Jack Coan may not even need to win this game with his arm. Kyren Williams is a home-run threat waiting to happen. If the Noles front seven cannot get in the backfield, it will be a long night for the FSU defense.

The Noles haven’t been able to run the ball either, which benefits the Marcus Freeman-led defense. One of the premier coordinators in the country just came over from Cincinnati, and he will be looking to make a statement in their season opener.

Why Florida State Wins

The Noles have not had a signature victory in many moons. One would have to go back to 2016, in which they last garnered national attention.

The season-ending wins over Florida and then Michigan in the Orange Bowl allowed them to finish in the AP Top 10.

The program has gone 21-26 since and only has two lowly bowl appearances. They are on their third full-time head coach since losing Jimbo Fisher and firing Willie Taggart.

Norvell should have success in due time, but the ability to have his team buy into their culture will show right out of the gates against Notre Dame.

The defense should have fewer blown assignments, and quarterback transfer McKenzie Milton can outduel Jack Coan in a game with upset potential.

Notre Dame vs. Florida State Prediction

Florida State will have their backs against the wall in this one since nobody is fading the Irish here. There are always a few games that will have wild finishes.

ND-FSU could be one of the top upsets in September.

This one could be chaotic at Doak Campbell Stadium, and it will come down to Milton dissecting the Irish secondary. There is a ton of size in the ND secondary, but the Seminoles speed could wreak havoc.

Give me FSU’s offensive weapons and the ability to expose the youngsters on Notre Dame’s back seven.

Notre Dame vs. Florida State Pick

The value is all on Florida State at home. The line is just too thick to ignore at the best college football betting sites. Since 2011, they have been an underdog at home eight times and are 3-5 against the spread.

They upset fifth-ranked North Carolina in front of a hostile environment last season thanks to being opportunistic on defense.

So, this is another game to take the home team as I lean the Seminoles with the points.

Pick
  • Florida State (+7.5)
    -120

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