Last year’s match-up between Oklahoma and Florida State got out of hand early but Al Dannity says Saturday’s game is going to be a much closer affair. It’s the #1 Sooners against #5 Seminoles, in a game where one team’s national title dream is going to end.
All eyes on E.J. Florida State entered 2011 looking stronger at nearly every position. The one big question, one that hasn’t been answered yet, is how E.J. Manuel will manage in his first full season as starter. Manual enjoyed extensive action in relief of Christian Ponder in his first two years on campus but this is a whole new ballgame. In a season where the Seminoles have their best chance in years at winning the ACC, the keys to the offense have been handed to an untested newcomer. Manuel’s first two starts in 2011 yielded good numbers. Recording a 66.7 completion percentage in two outings against cupcakes however is no indication of what he can do against the Sooners.
Early Heisman moment? Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles are both contenders for the 2011 Heisman. The Sooners’ quarterback and star receiver have opportunities to stake a claim in primetime on national television this Saturday. There’s just one problem. This Seminoles defense is truly elite. Florida State remembers what happened in Norman last year. With that 47-17 rout still fresh in the memory, the Noles will be at their sharpest this Saturday night.
A repeat is unlikely but the Sooners have an understated weapon, one that could steal the limelight from the other stars on show. Dominique Whaley is a walk-on with a remarkable story. Having transferred from a NAIA school, where he was a back-up, Whaley stunned his new team-mates at Oklahoma with his performances in practice. Against Tulsa, Whaley showed he was no mere workout wonder as he rumbled for 131 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. College Football betting fans should definitely keep an eye on this rising star.
The verdict The Sooners are listed as just -3.0 favorites, which speaks to the volumes of respect the Seminoles have earned over the years. Every time Florida State looks set for a resurgence, the Noles have fallen short. Last season was a step forward by making the ACC title game. Winning your division is a much easier task however than beating the #1 ranked team in the nation. Even with a loud home crowd on their side, I can’t see the Seminoles staying competitive through the third quarter. Oklahoma will have at least one more week at the top of the pile.