|Florida State vs Colorado
September 27, 2008
Why?: Even though last year's meeting was kind of a snoozer, it's still one of the more intriguing intersectional match ups of the season. Both teams are struggling to pull themselves back up, both teams are still working their respective ways into new offensive systems, and both teams had some flashes of brilliance last year (Colorado over OU, FSU over BC) while also suffering some serious humiliation (20-47 aginst K State for the Buffs, 12-45 against bitter rival Florida for the 'Noles).
Who do I think will win? Colorado is pretty much rebuilding it's o-line while also (likely) leaning heavily on a true freshman at running back (even if he is a total stud), but it's year three of the Dan Hawkins experience, and the system should be clicking for the most part for everyone. They should also be a little better on defense with 8 starters returning. Florida State, meanwhile, will also be rebuilding their o-line, and will have ten returning players sitting out the first three games (meaning this will be their first opportunity to hit the field) from last year's academic fraud shenanigans. Their two leading receivers and leading rusher return, though, while QB Drew Weatherford is poised for a breakout senior year if he can actually lock down the start in the fall. Most of the aforementioned suspended players are on the defensive side of the ball, so there's no telling how well they will function once everyone is back in the game. Gut instinct wants to say FSU since it's in Jacksonville, but I'll go with Colorado on this one since I just don't see the Seminoles really getting everything together until later in the season.
Who do I hope will win?: Colorado. I used to not like Hawkins when he was at Boise, mostly because of the "Boise's gonna show the SEC about offense!" talk a few years ago before they were humiliated by Georgia, but since he's been at Colorado I've really grown to respect him. He kicked a bunch of trouble makers off the team post haste (and they wound up paying him back by enrolling at D1AA Montana State, who upset the Buffs in Hawkins's first game) and suffered through a 2-10 year, but righted the ship last season, knocking off OU when they were ranked #3 (I believe) and getting to a bowl (you know which one), all while doing things the right way in the wake of destruction left by the human stain that is Gary Barnett. As someone mentioned in the comments awhile back, Colorado played hard the entire Independence Bowl, not letting the early part of the game where we ran roughshod over them on both offense and defense effect them and mounting a serious comeback in the second half. I had a lot of respect for their attitude and determination then, and I still have it now, so go 'Buffs.