It says a lot about the state of things if Miami (FL)-Florida State is easily forgettable on a Saturday slate. After a 27-10 Hurricanes win, though, it's only the Seminoles who want to forget this season.
While neither team has been lighting it up -- they entered Saturday with identical 4-4 records -- Miami at least flashed a few things to like. Quarterback Jarren Williams showed off some nice deep passes and hit two big bombs Jeff Thomas and Dee Wiggins of 39 and 56 yards, respectively.
The Hurricanes also had nine sacks -- the most given up all-time by the Seminoles. The result for a rivalry usually steeped in emotion and high stakes was a rather pedestrian mismatch. Even the one skirmish between the two sides was anticlimactic. Still, this was a big win for Miami, who hadn't won by double-digits against FSU since 2001. The Canes have been far from world beaters this year with losses to North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. They'll probably barely make a bowl. So if Miami is that so-so, what does it say about Florida State that it can't even come to within two touchdowns at home?
There are many reasons for this, but one is that Florida State loses the battle in the trenches constantly. It's not groundbreaking news that Florida State has protection issues up front, but Saturday's struggle to protect the quarterback was the latest example how much its offensive line/general pass protection has put this offense behind the 8-ball. Frankly, it doesn't matter how gifted Kendal Briles is as a play-caller or how talented running back Cam Akers is if a play can't develop. Sure enough, the Noles ended up with 203 yards of total offense with 0.8 yards per rush (including sacks).
This has been the same story for long enough that the hot seat chatter for coach Willie Taggart is only going to amplify. There's no going back now, as there's no more room for error. Florida State's athletic director David Coburn has downplayed that chatter, but the fact remains the Noles are 4-5 and at-risk of missing a second straight bowl game -- something that hasn't happened since 1975 and '76.
Looking ahead, Florida State has three games left -- two road trips against Boston College and Florida and a home date with FCS Alabama State -- and may need to win all three to become bowl eligible. Lines haven't been released for those games, but I wouldn't bank on Florida State being a favorite in either of them.