It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of these, but people seemed to like them on the rare occasion they would appear, so when ACC Rivals asked me to participate, I gladly accepted.
ACC Rivals covers all things Atlantic Coast Conference and, therefore, was perfect to answer some questions about this weekend’s game against rivals Florida and FSU. Head over to their site to check out my answers to the questions they had for me.
Here are my questions for them and their answers:
The Bull Gator: As the season nears its end, is this what you expected out of FSU? Or were hopes higher for 2010?
ACC Rivals: I think FSU definitely overachieved this year, and was much more successful then people thought they would be. At the end of the day, nobody expected Jimbo Fisher to turn it around in one year. And to see that he made this team good enough to be basically two plays away from being 10-1 has all ‘Noles fans happy with the season.
A win against Florida would make this season more then successful. Wins against Miami and UF in this inaugural season for Jimbo would give a huge boost to recruiting, and show the nation that FSU is officially back.
TBG: The Jimbo Fisher era has started off well enough, what do you see from the head coach in the future?
AR: I think all Florida State fans should be excited for how this team will fare in the upcoming years under Jimbo. We were one miscommunication and one missed field goal away from being in the Top 10. Our recruiting classes get better and better by the year, and E.J. Manuel is the next Cam Newton (yes, I said it). Watch out for this team in the next years.
TBG: Christian Ponder has been shaky at times this year. Will the Noles need him to play well to beat the Gators? Or is the running game the key?
AR: I don’t think Christian Ponder is the key to this game. Let me rephrase that – I don’t want Christian Ponder to be the key to this game. At this point, I’d honestly rather have EJ under center. I’m much more confident with him directing the offense.
But since it’s senior day, and Jimbo didn’t even pull him last week against Maryland when he was playing absolutely horrid, I’m expecting Ponder to be the quarterback for the whole game. We’ll need him to play like the quarterback that gave FSU reason to make the CP7 for Heisman campaign or yes, the running game is the key. Which isn’t a bad thing, because I’m completely confident in giving Chris Thompson, Ty Jones, and Jermaine Thomas the ball all the time.
TBG: FSU gets to the QB and Florida lets defenders get into the backfield. Are you laughing manically at what could be a long day for Gator QBs?
AR: I don’t want to say anything about how we are so much better then this Gator offense, but I will say this – this is the first time for a long time where I’ve been confident that our defense is going to get a stop when they walk on the field.
TBG: The Gators are on quite a streak against the Noles. As much as you want to win this game, will your thoughts be on NC State/Maryland?
AR: Let me start off with this – PlantTheSpear.com put a poll on their website this week that asked if FSU fans would trade a trip to the ACC championship game for a win over Florida.
Over 70% of people voted yes. I think that describes my attitude as well towards the game. But this should show how the team is looking at the game – Doak Campbell Stadium has been asked by the coaches not to show the NC State-Maryland score so the players aren’t distracted. While I will be checking the score during every break in action, the coaches obviously want their team to want this game more.
TBG: How will this game turn out?
AR: Florida State will come out strong and open up with a 10-0 lead. But they’ll then fail to capitalize on some drives, Florida will gain momentum, and the game will be close throughout the game. The score will be somewhere around 20-17 (not sure who will be ahead) late in the 4th quarter, and we’ll be in for a great ending. I’m not going to make final score prediction, sorry. There’s just too much emotional impact for my prediction not to be a homer pick.