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G8: NO. 14 FLORIDA STATE 33, HURRICANES 20: Canes hung with the Noles into the third quarter before faltering. Stephen Morris played but not particularly well, and UM could not muster a running game. Original post: Coach Al Golden was saying it could be a game-time decision whether his starting quarterback will be Stephen Morris, who is nursing a tender ankle, or inexperienced Ryan Williams, but by Friday it was clear Morris was doubtful and therefore Williams likely. FSU is heavily favored either way although, with Morris, I'd have given Miami a great chance to beat the spread on a near-three-touchdown betting line. That's a huge head start to give a talented Canes squad at home in a rivalry game. Overall though it's very hard to imagine red-hot E.J. Manuel won't lead the Noles to the top of the scoreboard. Manuel has a fair shot at the Heisman Trophy now that WVU's Geno Smith has stumbled, and could really feather his chances in this ABC telecast. My pick was: FSU, 31-23.
Other Collball Week 8 featured state FBS games, in order:
Troy 38, FIU 37: FIU, preseason Sun Belt favorite, cascades to a 1-7 record with another heartbreak loss on a Troy rally. The Int't had a pretty decent upset shot against Troy's mediocre Trojans in a conference game. What happened to Mario Cristobal's mojo? Where da magic at!? My pickwas: Troy, 31-27.
No. 2 Florida 44, No. 7 South Carolina 11: Stomp! The Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier ambling back into The Swamp always feels special, this time augmented as a marquee top-10 matchup and the collball Game of the Week nationally. Gamecocks had won past two vs. Gators but I liked Florida at home to stay unbeaten and protect the catbird seat of that No. 2 BCS ranking. Gators were healthier than they've been, especially on the O-line. My pick was: Florida, 24-20.
South Alabama 37, FAU 34: Owls on hunt for that elusive second victory and had a fair shot in this Sun Belt game at S-Bama, which had allowed 30-plus points in all five losses. My pick was: South Alabama, 27-21.
My record: This week, 4-0. Season, 29-8.
Other state FBS games: No. 16 Louisville d. South Florida, 27-25; and UCF d. Memphis, 35-17.
National Game of the Week: Gators hosting Gamecocks (see above).
Note: We're on holiday this weekend so updates here will be done with less alacrity than usual.