Orange Bowl: Georgia vs. Florida State Prediction
ORANGE BOWL: GEORGIA VS. FLORIDA STATE PREDICTION – The Orange Bowl would be more appropriately named the “You Got Screwed” Bowl. Or perhaps the “Opt-Out” Bowl. Two teams who narrowly missed the CFB Playoff face off on Saturday at 4pm in Miami for the Orange Bowl, a game that used to mean something.
Florida State had the misfortune of losing Jordan Travis, their starting QB near the end of the year. Despite going undefeated and winning the ACC, the ‘Noles didn’t make the cut as one of the top 4 teams. And let’s be honest, they were nowhere near one of the best four. But they were one of the most deserving four.
UGA tripped and fell right before the finish line in the SEC Championship, losing to Alabama by 3. Despite winning 29 straight SEC games, being back-to-back National Champions, 2 wins over top 12 teams, and having, undoubtedly, one of the top 4 rosters in the nation, the Dawgs were left out of the playoff.
One of these teams should have made it, whether as a best four or most-deserving four team. Instead, they get oranges. Hooray.
Game of the Year…
Plus, this game should have been an interesting matchup between two top teams. Instead, something like 63% of Florida State’s roster is opting out. Anyone who is anyone on their roster is not playing. Heck, Tate Rodemaker, the backup QB who should be starting, decided to enter the transfer portal. Here’s a few notable names that are opting out
- Reynardo Green
- Lawrence Toafili
- Keon Coleman
- Trey Benson
- Johnny Wilson
- Jaheim Bell
- Jared Verse
- DJ Lundy
So, to be clear, that’s their QB, their top 3 pass catchers, their top 2 running backs, their first round defensive lineman, and more.
Comparatively, UGA will be without RT Amarius Mims and TE Brock Bowers. Two first rounders, and nothing to dismiss. The difference is UGA has gone long stretches throughout the year without these guys already.
Several NFL-bound players are still playing in this game, like #1 corner Kamari Lassiter, C Sedrick Van-Pran, WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, WR Ladd McConkey, RB Daijun Edwards and RB Kendal Milton.
So Georgia should be, unless Kirby is keeping opt outs totally under wraps, close to full strength while FSU will be nowhere near it. And now that Carson Beck has announced his return at QB, this UGA offense is primed for a huge day.
Looking for Motivation
Georgia has the added motivation that this senior class has the chance to finish with 50 wins in 4 years, a program record. The teams cares deeply about sending these seniors off with that 50th win, which has helped keep guys from opting out. Georgia appears to have something that FSU doesn’t: motivation and a team culture. In FSU’s defense, they basically got told that games don’t matter this year, so I wouldn’t be inclined to put my body at risk of injury for a system that just shafted me either.
So what happens in this game? It’s hard to say exactly how one team will perform when the majority of their starters for this game weren’t starters this year. Maybe these reserves will be motivated, fresh, and can put up a fight to make a statement that even FSU’s backups can hang with the defending champs.
Or, what seems far, far more likely is that UGA comes out and absolutely demolishes Florida State because the talent disparity will be enormous.
UGA is missing some key guys due to injury. EDGE Damon Wilson is out with a knee injury. DB Julian Humphrey is still nursing a broken collarbone. Ladd McConkey will play but isn’t fully healthy. WR RaRa Thomas is still out. UGA also had about 18 dudes enter the portal. I just don’t see it making that much of a difference.
Neither does Vegas. The line as of Thursday is 20 points. That feels about right, because unless UGA comes out rusty, which of course they could, I think they’ll be up by that margin by half time.
The only thing stopping UGA in this game is UGA. And if FSU QB Brock Glenn’s performance against Louisville (8 of 21 for 55 yards) is any indication, UGA won’t really have to work hard to slow down the FSU offense.
I think UGA keeps the offense fairly simple early on to see what FSU can stop. If their running game gets going early, it’s going to be a bloodbath. I don’t see FSU hardly scoring until UGA puts the backups in. The question will be how rusty UGA performs in the first half. I’m expecting a bit of a slow start with some miscues between Carson Beck and his receivers.
Still, I fully expect UGA to win this game and to cover. Kirby Smart wants to start a new winning streak, to communicate what an error the playoff committee made, and motivate his guys for next year. The Dawgs have already secured a number of seniors returning for another year that are a pleasant surprise: DL Nazir Stackhouse, DL Warren Brinson, LB Smael Mondon, and RG Tate Ratledge have all been key contributors who are returning next year.
I do think UGA will look to rotate a LOT of backups into this game to get them experience. I just think that will happen after they’re up 3 scores or more. I’ll give you a score prediction, but let me tell you what I hope to see in this game first.
RB Kendall Milton goes out with a bang. He came on strong at the end of the year and will go pro. I hope he has a big game that puts more positive film up for him.
S Javon Bullard to get an INT. Bullard has been a key player for UGA on and off the field. He loves UGA and is considering returning for his senior year. I think he should go pro because the NFL scouting knocks on him won’t change. He’s small and not super fast. He’s great in college but will likely have a tough time in the NFL. Another year of college won’t fix that. So I want to see him, if it’s his last game, make a big play.
Somebody needs to step up at receiver. I don’t care who. Anthony Evans, Arian Smith, CJ Smith, Tyler Williams, heck Cole Speer. Anyone. Please show me who can make plays at receiver next year.
Related to that, Carson Beck drops a bomb for a TD. Beck has thrown some long catches and runs for touchdowns, but not really had a drop in the bucket, over the shoulder 45 yard throw for a score. Would love to see him drop a dime.
Look, I may be, once again, too bullish on the Dawgs. They could struggle and FSU could have more fight in them than I expected.