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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Three And Out: FSU-Miami

    This week's "Three And Out" is contributed by Andrew Carter. Andrew has covered sports for the Orlando Sentinel since 2005, and has covered Florida State since July 2007. Though he's a newcomer to the FSU beat, he's no newcomer to the ACC and college sports. Andrew grew up in Raleigh, N.C. and graduated from North Carolina State University. Thanks to Andrew for taking the time to answer the questions.

    1. There seems to be quite a few in the media who believe that there may be a quarterback controversy at FSU. What are your feelings in regard to that and do you think Lee will be the starter on Saturday?

    That's a fair assessment you make that some media types believe there is indeed a controversy. I don't know if it'd be fair to call what's going on right now a "controversy" but I do think FSU has the two main ingredients necessary for one to exist. Those two things being the following: 1.) The Seminoles have two capable quarterbacks in Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford and, 2.) Neither guy has truly established himself. So when one doesn't play up to expectation -- like Weatherford didn't earlier this season and like Lee didn't in the second half at Wake Forest the other night -- the question of whether there's going to be a switch is always there. We're halfway through the season and certainly the FSU coaching staff would have liked to have had this position figured out already, but it's clear the coaches themselves have questions. When they decided to put Weatherford in for that series in the fourth quarter the other night, that only intensified the debate. I think Lee starts against Miami, but if he has a bad game or a bad first half, things could get real interesting.

    2. Both FSU and Miami are struggling this year. Which program do you think has the farthest to go to become a national "player" again?

    I haven't followed Miami nearly as much as I have FSU, of course, but from what I have seen, I think they're very similar teams. In fact, they're so similar that it's difficult to argue whether one is further ahead of the other at this point. Purely from a statistical standpoint, it's strange how much these teams resemble one another. For instance, FSU is 93rd nationally in total offense and 24th in total defense. Miami 95th in total offense and 25th in total defense. Offensively, FSU has done OK with the pass and has a horrible running game, while the opposite is true for Miami. Defensively, Miami has a better pass defense than run defense, while the opposite is true for FSU. So they're kind of like bizarre mirror images of one another. Just judging from what I've seen of Miami, I'd probably give a slight edge to FSU in the race to get back to national prominence. The Seminoles defense I think is better overall than Miami's, and FSU seems to be missing a little bit less offensively than Miami. Plus, FSU has neither a bad loss this season nor a blowout loss. Miami, of course, lost to a horrible North Carolina team and was blown out by Oklahoma. But FSU and Miami are both a ways away.

    3. Give me your best guess on who you think will prevail on Saturday and why.

    My best guess is that FSU wins on Saturday. Of course, I thought the Seminoles would beat Wake Forest, so that shows how much I know. Why will FSU beat the Canes? It's in Tallahassee, for one thing. Miami, it seems, has played awfully in two road games this season. Aside from homefield advantage, I just think FSU is playing better right now, even with the loss to Wake. Before that loss, a lot of people thought the Seminoles were about to really get on a roll. Miami, meanwhile, seems to be floundering and directionless. The Canes haven't shown anything to this point that'd make you believe they're ready go on the road and come away with a big victory in a hostile environment.

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