Well, it’s not exactly what either program planned it to be, but thanks to recent developments, Notre Dame-Florida State still looks primed to excite.
The bombshell of Brandon Wimbush retaking the starting quarterback position for Brian Kelly’s team will certainly throw off a lot of how the Seminoles’ defense prepared leading up to the matchup, but it isn’t necessarily a radical switch for the Irish. The formula is simple: get the ball to Notre Dame’s playmakers; with Wimbush’s legs adding another threat to the multi-headed beast. The Irish offense should still be hard for Seminoles to stop, particularly in the run game.
While Florida State still has individual pieces that could produce, the team effort has been lacking all year. Against the undefeated Irish, in the cold of South Bend, on Senior Day, I can’t help but hear the funeral bells ringing already.
FINAL: Notre Dame 42, Florida State 10
Elizabeth Greason — Assistant Managing Editor
Once upon a time, this was supposed to be the matchup of the century. Notre Dame. Florida State. Two national championship contenders, battling it out for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Well, that’s not quite how it’s panned out, at least for the Seminoles this season. That being said, they’re on the up-and-up. From scoring just three points in their season opener, to switching out their starting quarterback and their play caller last week, they’re getting prepared to play in South Bend and take on the No. 3 team in the country. While the Seminoles have yet to announce a starting quarterback for the week, Notre Dame is in a similar position with a familiar, yet different face under center: Brandon’s back! The senior is ready to take the helm and prove he was passed over improperly.
Notre Dame isn’t a team that blows out its opponents, but I’m confident the Irish have this one in the bag.
FINAL: Notre Dame 35, Florida State 17
Joe Everett — Sports Editor
The Irish are one win away from their third undefeated home record in the past seven years. All that stands in the way is a struggling Florida State team. Seems like a cinch, right?
Perhaps not. Florida State is not a good team, but they’re still a talented, dangerous one. The Seminoles boast the 22nd-best passing offense in the country and also feature sophomore running back Cam Akers. Florida State is still a proud program and is fighting for a bowl berth. They’ll be ready.
However, the Irish are just too good. Notre Dame’s defensive line should eat up Florida State’s struggling offensive line, which should alter the flow of the Seminoles offense. The Irish offense should roll once again, and I’m skeptical that the Seminoles will love playing in sub-30 degree weather. ND sends its seniors out with a win.
FINAL: Notre Dame 38, Florida State 21
Charlotte Edmonds — Associate Sports Editor
This has been a marquee matchup since the 2018 schedule was announced. Nine games in and the focus has shifted, as Notre Dame holds its College Football Playoff destiny in its hands and the Seminoles are desperately trying to qualify for a bowl game.
Nonetheless, the re-emergence of Brandon Wimbush makes this an interesting meeting, the first for the two teams in Notre Dame Stadium since Florida State shut down the Irish in 2003. This is a match made in heaven for Wimbush. The Seminole defensive line has struggled to contain far less imposing rushers. Paired with the stellar defensive unit both along the line and in deep range, and the unstoppable one-two punch of Dexter Williams and Jafar Armstrong, expect a good ol’ fashioned Irish beat-down.
FINAL: Notre Dame 38, Florida State 14
Connor Mulvena — Associate Sports Editor
It’s no secret that Florida State isn’t anything to write home about this year. And weirdly, for the Irish, that makes me nervous, because I think this team has shown it’s prone to playing down to their opponent. Plus, although the Irish earned the No. 3 spot in the second week of the college football playoff rankings, I don’t think we’ve seen them turn on that top-four killer switch. That switch that allows Clemson to drop 77 points or Alabama to seal the game before the end of the first half. So I’m inclined to be hesitant about predicting an Irish blowout here. But Brandon Wimbush starting for the Irish changes all of that for me.
If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to our staff’s podcast, “The Basement Breakdown,” you’d know that I am a notable proponent of Brandon Wimbush. I’m like the Robin to his Batman, except if Batman didn’t know that Robin existed.
I know Wimbush has been a great teammate throughout the change at quarterback this season, and I applaud him for that, but I think he’ll come out trying to make a statement in this one. He has nothing to lose, and he can run circles around this Florida State defense. Brandon Wimbush will lead the Irish to their first real cutthroat blowout, and the Irish will be reminded that he’s that dude.