Sexton must provide balance

Florida State's defense will make enough plays against Chris Leak, and the Seminoles will keep their BCS hopes alive.

Originally Published: November 16, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
The Gators haven't won in Tallahassee since 1986, making last week's blowout win over South Carolina that much more important. The victory made Florida bowl eligible.

Who: Florida vs. Florida State (8)
When: Sat., 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

This year's meeting with Florida State also will mark Ron Zook's final regular-season game as Florida's head football coach. Athletic director Jeremy Foley reportedly will ask the lame-duck coach to stick around for the bowl game, but it's unknown whether Zook will accept his offer. The Gators have four losses in SEC play, but a win over the Seminoles certainly would improve the program's bowl position and help send Zook out on a positive note.

Florida State remains in the ACC title hunt, but it no longer controls its own fate. The Seminoles need Virginia Tech to lose two of its three remaining conference games (Maryland, Virginia and at Miami), and Miami to lose one of its remaining two (Wake Forest and Virginia Tech), to win the ACC and earn the automatic BCS bowl bid. With no conference games remaining, Saturday night's game represents an opportunity for the Seminoles to improve their bowl value.

Fans should get their money's worth when Gators QB Chris Leak takes the field. Florida's wide-open attack will be going up against a Seminoles defense ranked third in the nation, and giving up just 13.1 points per game. Can Leak carry over the momentum he built during last week's 319-yard passing performance, or will a stifling Florida State defense, anchored by DT Travis Johnson's and FS Pat Watkins, be too much to handle?

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer