By: Nicholas Austin-Holliday
The Florida State Seminoles play their first home game of the season on Sept 9 against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. FSU started off as a 41 point favorite against ULM but that line recently dropped down to 30 points. ULM, coming off of a 4-8 season in the Sun Belt conference was not meant to be a tough matchup for the Seminoles. FSU is still expected to win big, but the game is now much more important than Seminole fans could have ever imagined.
In the fourth quarter of the FSU vs Alabama game Deondre Francois was rolling out to his right when he was sacked by Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison. The only difference between this sack and countless others from the previous season was that Francois would not slowly get back up and be ready for the next play. On this sack, Francois suffered a season-ending patellar tendon injury, which he recently had successful surgery to repair. Next in line is true freshman QB James Blackman, out of Glades Central High School in Belle, Glade Fl. Standing 6’5 185 pounds he came in as a consensus 3 star QB with a ton of upside. Upside is great, but just how long it takes him to grasp all the things a FSU QB must grasp is up in the air.
The ULM game is very important so that Blackman can take a full game worth of reps; however, the real test will come on Sept 16 when FSU plays one of their annual rivalry games against the Miami Hurricanes. Everybody will be looking to see how Blackman does against ULM but they will really be watching so that they can project how he will look against the Hurricanes. FSU has beaten Miami seven times in a row and won 10 of their last 12 meetings. There is nothing Miami fans want to see more than their team beat FSU and claim state supremacy.
Miami now has extra time to prepare for FSU since the cancellation of their game against Arkansas State due to inclement weather. Their coaches will be watching the game intently to scout Blackman as much as they can before their showdown with the Noles. There is no way for anybody to know how Blackman will perform at the college level, he has never even attempted an in-game pass at the college level. He could set the college world on fire, but more than likely he will play like a talented true freshman QB is expected to. He will have spurts of brilliance as he possess a very strong and accurate arm but he will also make some extremely frustrating mistakes. FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher is known as a QB guru, this current situation will test him just as much as any other on-field situation he has encountered since being a head coach.
Although the ULM game became much more important for FSU after Francois was ruled out for the season, the game against Miami looms large. Will the Hurricanes be able to capitalize and beat FSU with Blackman and the helm or will FSU be able to extend their winning streak to eight games. Sept 9 is a warm up for FSU fans but Sept 16 will be showtime for college football fans around the country.
**Update** as of 9/7 the FSU vs ULM game has been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma