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59° Good Afternoon

Florida State can make a big statement

Florida State wide receiver Kenny Shaw runs after

Florida State wide receiver Kenny Shaw runs after a catch, as he is hit by Charleston defensive back Demaris Freeman (5), during game action at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. (Sept. 10, 2011) Photo Credit: MCT

No. 5 Florida State welcomes No. 1 Oklahoma to Tallahassee on Saturday night in a primetime showdown that the entire country will see on ABC.

Plus, ESPN's "College GameDay" will broadcast live on Saturday morning from Florida State. (Chris Fowler tweeted on Thursday afternoon that "College GameDay" hasn't been to Florida State since 2003)

It's a big game. In fact, it's the biggest game of a very solid schedule overall this weekend.

"You like to play in games where people are anxious to go watch them," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters after practice on Tuesday. "That's one of the reasons you coach, that's one of the reasons you play. We're looking forward to Saturday."

Some are calling this an elimination game in the race for a spot in the BCS national title game in New Orleans in January. I won't go that far because the past has proven that a one-loss team can recover and make the title game. This game is so early in the season that there is plenty of time for the loser to make up the necessary ground.

This game is more about Oklahoma establishing itself as the No. 1 team in the country and the favorite to make it to New Orleans.

For Florida State, a win puts the Seminoles in the early conversation for serious BCS title contenders. Most importantly, a win re-establishes Florida State as one of the country's elite programs.

Fisher led the Seminoles to 10 wins last season and a victory over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Fisher landed one of the nation's top recruiting classes in 2011 and is poised to do the same in 2012.

There is plenty of talent on this year's team, led by quarterback E.J. Manuel, who could end up being a darkhorse contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Oklahoma was 10th in the country last season when it crushed No. 17 Florida State 47-17 in Norman. Landry Jones completed 30 of 40 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.

Keys for Florida State: Put some pressure on Jones and make it tough for him to get into a rhythm. The Seminoles committed three turnovers in last year's loss. That can't happen this time. Manuel could have great success throwing deep on the Oklahoma secondary. The Seminoles should take some shots down the field.

Keys for Oklahoma: Force turnovers. Manuel has thrown two interceptions this season. Don't fall behind big early, which will give the Seminoles even more confidence to pull the upset. Keep the crowd out of the game. The atmosphere should be electric with Florida State hosting one of its biggest games in recent memory.


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