Dennis Dodd: ‘Notre Dame Can’t Match Florida State Offensively’

If you’re a college football fan, clear your schedule – because this Saturday night is going to be a treat. No. 2 Florida State (6-0, 4-0) hosts No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0) in a game that will have enormous postseason implications, as the winner will have an inside path to the four-team playoff.

Scott Ferrall believes that Florida State will win. So does Dennis Dodd.

“Yeah, I think they will,” the CBSSports.com senior college football columnist said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I talked to some of the (Florida State) players about that today – about how amazing (it is) that not only is Jameis (Winston playing well), but the players around him (are also locked in and playing well). I mean, they won by 18 last week at Syracuse, and they dropped in the polls. Jimbo Fisher was asked this week if he thought that wasn’t punishment by the voters.”

That punishment, of course, refers to Winston, who has been a walking soap opera since arriving in Tallahassee. In addition to several run-ins with the law, he was suspended for a home game against Clemson last month for shouting a vulgar phrase in the student union. The Seminoles survived, 23-17, in overtime.

“(The Florida State players) hear about it,” Dodd said. “And the Notre Dame players were pretty laudatory. They said, ‘Yeah, with everything going on down there, that is a pretty good accomplishment (to be undefeated).’ But (the Seminoles) are better. FSU is better and should win the game. I think (FSU) should win the game handily – and after that, if that happens, they’ve got a cake walk to the playoffs, it would seem.”

Indeed, Florida State’s remaining opponents include Louisville, Virginia, Miami, Boston College and Florida.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has won nail-biters each of the last two weeks – 17-14 against Stanford, 50-43 against North Carolina – with both wins coming at home. If you’re looking to make a case for the Irish this Saturday, it starts and ends with Everett Golson, who has emerged as one of the top players in the country.

Interestingly enough, both he and Winston are 18-0 in the regular season.

“When I see this game, I see Florida State with superior athletes and speed, and I think it’s going to show up,” Dodd said. “I don’t think Notre Dame has that offensively. I know they don’t have it defensively because they’re so young, although they hadn’t given up more than 17 points before (last) Saturday (against UNC).

“I just think it’s a mismatch for now,” Dodd continued. “This isn’t a classic Notre Dame team. I think it’s a well-coached team. I think that’s how they got to 12-0 in 2012.”

Speaking of coaching, what should we make of Brian Kelly at this point? Do his players like him? It seems like he yells at them an awful lot.

“I know people kind of zero in on that, but I think a lot of coaches do,” Dodd said. “Notre Dame has its own network, so you’re going to see a lot of that. He’s a ball coach. His name came up with the NFL a couple times. He’s almost, the way he goes about things, suited better to the NFL, to me. Now, I’m not saying he’s done a bad job here. He may be wildly successful. But he almost seems like he carries himself like an NFL coach.”

He may carry himself like an NFL coach, but on Saturday, he’ll settle for a college win. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET.

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