Week 8 Preview: (2) Florida State vs. (5) Notre Dame

The reigning national champions Florida State Seminoles, who recently dropped to No. 2 in the college football rankings after seven weeks at No. 1, will be hosting No. 5 Notre Dame in Tallahassee this Saturday. The matchup to watch out for is between the reigning Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston and Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson.

So far this season, it appears Winston will not be repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner, but Golson has made a name for himself after making an incredible comeback following a one-year suspension for academic violations. Both teams are coming into this game undefeated, and each is seeking to prove themselves for their own reasons.

Florida State’s strength has recently come into question, with narrow victory margins, low scoring games, and essentially no noteworthy wins. The Seminoles have been under fire for having what many see as an unchallenging schedule, and this year’s team seems to be very different from the one that traveled to Pasadena in January. After Notre Dame’s staggering 2013 National Championship loss to Alabama, they too are working to prove themselves in the AP poll, which is overwhelmingly dominated by the South Eastern Conference.

Both teams have also suffered losses, which could severely affect their performance this weekend and well beyond. The story of Georgia’s star running back Todd Gurley, who is being accused of accepting money for signing a significant amount of autographs, is still developing. Furthermore, Winston has also been accused of being involved with the same autograph authenticator. As of now, no definitive decision has been made nor has a suspension been enacted for Winston, but the accusation could present serious problems for the Heisman winner who has already experienced both legal and academic turmoil at Florida State.

KeiVarae Russell, a junior cornerback at Notre Dame who was a vital starter for the Fighting Irish during his first two years, was recently suspended for the entire season as a result of academic misconduct. Four other players on the team are also currently suspended for the same reason, and most recently linebacker Kendall Moore has announced he will be leaving Notre Dame as a result of the pending investigation. Additionally, safety Austin Collinsworth is expected to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks due to a shoulder injury.

An upset could catapult Notre Dame into the top three rankings of the college football polls, and would also earn them the recognition they have been seeking. Additionally, it would be a huge step in securing a top seed in the new college football playoff system, which will be implemented for the first time at the end of the regular season. A victory for the Seminoles would likely secure their number two spot, or might even give them the chance to earn back the leading position with Mississippi State currently on their bye week.

It should be a competitive game between two of the top programs in the country. This Top-5 matchup will be broadcasted this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

*Section Photo credit and Featured Photo (above) credit to Al Messerschmidt,Getty Images

Week 8 Pick ‘Em
Week 8 Pick ‘Em