FSU vs. Georgia: 5 things to know about the Orange Bowl matchup
The Florida State Seminoles (13-0), shut out of the College Football Playoff, will represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl against the SEC runner-up Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 30. It will be a rare 4 p.m. start for a game usually played at night.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the Orange Bowl.
1. No one wants to be there
Florida State is (rightfully) livid that it was shut out of the playoff despite being undefeated and a champion in a Power 5 conference with arguably the best defensive line in the country. This is yet another gripe the Seminoles have in their dissolving relationship with the ACC. Meanwhile Georgia is the reigning 2-time playoff champion that failed in its bid for a 3-peat after a 27-24 loss in the SEC final. It’s going to be a major chore for coaches Mike Norvell and Kirby Smart to motivate their teams — and their respective fan bases — to care about this game.
2. Watch for the opt-outs
Both teams could have several opt-outs. Keep an eye on potential Florida State 1st-round talents Jared Verse and Keon Coleman for choosing not to play. Don’t be surprised if running back Trey Benson, wide receiver Johnny Wilson and defensive lineman Braden Fiske join them. Meanwhile, expect Georgia also to have a list of no-shows that could include tight end Brock Bowers, wide receiver Ladd McConkey, offensive lineman Amarius Mims and defensive backs Kamari Lassiter and Javon Bullard. Bulldogs running back Kendall Milton already said he’ll play in the game and some of the upperclassmen might join him, but even so they could be on low snap counts.
3. Eye on the future
There will be opportunities for both teams to get a head start on 2024. If Benson doesn’t play, then expect Lawrence Toafili and Rodney Hill to be in the backfield. Also you could see more snaps for the younger receivers like Destyn Hill and former 5-star prospect Hakeem Williams. On the defensive side of the ball, FSU fans have been waiting all season to see Miami transfer defensive lineman Darrell Jackson and he will be ready to roll for the bowl game.
4. Quarterback conundrum
Georgia is set at quarterback for at least another year with Carson Beck, who has established himself as the likely 2024 starter. But Florida State is in a strange position. Tate Rodemaker likely will start the Orange Bowl, but don’t be surprised if Brock Glenn gets a few series. Norvell needs to see both of these guys play a little more before he can decide how to manage the position in 2024 and whether the Seminoles will need to go shopping in the transfer portal.
5. Recruiting battles
While assuming there will be some opt-outs and general malaise about the game for now, expect that to change shortly as the Bulldogs and Seminoles are involved in a lot of recruiting battles for top prospects in the 2025 and 2026 classes. Currently Georgia has the top-ranked recruiting class for 2024, according to 247Sports, and Florida State has the No. 3-ranked recruiting class. We could be in store for many Norvell-vs.-Smart recruiting battles in the future and don’t think that both coaches won’t want to use a win in this game to send a message to future prospective Seminoles and Bulldogs.