No. 10 Clemson Tigers (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday September 22nd, 2012. 8:00PM Eastern
Where:Doak Campbell Stadium Tallahassee, F.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Clem +13/FSU -13
Over/Under Total: 55.5
The ACC Championship Game is typically held in early December between winners
of the ACC Atlantic and Coastal Divisions. However, I hereby declare the
2012 ACC Championship Game will take place this Saturday night when the
no. 4 Florida State Seminoles host the no. 10 Clemson
Tigers inside Doak Campbell Stadium. All joking aside, this Saturday
night’s contest between the Tigers and Seminoles will have a huge impact
on this year’s ACC Title race. The winner will put their selves in the driver
seat in the ACC Atlantic Division and I am convinced that no other team
in the ACC Coastal can contend with either Florida State or Clemson.
Clemson, the defending conference champions, has held the upper hand over the Seminoles over the last several years. In fact, the Tigers have won 5 of the last 7 over Florida State. Fortunately for Florida State, both of those two wins have been captured in Tallahassee and this year’s meeting could have more importance than any other prior. Not only does Florida State appear to be the front runner in the ACC, but they have put their selves in the midst of the National Championship talk after an impressive start in 2012. Last week the Seminoles destroyed Wake Forest in a 52-0 debacle. It was the Seminoles 2nd straight shutout and they are the only team in college football that has still not given up a single touchdown this season.
Florida State’s defense currently ranks 1st in 3 different major categories such as total defense (103ypg), rushing defense (33ypg), and scoring defense (1ppg). Just look at that final statistic, just 1 point given up per game. That is simply remarkable. Still, the Seminoles defense will face their biggest challenge of possibly the entire season this week against Clemson. The Tigers quick paced offense typically gives opposing defenses trouble just in the quickness from play to play. Additionally, Clemson is armed with some extremely talented players at the skill positions who are able to break open big plays at any given moment.
All American wide receiver Sammy Watkins is the best of the group. After serving a two game suspension to start the year, Watkins returned to the lineup last week catching 4 passes for 52 yards and carrying the ball once for a 58 yard score on the ground in the Tigers 41-7 win over Furman. Watkins has the type of talent that can alternate defensive game plans and you can expect Florida State’s defense to give him plenty of attention this Saturday night. QB Tahj Boyd has also been impressive this season completing 73% passing for 747 yards with 6 scores and just 1 pick through 3 games. Boyd had a similar strong start in 2011 before faltering during the 2nd half of the season. Boyd struggled a bit at the end of last year when he was pressured by opposing defenses. Since Florida State puts as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks than anyone, it will be interesting to see if Boyd can keep his composure through 4 quarters of play.
Overall Clemson’s passing attack is the homerun threat to their offense. The Tigers have averaged over 500 yards per game this season and they can rack up a lot of yards in a hurry. Running back Andre Ellington is a guy that does not get the respect deserved but he just may be the best back in the entire conference. Ellington has rushed for 328 yards while averaging 6.2 yards per carry to go along with 4 touchdowns thus far. I am interested to see how much success Ellington will have carrying the football against an extremely talented Florida State defensive front. Ellington has the talent to make the plays but I am not quite convinced Clemson’s offensive line can create enough room to run. Only time will tell.
On the other side of the football, Florida State has posted an electric 58 points per game this season which is 2nd in all of college football. QB E.J Manuel has played well completing 71.2% passing for 525 yards with 6 scores and just 1 pick. Manuel is a guy that can keep plays alive and his size makes it extremely difficult for defenders to bring him down behind the line of scrimmage. Clemson’s defense must bring Manuel down at initial contact or they could be subject to being on the wrong end of some big plays.
Clemson’s defense will also face the lofty challenge of stopping the Seminoles rushing attack. Florida State ran wild last week against Wake Forest racking up 385 yards. Running back Chris Thompson carried the ball just 9 times but posted 197 yards and two touchdowns. Thompson ran two touchdowns for 80 and 74 yards despite sitting for nearly the entire 2nd half. Running back James Wilder Jr added 16 carries for 94 yards in the victory against Wake Forest and it safe to say that the Seminoles rushing attack is rather explosive. Clemson’s rush defense has been exploited at times this season and the numbers tell the story. The Tigers have allowed 180 yards per game on the ground and that has been against some mediocre competition. If the Tigers have similar troubles stopping the run again this Saturday, it will be a long night for that Clemson defense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think everyone will see just how good this Seminoles team is this week when they handle Clemson with little difficulty. Take Florida State in a convincing win!
Additional College Football Betting Previews