No. 20 Duke Blue Devils (10-2 SU, 10-2 ATS) vs. No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (12-0 SU, 10-2 ATS)
College Football Week 15 ACC Championship Game
Date and Time: Saturday December 7th, 2013. 8:00PM Eastern
Where: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Duke +29.5/FSU -29.5
Over/Under Total: 61.5
The Florida State Seminoles topped both the AP and BCS
polls this week with the help of Alabama’s loss in the Iron Bowl. Coach
Jimbo Fisher now has the chance to bring the Seminoles back to the National
Championship stage for the first time since the glory years of the Bobby
Bowden era. In order to do so, Florida State needs to avoid a major upset
when they meet the no. 20 Duke Blue Devils this Saturday
inside Bank of America Stadium in the ACC Championship Game.
At first glance, this match-up appears bound for the hardwood rather than the gridiron. However the Blue Devils have become a major factor on the football field in recent years under coach David Cutcliffe and they will make their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Duke, at 10-2 SU, captured 10 wins for the first time in school history and appeared in the Top 25 rankings for the first time in over two decades.
However Duke faces a David vs. Goliath type of challenge this week when they enter Charlotte as enormous 29.5 point underdogs. The lopsided point differential is more of a credit to Florida State’s outstanding football team rather than an insult to Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils. After all, the Seminoles have only had one game this season decided by less than 28 points. Florida State shutout 25th ranked Maryland 63-0, the destroyed 3rd ranked Clemson 51-14, and two weeks later polished off another 41-14 victory over 7th ranked Miami. Last week the Seminoles took Florida’s best shot in Gainesville but still overpowered the Gators to a 37-7 victory. While the 37 points was the lowest point total for the Seminoles this season, it was yet another blowout over a solid opponent and in a rivalry game nevertheless.
The Seminoles defense was primed for greatness from the start of the season with 5 star talent all over the field. However quarterback Jameis Winston is the piece of the puzzle that has made the team complete. Winston has tossed 35 touchdowns with just 8 picks while completing just less than 70% of his attempts. Winston appears to be a front runner for the Heisman Trophy but the Seminoles are much more than a one man offense. Tailbacks Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams, and James Wilder Jr have combined for 30 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 rushing yards this season. As a result, the Seminoles offense is nearly unstoppable with a fine balance of rushing and passing behind the arm of Winston.
The question going into this Saturday is not really if Florida State can win but by how much? The Blue Devils have rattled off 8 straight wins to punch their ticket to Charlotte but they will be going up a different kind of monster this week. The Blue Devils have put up decent defensive numbers holding opponents to just 23 points per game which ranks 37th in the FBS. However this same defense gave up 58 points to Pittsburgh, 38 points to Georgia Tech, and another 30 spot to Miami. Therefore I am not convinced the Blue Devils defense can slow down the Seminoles offense.
Additionally Duke ranks outside the top 40 in scoring, passing, and rushing yards. While the numbers do not appear impressive, the Blue Devils have found ways to win nevertheless. For Duke to stay in contention this week, they will obviously need a huge effort on both sides of the ball. The offense will need quarterback Anthony Boone to have a great game and get the ball into the hands of wide receiver Jamison Crowder who is 3rd in the ACC in receiving with 1,131 yards and 7 scores. If the offense can move the ball, perhaps just perhaps they can keep things relatively close.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Forget about it. This game is a mismatch in every aspect of the field. Don’t be afraid to lay the points. Take Florida State -29.5!
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