No. 17 Florida State Seminoles (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. No. 3 Clemson Tigers (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 7th, 3:30PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium Clemson, S.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FSU +12/CLEM -12
Over/Under Total: 55.5
The opportunity to play for the ACC Championship will be up for grabs this Saturday when the no. 17 Florida State Seminoles go into Death Valley for a date with destiny against the no. 3 Clemson Tigers. While this game will officially decide the control of the ACC Atlantic Division, most audiences would concede the fact that this game will most likely determine the eventual winner of the ACC Championship. Of course North Carolina fans may dispute that argument but either way the battle to represent the Atlantic Division will be decided in Death Valley this Saturday afternoon.
Just this past week, Clemson was revealed as the number 1 ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Tigers have been very impressive throughout the year and their offense actually appears to be getting better each week. Last week, Clemsons offense scored at will against North Carolina State in a 56-41 shootout. The Tigers offense made things look effortless by racking up 623 yards of total offense. Quarterback Deshaun Watson continued his excellent play by completing 23 of 30 passing for 383 yards and 5 touchdowns. Watson also added 54 yards on the ground with 1 additional touchdown marking the 3rd straight game the sophomore quarterback has found the endzone with his feet.
Offensively, Clemson has been brilliant. They are simply winning the 1 on 1 matchups with pure talent and Watson is obviously one of the best players in the country. For Saturdays matchup with Florida State, it will be interesting to see how Clemson matches up against a tough Seminoles defense that is yielding just 323 yards per game. Florida State actually has the talent to contend in the 1 on 1 matchups where Clemson has excelled throughout the season. However I believe Florida States biggest challenge will be finding a way to get Watson into uncomfortable situations. Surely Coach Jimbo Fisher is going to try to find a way to disguise coverages and get pressure on Watson. The question is how well will it work?
The Tigers have been averaging nearly 500 yards of total offense this season as one of the best units in the country. The Clemson offense fuels off the play of Watson who has the ability to make plays running the football and then throw pinpoint passes down the field. Therefore, Florida State has to find a way to rattle his confidence and keep the pressure on throughout all 4 quarters. If the Seminoles can conquer that simple task, then they should be able to contend for the victory.
The problem is with the way Watson has been playing that seems nearly impossible which is probably the reason the Tigers are listed as rather large 12 favorites. Another reason is that Clemson has won 5 of the last 6 against the Seminoles inside Death Valley. Of course you could add more reasons to that list as well. Florida States offense is pretty banged up. Running back Dalvin Cook, who has already eclipsed 1,000 yards, sat out last week in the victory against Syracuse with an ankle injury. To make matters worse, quarterback Everett Golson also missed last weeks contest after suffering a concussion previously.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has refused to name Golson the starter this week but I expect both Golson and Cook to start this Saturday. The question how well with both stars play in their return at possibly less than 100%? Of course Florida State has plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball but they will be going up against a truly tough Clemson defense. The Seminoles need a big effort on the offensive side of the ball and they are going to need WR Travis Rudolph to be a factor as well. Therefore, a lot of question marks linger if Florida States offensive talents will be at full song this Saturday which could have huge implications on how this game unfolds.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this line is just too high for a rivalry game with ACC Championship implications on the line. The Seminoles walked into Death Valley and obliterated Clemson in a similar 2013 meeting. While that will not be the case this weekend, I still be the Seminoles are the play as they take Clemson down to the wire. Take Florida State +12
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