Louisville Cardinals (4-3 SU, 1-6 ATS) vs. Florida State Seminoles (2-3 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday October 21st, 2017. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium Tallahassee, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LOU +5.5/FSU -5.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
An unlikely battle of unranked teams will take place this Saturday when the Louisville Cardinals travel into Tallahassee for a date with the Florida State Seminoles. Before the year began, many had this game circled as the potential game to decide the fate of the ACC Championship. Instead, the Seminoles lost the opener to Alabama, lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois, and have struggled with backup freshman James Blackman to an ugly 2-3 SU start. Meanwhile, the Cardinals suffered their 3rd loss of the season this past Saturday with an upset from Boston College. Therefore instead of ACC Championship implications being on the line this Saturday, this game now simply stands as an opportunity for either school to turn their season around to salvage some type of positivity.
Perhaps of all the struggles, the Seminoles deficiencies are the most explainable. Any time a team loses their starting quarterback and has to turn towards a freshman, it does not bode well especially following the 1st game of the season. To Florida States credit, they have also lost to some really good football teams. Alabama is the undisputed best team in college football, NC State has won 6 straight since their lone loss to South Carolina and sit atop the ACC Atlantic, and Miami is also still undefeated.
Obviously the offense has taken a hit as Blackman tries to garnish some experience. On the season, Blackman has hit 63% passing for 799 yards with 5 scores and 4 picks. Running back Cam Akers has been solid but he has not lived up to the expectations as the guy to fill Dalvin Cooks shoes. Perhaps the biggest bright spot on the offense has been WR Auden Tate who caught his 5th touchdown pass of the season last week in the 17-10 win against Duke. I personally believe Tate has the potential to be a really big threat in the Seminoles offense but that theory also rides on the arm of the freshman quarterback.
The good news for Florida State is that the defense has still played very well despite the offensive troubles. The Noles captured victories in 2 of their last 3 games with wins over Wake Forest and Duke. In those two games, the Seminoles defense relinquished just 29 points combined despite turning the ball over 4 times during that stretch. Perhaps last weeks performance against Duke was the best showing of the season for the defense considering the Blue Devils ability to air the ball out this season. Even if you go to the loss against Miami, this Seminoles defense played extremely well and that is why despite the offensive concerns, they will have a chance to compete in every game they play for the remainder of the year.
The Seminoles defense will need to play well this week against Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Despite Louisvilles own struggles this year, the offense has produced scoring point totals of 42, 55, 25, and 42 in their last 4 games. Jackson has already accounted for 26 touchdowns through his first 7 games. The majority of those touchdowns have come through the air but Jackson has also added 690 yards with 10 scores on the ground. Without any doubt, he is still one of the best if not the best overall offensive player in the country. However, the problem has not resided on the offensive side of the football.
Instead it has been the Cardinals horrific defense that has caused the disappointing 4-3 SU start. In the 3 losses to Clemson, NC State, and last week to Boston College, the Cardinals have relinquished point totals of 47, 39, and 45. In last weeks loss to Boston College, the Eagles ran wild behind the legs of AJ Dillon who racked up 272 yards with 4 touchdowns. As a team, the Cardinals gave up 364 yards on the ground alone and nearly 600 yards of total offense. All of these numbers come from one of the worst offenses in the ACC. Needless to say, Louisville has major defensive concerns that will carry into this week against Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher who has always put a heavy emphasis on running the football.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a tough matchup. Florida States defense is good but Lamar Jackson is great. The Seminoles rushing offense is solid but the Cardinals rushing defense is horrific. I will be interested to see the total once released because I feel like there will be a lot of scoring. For now, consider a play on the Seminoles -5.5! Move the line on this game up to 20 points by inserting it into a 20 point football teaser at the web’s best sportsbook: 5dimes!