Virginia Cavaliers (4-5 SU, 5-3-1 ATS) vs. Florida State Seminoles (8-0 SU, 2-6 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 6:30PM EST
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
by Scott, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: VIRG +19.5/FSU -19.5
Over/Under Total: 55.5
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In an ACC match-up, the Virginia Cavaliers come to Tallahassee to face the 2nd-ranked Florida State Seminoles. At 4-5, Virginia is in the role of spoiler, while also looking to get into a bowl game. For the Seminoles, the goal is clear–win out and get into the 4-team playoff at the end of the season, They cannot afford to overlook this Virginia team.
On Saturday, Florida State beat Louisville 42-31 in a game where they were behind 21-0, before storming back with 35 second-half points. Jameis Winston threw for over 400 yards and the offense looked explosive in the second-half of the game. Winston could be seen limping around the field for much of the second-half, but word is that he just tweaked his ankle and should be good to go on Saturday. Six ball-catchers had at least 40 yards in receiving. RB Karlos Williams was productive and they got a big showing from freshman back Dalvin Cook, who is really developing into a major piece of weaponry.
Virginia has been disappointing in how they fell flat as they got into the meat of their conference schedule. They lost their season opener by only 8 to 7th-ranked UCLA, before beating 21st-ranked Louisville in their third game. They lost to then-ranked BYU by 8, before scoring a win over Kent State and an impressive win against Pitt. But in 3 consecutive losses to Duke, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech, some of the shine came off. Theyve lost all three of their road games this season and it doesnt get any easier here against a Seminoles team that may be energized by now being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Virginia defense has actually been pretty stout. But though they have played three ranked teams this year so far, they havent faced a balanced offense with the explosive potential of FSU. And with their personnel, they will have match-up issues across the board. Look for the Seminoles TE Nick OLeary to have some success, along with burner WR Rashad Greene, who was subdued against Louisville, as Winston made use of his other weapons.
Sophomore Cavs quarterback Greyson Lambert is coming around. He can move this offense and is coming around after missing 3 games, but with multi-interception games in 4 of his 6 games, this offense has been its own worst enemy at times. RB Kevin Parks is a dependable force with over 600 yards rushing. And receivers Darius Jennings and Canaan Severin, and Miles Gooch, all within 50 yards of each other, make up a decent pass-catching crew. Problem is that Gooch will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury last week. But the offense is mid-pack, at best. They will be depending a lot on their defense in this game.
With Virginia winless on the road this season, you wonder how well they can be expected to do in this difficult spot. The spread of nearly 20 points is big, but will look a lot smaller if the Cavaliers cant put up any points. After putting up 13 points at Duke and 10 at Georgia Tech, what can be expected in this game? The defense is good, but against the FSU offense, the offense will need to do a lot of the heavy lifting in this game, as well.
Virginia has landed in this unenviable spot with a resounding thud. Coach Mike London, roundly praised a month ago, again finds himself on the hot-seat. But lets not get too down on a team that has, in fact, shown measurable improvement. The loss to UNC was disconcerting, but Duke and Georgia Tech are ranked and asking a team that is trying to simply rise from the ashes to beat multiple ranked teams is asking for a bit much.
Some guys will be working their way back into the Florida State fold and that could result in a spike in form–and just at the right time as the season gets into its final stages. At linebacker, Terrance Smith, Jacob Pugh, and EJ Levenberry are getting back into the mix. RB Mario Pender may be available.
The Cavaliers havent been forcing any turnovers in recent weeks and their ground-game has been stuck in the mud. They simply have no momentum heading into this game. At the same time, no one is expecting them to win. And if they did so, it would stamp some legitimacy to a season that has gotten a bit sideways. They may be able to have a certain looseness that could lead to a closer game than some think.
Florida State is getting some players back and should be entering a different realm of urgency, as the end is getting close. But as their 2-6 record against-the-spread suggests, they dont always get up for outmanned opponents. The Noles should win without much trouble, but I look for a Cavaliers team to hang in there and cover the spread.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Virginia Cavaliers plus 19.5 points.