The No. 3 Clemson Tigers host the No. 17 Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, November 7 in the game of the year in the ACC conference. The Seminoles have had the Tigers’ number in winning three straight meetings, including a 23-17 (OT) home win last year.
But Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC) wants some revenge this season and is looking like it may be a worthy playoff team. The Tigers avoided a letdown last week in a 56-41 road win over NC State as 13.5-point favorites. Deshaun Watson threw five touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the way.
Florida State (7-1, 5-1 ACC) was able to bounce back from its last-second loss to Georgia Tech even without the services of Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook last week. The Seminoles beat Syracuse 45-21 at home behind a big game from backup Sean Maguire, who threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns.
Kickoff inside Memorial Stadium is set for 3:30 EST Saturday afternoon with ABC providing the television coverage. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have installed Clemson as a 12.5-point favorite over Florida State with a total set of 56 points.
My Early Lean: Florida State +12.5
At 8-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country, the Clemson Tigers have earned the faith of the betting public. They have gone 5-2-1 ATS through those eight games, and if you bet on them early in the week, then you would be 7-1 if you bet them as their lines just keep moving throughout the week. That’s because the betting public has really gravitated toward this team with the way they are playing right now. As a result, I believe Clemson is simply laying too many points this week against Florida State.
Clemson has played a pretty soft schedule up to this point with its lone signature win coming at home against Notre Dame by a final of 24-22 as 3-point favorites in the slop. The Tigers were actually outgained by 141 yards by the Fighting Irish and were fortunate to win that game. I’m just not sold that this team is a national title contender at this point in the season due to the softness of the schedule.
Florida State would be 8-0 as well if not for a blocked field goal on the game’s final play that was returned for a touchdown at Georgia Tech. It was the first regular season loss for the Seminoles in three years and only their second loss overall in the past three seasons combined. But somehow, this team just doesn’t get much credit for what it has done. This will certainly be the first time in the past three years that the Seminoles have been double-digit dogs, and if you were ever going to back them, this would be the time.
I love the resiliency the Seminoles showed last week in bouncing back from that loss to Georgia Tech with a 45-21 home win over Syracuse. They dominated that game, outgaining the Orange 575-303. They did so without two of their studs in Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook, who were both out with injury.
While both Golson and Cook are questionable to return this week, I don’t think it’s going to matter. Sean Maguire is a veteran quarterback who can handle the load, and he proved it last week with 348 passing yards and three touchdowns without an interception against Syracuse. Jacques Patrick filled in nicely for Cook, rushing for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. The Seminoles are a deep, talented team who can use the ‘next man up’ mentality because of their depth.
Last year, Maguire saved Florida State’s season against Clemson. He played the entire game in place of an injured Jameis Winston and led the Seminoles to a 23-17 (OT) victory. Maguire threw for 304 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the win. And that was against a much better Clemson defense than the one the Seminoles will be up against Saturday. The Tigers allowed 41 points to NC State last week and aren’t as good on that side of the ball as they are getting credit for with just three starters back from last year.
The Seminoles are 3-0 in their last three meetings with the Tigers. In their only trip to Clemson during this stretch, they won 51-14 as 5-point favorites in 2013. They outgained the Tigers 565-326 for the game. They have only lost to Clemson by double-digits once in the last nine meetings in this series.
The Seminoles are 3-0 in their last three meetings with the Tigers. In their only trip to Clemson during this stretch, they won 51-14 as 5-point favorites in 2013. They outgained the Tigers 565-326 for the game. They have only lost to Clemson by double-digits once in the last nine meetings in this series. I believe they can stay within double-digits of the Tigers this weekend as well.