The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles are set to do battle with the No. 22 Clemson Tigers on Saturday, September 20th in a crucial ACC Atlantic Division showdown. The Seminoles have won the last two meetings, including a 51-14 road victory last year.
Kickoff at Doak Campbell Stadium is scheduled for 8:00 EST Saturday night with ABC providing the television coverage. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas give the home team a big edge, installing Florida State as a 19.5-point favorite over Clemson.
Florida State (2-0) has looked a little more vulnerable this year after winning the BCS Championship last season. It escaped with a 37-31 victory over Oklahoma State as an 18.5-point favorite in its opener. Then it was a little sluggish in a 37-12 win over The Citadel as a 56.5-point favorite last time out.
Clemson (1-1) played a tough game against Georgia for a half. It then got away from the Tigers after intermission as they lost 21-45 as a 9.5-point underdog. They took out their frustration on South Carolina State last time out, winning 73-7 as a 34-point favorite.
My Early Lean: Florida State -19.5
I believe this line would have been bigger had Florida State looked better in its first two games. The fact of the matter is that it has not looked good, and it obviously has suffered a bit of a championship hangover. However, a game against their top rivals in the Atlantic Division should have the Seminoles’ full attention this weekend. I look for them to put their best foot forward in this one.
Florida State should be as good if not better than it was last year on paper. It returned 13 starters, including Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. This team won all 13 games prior to the BCS Championship by 14 points or more, and it outscored opponents by an average of nearly 40 points per game on the season. I don[‘t think this is a worse team, and I believe that there is value in backing them here in a game that could decide the Atlantic Division.
The Seminoles did outgain the Cowboys 476-364 in the opener, so the game wasn’t as close as the final would appear as the Cowboys scored late to get within six points. Last time out, Florida State led 34-0 over The Citadel with just over 10 minutes to play int he game. It had pretty much packed it in at that point as the opposition scored two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to make that final appear closer as well.
In Clemson’s only real test this season, it failed miserably in a 21-45 loss at Georgia. It was outgained 291-459 for the game as the defense allowed 328 rushing yards and 8.0 per carry. Quarterback Cole Stoudt went 16 of 29 passing for 144 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The Tigers had to replace all of their top skill players this offseason, and this new group isn’t good enough to keep this game competitive against Winston and company.
In Clemson’s only real test this season, it failed miserably in a 21-45 loss at Georgia. It was outgained 291-459 for the game as the defense allowed 328 rushing yards and 8.0 per carry. Quarterback Cole Stoudt went 16 of 29 passing for 144 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
Florida State is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 games as a home favorite of 17.5 to 21 points. The Seminoles are 35-18 ATS in their last 53 games following two or more consecutive ATS losses. The Seminoles are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games. Florida State is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games overall. The home team is 12-4 ATS in the last 16 meetings in this series.