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Florida State vs North Carolina Betting Line - Prediction
North Carolina hosts their first ever Thursday Night ESPN home game as they take on Florida State and coach Bobby Bowden. Oddsmakers have installed the Tar Heels as -2.5 favorites with a Total of 47.
Both Florida State and North Carolina had high expectations coming into the year. Florida Stateís young talent had a year of experience under their belt, and UNC had slowly been on the improve since Coach Butch Davis took over the football program. Unfortunately for both teams things have not gone according to plan.
One word that sums up this Florida State team this year is inconsistent. They opened up with a tough loss to Miami in a game they had every opportunity to win. Even though they lost they showed signs of being a very good football team, and there was some excitement down in Tallahassee. Then they had to score twice in the last few minutes against Jacksonville State to avoid what would have been the most embarrassing loss in school history. Just when their fans started to lose faith Florida State went on the road and took it to #7 BYU dominating the Cougars 54-28.
Once again fans started to believe that they are a serious ACC contender, but they followed up that BYU victory with 3 straight losses to South Florida, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. It is very difficult to figure this Florida State team out. They have the talent to be a serious player in the ACC title race, but they just havenít been able to get the ball rolling. If they are going to salvage whatís left of this 2009 season, which very well could be their legendary coach Bobby Bowdenís last year, they have got to find their rhythm, and get a victory over North Carolina.
North Carolina has also been a very up and down team. They started the year off 3-0, but then followed that up with losses to Georgia Tech, and Virginia. Butch Davis has done a great job of turning this program around with recruiting nationally, but if he wants to continue to be able to get great talent into his program his UNC team has got to produce on the field.
At times FSU QB Christian Ponder can look like a Top 10 QB in the country, and at other times he can look like he is lost on the field. This Florida State team goes as Ponder goes, so when he is clicking this Seminole team looks like a legit Top 25 team, but when he struggles they look like a bottom level ACC team. He has got to get things going for them to win this ballgame.
Ponderís statistics have been solid through 6 games this season but his problem is finding the end zone. In his first 5 games he only had 4 TD passes, and these were games where he was averaging over 250 yards passing. As the QB it is his job to guide his team down the field and put the ball in the end zone. He can throw for 500 yards a game, but if he is unable to put points on the board it doesnít matter. You have to score TDís when you get into the red zone, and not settle for field goals.
The good news for Seminole fans is that Ponder had a great game against Georgia Tech. Ponder went 26-36 for 359 yards and 5 TD. That is the kind of production FSU needs if they are going to turn things around for the rest of the season. The bad news for Seminole fans is their team is going up against the #1 ranked defense in the ACC. This Tar Heel defense is giving up just 238 yards per game and allowing just 14 points per game. If this Tar Heel defense is able to have the same success itís had all year against this Florida State offense it will be a long day for QB Christian Ponder and this Seminole football team.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Florida State is #1 in the ACC in total offense putting up 426 yards per game, but they are 6th in the ACC in scoring offense putting up 29 points per game. That tells me exactly what has been the problem with this Florida State offense. They can put up the yards, but have problems putting the ball in the end zone. That cannot happen against North Carolina. This Tar Heel defense doesnít give you many opportunities to put points on the board, so when you get inside the red zone you have to score TDís and not settle for field goals.
If QB Christian Ponder can have the same success he did in his last game throwing TDís then this Florida State team will get the victory, but if he struggles inside the 20 yard line, and settles for FGís Butch Davis and his Tar Heels will get their first ACC victory of the year.
Plenty of motivation for the Tar Heels. First ever Thursday Night home game. The chance to knock off a team that they are 1-14 against, and who is down a notch. But unlike Florida State, North Carolina has yet to prove on the field that they can compete with a top program. When they have stepped up in class this year, they have been spanked. Their wins are against cream puffs plus Uconn, which they were damn lucky to win. Florida State on the other hand, has proven it can compete with, and beat, solid teams if they choose to show up.
Hard to recommend FSU in a serious way because you simply never know with this team. If they want this one, they can get it. So, we'll make a slight call here for Florida State +2.5, maybe even +3 by kickoff.
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