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If you're a fan of ACC football, this is the game you've been waiting for. Everyone figured these teams would be undefeated going into this matchup and there's been no disappointment with the schools a combined 11-0. This game will not only likely decide the Atlantic Division winner in conference play, but also who has a chance to play in the National Championship game as both are in the top five in AP polls. Surprisingly, Clemson is ranked higher and playing at home, but are actually +3 point underdogs at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Florida State has looked great this year, even better than they were a year ago when they finished 12-2 and beat Clemson. In their last game, the Seminoles took out then-ranked No. 25 Maryland, 63-0. That score line says it all. Freshman QB Jameis Winston was highly rated coming in, but he might be even better than advertised. He's completing 73.2 percent of his passes for 1,441 yards, 17 TDs and only two INTs in five games. Winston is also a mobile guy as seen in his 135 rushing yards. Receivers Kenny Shaw (466 yards) and Rashad Greene (407 yards) can play with the best of them and the running game is solid, as well. Devonta Freeman leads a three-headed rushing attack with 385 yards and three TDs. The Seminoles actually run more than pass, which you wouldn't expect with how good Winston has been.
Their two lowest scoring outings came on the road against Pittsburgh and Boston College. However, that doesn't come as a huge surprise as those were the two best teams FSU has faced. In the BC game, the Seminoles needed a Hail Mary and pick six to win 48-34.
The Tigers just beat Boston College at home 24-14, but their signature win of the season came back in the first week against Georgia. That win proved to the country that Clemson is a viable threat to the BCS title game.
Led by senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, this offense is once again, one of the best. The major thing with Boyd this year is that his interception total is down with only two picks through six games. If he can keep that going, it will help in these bigger games. As expected, Sammy Watkins is his go-to guy with already five games with at least 96 yards. However, it's big games like this one where someone else needs to step up like Adam Humphries (319 yards) or Martavis Bryant (316 yards). Clemson's run game is so-so led by Roderick McDowell who has 385 yards, but no TDs. Boyd is the second best rusher on the team with 187 yards and leads with five rushing TDs.
On the other side of the ball, this might be the best defense Clemson has sported in recent years. The only team to go for more than 14 points against them so far is Georgia. Now with Florida State on the slate, this is where the real test comes in.
In last year's matchup, EJ Manuel did whatever he wanted en route to a 49-37 home win as the Seminoles tallied 670 total offensive yards. The running game was the real difference maker for FSU as they ran for 290 yards. That helped keep the ball out of Boyd's hands in the second half when the Tigers jumped to an early 28-14 lead in the third quarter.
Florida State is coming off a bye week, but it's not like Clemson didn't circle this game on their schedule a long time ago. The Tigers will be ready, especially at home.
The home team is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 meetings, while Florida State has not covered in eight straight games played at Clemson. The Tigers have also covered the last four games overall as they were 14.5- point underdogs last year. The Seminoles are 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games and the Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five against a team with a winning record.
It's always interested to see which way the public is going with matchups like this. In this case, they are on the home dog Clemson to the tune of 73% as of Tuesday morning, using the betting trends at sportsbook.com
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