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Florida State

vs.

Wake Forest

College Football

Free Pick

9/30/17

This game presents an interesting contrast as Florida State enters winless and unranked for the first time since 2011, while Wake Forest is the one that’s undefeated. Still, the Seminoles are touchdown-plus favorites at -7.5 as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

The line last week for Florida State was too big and we’ll try and see if it’s the same case in this game. In last year’s meeting, it was an ugly game from the start and while FSU won 17-6, they failed to cover by a large margin. Now on the road with a less explosive offense, it’ll take a lot for the ‘Noles to cover the seven points.

For starters, Deondre Francois, Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph were the entire offense for Florida State last year. With all of those guys gone or hurt, FSU has to lean on a freshman quarterback that had some issues in his first start and that was at home. Now on the road against a good Wake Forest defense, James Blackman is expected to struggle again. The question is if they’ll be able to run any better after Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick failed to get anything going once again as FSU averaged just 4.0 yards per carry against NC State. If they can’t run the ball, that’s going to put even more pressure on Blackman, who went 22-of-38 in the loss to the Wolfpack.

But while the Demon Deacons are undefeated, it’s still hard to get a good read on them considering they don’t have any outstanding wins. That said, road wins at Boston College and App. State deserve some respect. Wake’s defense might not be at the same level as last year, but that may not matter against the non-elite offense of Florida State. Even without considering the Wake offense, how many people want to back Blackman as a road favorite right now?

The Deacons have shown a bit more offensively than a year ago, but this still isn’t a group that’s going to takeover the ACC. Quarterback John Wolford has appeared to finally improve in his senior season, already with eight touchdowns and no picks. In his first three years, Wolford never surpassed 12 TDs and had at last 10 INTs every year. To go with his dual-threat ability (leads team in rushing), that has turned this offense into one that can actually score. It was only a year ago that Wake scored just seven points in their opener against Tulane.

But to pull off the upset, the Deacons will need more of a ground game through Arkeem Byrd, Matt Colburn and Cade Carney. They averaged just 2.1 yards per carry (sacks included) in last year’s loss and that led to six points against this defense. 

A lot of people will simply take FSU because of name alone, but looking closer to this matchup shows that the Demon Deacons aren’t far behind. If they can ride the home crowd, there’s no reason this game can’t be close, especially with Blackman under center, who didn’t show much in his only start. Wake Forest +7

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