Well, this is it. Can Florida State finish undefeated in the ACC again? The Seminoles seem to escape almost every week and now have one more test before reaching the College Football Playoff. Georgia Tech hasn’t been given a ton of credit, but is coming off two huge wins. The Seminoles are just -3.5 point favorites at 5 Dimes (opened at -5.5) for the ACC title Game being played at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.
FSU is now 3-10 ATS in 2014 (including last season’s bowl Game), a disappointing number considering they were an incredible 12-2 in 2013. They have yet to face an elite team this season, even though it seemed like Notre Dame was a good squad when the two played back in October. The Seminoles have closed the season with some iffy wins, barely beating the likes of Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida.
As for Georgia Tech, they are riding a bit of a high. The Yellow Jackets are coming off an overtime win over Georgia, and they dominated Clemson 28-6 in their previous Game. Despite a couple losses in the middle of their season against Duke and North Carolina, this team has turned their fate around and played good football on both sides.
This Game will be close, it’s hard to see it any other way. Florida State has not blown out teams this season and if Georgia Tech gets a lead, you know Jameis Winston is going to make a Game of it. These teams played two years ago with FSU coming away with a 21-15 win.
Everyone knows that Georgia Tech is a run-heavy team, rushing for 334 yards per Game, but it’s not that simple to figure out. Their triple option has destroyed every opponent this season, including going for a ridiculous 399 yards against Georgia last weekend. The thing about this Florida State defense is that they can be beat, that’s why a lot of their Games have been close.
Quarterback Justin Thomas runs the show, and surprisingly the only time he’s really had to pass a lot was against Georgia Southern back in September (24 pass attempts, six more than next highest Game). When he does pass, he’s usually fairly safe with his throws, which is what this offense needs, granted a lot of his passes are screens. The running Game is led by Zach Laskey and Synjyn Davis, who are both averaging more than five yards per carry. If the Jackets can get that going, that means less time on the field for Winston.
As for Winston, this isn’t the same type of explosive unit as a year ago. In addition, Winston has made an alarming amount of mistakes this season, tossing 17 interceptions, Four of those last weekend against Florida. Rashad Greene will need to do better than he did in that Game, catching three balls for 35 yards. Greene is the playmaker in this team at wide out with 1,183 yards and five TDs on the season. Dalvin Cook and Karlos Williams are solid out of the backfield, but Greene may be more important.
Georgia Tech’s defense has stepped up towards the end of the year after getting torched by Duke and North Carolina in back-to-back Games. To have a shot in this Game, they need to continue their recent effort and force a turnover or two from Winston.
Once again, the Seminoles are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 Games overall which is where most of their trends stem from. The Yellow Jackets have covered in five straight Games. In this matchup, the underdog/Georgia Tech is 3-0-2 ATS in the last five meetings.