FSU – Syracuse Free CFB Pick

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Florida State

vs.

Syracuse

College Football Pick

11/19/16

Florida State is just playing to save face at this point, already having three losses on the season after being one of the favorites to reach the College Football Playoff early on. While this Game at Syracuse doesn’t haven much significance, the Seminoles would still like to go into their final Game against Florida with some confidence.

The Orange have been unpredictable at best this season, but one thing that’s for certain is that they’ve struggled against good teams. Sure, they came up with an upset against Virginia Tech, but that was about the only relevant win ‘Cuse has had this season. In other cases, they’ve been blown out by Louisville and Clemson, as well as lost by 17 points to Notre Dame.

The one thing to worry about for Florida State in this Game is that they haven’t really played a great Game on the road yet this season. They lost big at Louisville, barely beat Miami and NC State and gave up 35 points to USF. Sure, they have a winning road record, but that doesn’t tell the entire story.  Taking last Game’s domination of Boston College at home may be a little misleading.

When these teams met last year, FSU did pretty much whatever they wanted, passing for 350-plus yards and another 221 yards on the ground. That could easily be the case again with how this Syracuse defense has looked against any decent offense.

Starting freshman quarterback Deondre Francois picked up a shoulder injury last Game, but that shouldn’t worry bettors too much. Sean Maguire is a capable and experienced QB as he was the guy to take down the Orange last season. That said, the ‘Noles will still lean on running back Dalvin Cook, who is just 19 yards away from breaking Warrick Dunn’s school record of career rushing yards. Cook hasn’t been needed as much the last couple weeks, but he’s still having another big season with 1,642 total yards and 14 touchdowns.

Expecting Syracuse to stop Cook would be a mistake, so Florida State should be in line for another Game with 40-plus points. The question will be if this Florida State defense can stop Syracuse. It’s a different offense than a year ago for the Orange and Virginia Tech figured that out quickly when they were upset.

Still, the Orange aren’t scoring many points, so there’s little to be afraid of with this offense. One thing to monitor will be the status of regular starting QB Eric Dungey, who missed last weekend’s Game. Zack Mahoney got the start and looked fine (although they only had 20 points vs. NC State), but Dungey is the starter for a reason. His mobility is what gives this offense another dimension and without that, Syracuse is a much lesser team.

Florida State is still a highly talented team despite injuries and that showed up in the win over Boston College. Syracuse is still hoping to reach a bowl Game this year, but winning this one may be a little far-fetched, even at home. The Seminoles can be beat, but the Orange probably aren’t the team to take them down.

Our Pick – Syracuse +20.5