Clemson (7-0, 4-0) at Florida State (5-2, 2-2)
When: Saturday, October 29th 2016
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ABC
The Clemson Tigers can take a big step towards an ACC Atlantic Division title when they visit the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday night in Tallahassee. With a win already over second place Louisville and a soft schedule after this week, the Tigers know that this is their biggest test until the ACC Championship Game. Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson accumulated 404 yards of total offense against the Seminoles last year, but it was Clemson’s defense that stole the show in a 23-13 home win. Clemson ranks in the top 10 in the nation in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense, and the Tigers average an eye-popping nine tackles for loss per game. If there is a weakness its the run defense, which will have its hands full trying to slow down Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. Running back Wayne Gallman, who left the N.C. State game two weeks ago, has been cleared to play Saturday and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season.
Cook, who racked up 194 rushing yards against the Tigers a year ago, is ranked ninth in the nation in rushing yards (900), but the Seminoles have mixed-up the play calling with the emergence of quarterback Deondre Francois. The redshirt freshman threw two touchdowns in a road win at Miami and passed for 319 yards and a TD in last week’s 17-6 win over Wake Forest. Cook needs 100 yards to become the seventh player in ACC history with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and the first since Wake Forest’s Chris Barclay from 2003-05. The Seminoles’ downfall against quality opponents has been their defense, allowing 530 total yards or more in losses to Louisville and North Carolina. With two losses already, the Seminoles not only need a win Saturday, but help the rest of the way if they want to get back to the conference championship game.
It’s hard to believe that this Florida State team is this bad on defense, but the stats prove it, especially against quality opponents. Clemson’s offense is very good and they proved last year that their defense can slow down the Seminoles. I’m going to take the Tigers on the road in this one, but wouldn’t be surprised if Florida State comes away with an upset. I’m cautiously taking Clemson.
Pick: Clemson -4.5