College Football Week 4 Picks: Clemson Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor ISeptember 19, 2012

College Football Week 4 Picks: Clemson Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles

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    College football handicappers will have a lot of fun breaking down the biggest game in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week, as the Clemson Tigers (3-0) take on the Florida State Seminoles (3-0) on Saturday night inside Doak Campbell Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:00 ET on ABC.

    The Seminoles are currently 14-point home favorites in the Week 4 college football betting odds (courtesy of SBR Forum), while the total has settled in at 57 across the board.

    Let's take a closer look at this high-profile affair from a betting perspective, while I also provide an official pick on the total.

Florida State Seminoles Are Revenge-Minded for a Second Consecutive Week

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    The Florida State Seminoles earned a 52-0 blowout win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons as 28-point home favorites last week, which allowed the program to gain revenge from last year's 35-30 setback in the series.

    Sports betters will notice that the Seminoles suffered a five-point loss against the Clemson Tigers last year in Death Valley, but they played that entire contest without starting quarterback EJ Manuel, who was injured a week earlier against the Oklahoma Sooners.

    There's no doubt in my mind that college football odds-makers are expecting a double-digit victory for Saturday's host, but I'm more interested in playing the total.

Clemson Tigers Have Enjoyed Recent Success in This Series

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    Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 22-of-35 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns against the Seminoles last year, as the offense finished with 452 yards.

    I'm not expecting the same type of numbers with this game being played on the road in Tallahassee, but it's still significant from a confidence standpoint.

    The Tigers are 8-17 all-time in this series, but have come away with a victory in six of the last nine meetings.

    Florida State has proven to be a tough customer at home in this matchup, winning 10 of 13 games in the Sunshine State.

The ESPN College GameDay Factor

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    The ESPN College GameDay crew will be setting up shop outside Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, which may cause a lot of people to add the Florida State Seminoles as one of their Week 4 college football picks.

    I'm not sure that angle carries much weight in this situation, considering Florida State has a losing 10-14 record when being one of the featured teams on the broadcast, including a 3-4 mark at home.

    With both teams being ranked, it's important to note that the higher-ranked team has compiled an impressive 161-72 record in the 26-year history of the show.

    The road team has won both games when ESPN has taken the show onto a college campus this year.

Clemson Has a Losing Record in Top 10 Battles

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    The Clemson Tigers will be playing in just their ninth game featuring Top 10 teams, with the school losing five of the previous eight games in that situation.

    Florida State is trying to regain its lofty standing in major college football, which includes a 4-1 mark when facing ACC opponents in such a contest.

    Home-field advantage looms large when looking at those records, especially with the Tigers having just 20 all-time wins against ranked teams on the road.


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    The Clemson Tigers need to do a better job stopping the run if they want to remain competitive in this contest—something they are capable of doing under first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

    He was a longtime coordinator under Bob Stoops in Norman, which is significant due to the Oklahoma Sooners holding the Florida State Seminoles to 246 total yards in a 23-13 win as 3.5-point road favorites last year.

    In doing a video preview on this game earlier in the week, I believe that the Florida State defense matches up well with Clemson's explosive offense.

    Expect this game to be lower-scoring than most experts believe. 


    College Football Week 4 Pick: Under 58


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