The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (3-0) are hosting the No. 10-ranked Clemson Tigers (3-0) in one of the most exciting and important college football matchups in the first four weeks of the season.
There is so much on the line when these two ACC powerhouses clash, which is exactly why you’ll certainly want to tune in and catch the action. Maybe you’ll even place a friendly wager or two on the game.
If you are looking for a guide on how to watch the game, an injury report, gambling advice or a prediction on the final score, please read on.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
When: Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m. ET
Clemson Injuries (via USA Today)
OL Reid Webster, Suspension, Out
LB Justin Parker Groin, Out for Season
QB Tony McNeal, Knee, Out for Season
CB Martin Jenkins, Groin, Out
Florida State Injuries (via USA Today)
DT Moses McCray, Concussion, Questionable
OL Daniel Foose, Back, Questionable
DE Brandon Jenkins Foot, Out for Season
TE Dan Hicks, Knee, Out for Season
DT Derrick Mitchell, Back, Out
RB Mario Pender, Groin, Out for Season
Spread: Florida State -14.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Take the points with Clemson here.
There is so much on the line in this game—we’ll get to that in a minute—that there is no way that the Tigers are going to take the trip into Tallahassee just to get blown out of the water.
While FSU might be the better team on paper and could very well win this, it won’t be by more than two touchdowns.
Clemson won the contest straight up in 2011 and covered the spread in a loss back in 2010.
Recent performance is one of the most important trends to follow, and it looks like the Tigers are a good bet on Saturday.
Lean towards the over.
Whenever these teams clash, it tends to turn into a shootout. Ten of the past 14 games have gone over the total, and four of the past five played at Doak Campbell have exceeded it as well.
Fifty-seven is actually a low number for two potent offenses, both which possess the ability to seemingly score at will when they get on the field—especially Florida State.
The winner of this game is likely going to win the ACC, get an automatic berth into a BCS bowl and possibly be in consideration for the national championship.
Both teams will be fighting tooth and nail, as it is basically the biggest game of their season (unless they win and remain undefeated up until the playoffs).
As for the Top 25 polls, it’s safe to say that neither will be launched from the rankings following a loss—unless it’s an absolute blowout.
However, the winner will be propelled up into the top-five (in Clemson’s case) or possibly even higher (if Florida State gets lucky).
Key to FSU Win: Running Game
Clemson doesn’t exactly have a brick wall defense that will be able to shutdown an explosive RB like Chris Thompson.
In Week 3, Thompson went off for 197 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.
Not to mention, QB E.J. Manuel is a huge threat to take off, while James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman figure to get some meaningful snaps out of the backfield.
Unless the Tigers figure out a way to shore up their leaky run defense, they aren’t going to have much hope of winning this game.
Key to Clemson Win: Execution
Clemson will simply need to play perfect against the Seminoles on Saturday.
Stud WR Sammy Watkins will need to be play a major role in the game and signal-caller Tajh Boyd will have to flawlessly find him in potential double coverage.
The defense is also going to have to turn what little mistakes the ‘Noles make into turnovers and points.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Clemson 33
It’s going to be a close game, but FSU will pull away late due to their superior defensive unit and better athletes on offense.
Don’t discount Clemson covering the spread or going over, but the Seminoles are taking this one straight up.