It's being called the real ACC Championship Game, but the point spread suggests the Clemson-FSU game will be no real battle at all.
ACC contenders Clemson visits the Florida State Seminoles, the prohibitive favorites to win the conference this season, on Saturday night (8 pm ET, ABC).
FSU was staked to a 13.5-point spread early in the week, according to the college football odds display at OddsShark.com, and the number has climbed to 14.5 against the defending ACC champs.
"Both teams are 3-0, but the hype machine on the 'Noles continues to work overtime, despite the fact Clemson is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings between these teams," Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com, said in an interview early Friday.
Will the 'Noles take the next step toward their first conference championship since 2005? Or will the Tigers take another step toward back-to-back conference titles?
Florida State, with 17 returning starters this year, including nine on defense, from a team that went 9-4 last year, opened its season with a 69-3 victory over Murray State. The Seminoles then backhanded Savannah State 55-0, a game that probably would have ended up 70-0 had it not been called early because of bad weather.
Then, last Saturday, FSU began its ACC season by avenging one of its losses from last season, drubbing Wake Forest 52-0.
So Florida State has outscored opponents this season by a 176-3 margin. In doing so, the Seminoles have moved up from No. 7 in the AP's preseason poll to No. 4 this week.
On the other side of this matchup, Clemson returned 14 starters, seven on each side of the ball, from a team that went 10-4 and won the ACC last year. The Tigers then opened their season with a 26-19 win over Auburn, then dispatched of Ball State 52-27, and beat Furman 41-7 last Saturday.
With their three victories, the Tigers have moved from No. 14 in the first AP poll of the season to No. 10 in this week's.
Clemson has won three of the last five games in the series with Florida State. Last year, the Tigers, with help from 344 yards passing by Tajh Boyd, outgained the 'Noles 452-365 on their way to a 35-30 victory.
Florida State opened as a 13.5-point favorite for this game, with a total of 58. As of Thursday afternoon, the Seminoles had been bumped to -14 and even 14.5 at several shops, while the total had dropped to 56.
Free Pick: The 'Noles have been dominant so far this year, but Clemson is not Savannah State or even Wake Forest. We'll take the points here and go with the Tigers. (courtesy of PickShark.com)