Well, it's here.
The Game of the Century (of the Week), the no-holds barred death match between No. 5 Florida State and No. 3 Clemson is finally upon us. The game features two Top Five team, two Heisman contenders at quarterback and two coaches with hilarious names.
Let's get to it.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Radio: Florida State IMGSportsNetwork
Spread: Florida State by 3 according to Bovada.lv
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.
Bleacher Report's Michael Felder breaks down the Florida State vs. Clemson matchup.
Don't get cocky
If we're going to be blunt here, Florida State, by pure matchups, is the superior team here. There's a reason that Vegas is favoring the 'Noles, and it's because through five games, the Seminoles have looked like a much more complete team than the Tigers. Here's the thing though: FSU can't be complacent with that fact because Clemson is still a very good football team. They're sure to feel disrespected, and will come out swinging.
Play your game
Jimbo Fisher can't coach scared, and his players can't play scared. Do what you've done throughout the season: play confident, and don't pay attention to anything else but what you have to do. Jameis Winston needs to take shots downfield at an average Clemson secondary, and the defense needs to play with the intensity it showed against Maryland.
Hit 'em early, hit 'em often
FSU has only had one test this year, a game against a Maryland team that might've not deserved a spot in the Top 25. It'll be nothing compared to what awaits them Saturday. Clemson needs to come out with intensity and take an early lead if it hopes to keep its title hopes alive.
Don't get beat by Winston
Jameis Winston, as we all know, will keep a play going well past when it should've ended. Defenders need to be ready to deflect a ball at all times and prepared for a Winston scramble at any moment. He's going to do all he can to bring the 'Noles to victory, and the Tigers need to squash that.
Freeman has been excellent so far for the 'Noles, racking up 384 yards and three touchdowns so far on 54 carries. With all eyes on Winston and the passing, Freeman has potential to break off a few runs on Saturday night.
Shocker of the year. Winston has a chance to bring FSU to 6-0 for the first time since 1999, put the 'Noles in a great position for national title contention AND become a front-runner in the Heisman race.
No pressure though.
It's a tale of two quarterbacks Saturday with Jameis' fellow Heisman contender lining up against him in Death Valley. This is Boyd's farewell tour, and how he performs in this game will be his legacy.
The junior from Fort Myers, FL is at it again this season, already raking in 582 yards and four touchdowns. Last year, however, the Seminoles held Watkins to only 24 yards receiving on six catches. Will he make up for it this weekend?
Here's the promotion that ESPN threw together for the matchup.
Jimbo Fisher on:
Look forward to a great ball game on Saturday. They’ve got a tremendous football team—coached very well, got great players, great players (and they’re) playing very well in all three phases. It’s going to be a pivotal game for the season. It’s an important game but it’s not the last one. We still have seven games to play. I do not deemphasize that one bit, but we have to remember we have seven games to play. This is the next one and it’s the most important because it’s the next one. We understand the implications and what it means. That’s why you come to Florida State to compete in these kind of games and these atmospheres and environments and we have a huge challenge on our hands going up there.
First of all, (their) knowledge of their scheme. Being with the coordinator another year. Two guys have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. As you learn what to do, as I say all the time, you gain confidence. Then your athletic ability starts to come out as you feel more comfortable in what you’re doing and your assignments and how quick you can do them. I can do what this coach is asking me to do and you’ve matured very well and they’re doing a great job. They play very fast, very physical.
If you had asked me who would win this game at the beginning of the season, I would have said Clemson, without a doubt.
If you had asked me after Week 2, I would have said Clemson, with a little hesitation.
If you had asked me after Week 4, I would have said Clemson, a little less cautiously.
Now, after six weeks, after Boston College gave FSU and Clemson both scares and seeing how each team struggled with them, after seeing the flaws in both teams and also the strengths, I have to go with Florida State.
This is not a biased decision, it simply is one based on the facts. FSU ranks 3rd overall in the NCAA for points per game (53.6) and points allowed (12), while Clemson ranks 18th (40.8) and 10th (16.2). In just about every positional matchup, it seems the 'Noles have the edge, something not many people saw coming.
It's going to be a hard fought game from both teams, but somebody's national title hopes are going to die on Saturday night, and it seems that it'll be Clemson's for the second year in the row.
Final Score: FSU 44, Clemson 31