The 2013 ACC Championship features a somewhat lopsided matchup, as a surprising Duke team takes on the juggernaut that is Florida State. Duke got off to a slow start this season after losses against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh in two consecutive weeks. However, it has been able to right the ship and win out over its remaining schedule.
Florida State is a completely different story. It has been absolutely bludgeoning opponents throughout the course of the season, with its smallest margin of victory being 14 points against Boston College.
Still, anything can happen over the course of a football game. After all, we are dealing with two very talented teams. Let's take a look at the biggest matchups that will decide the outcome of this contest.
Anthony Boone vs. Jameis Winston
The production from these two quarterbacks has been solid this year, as each have been able to take care of the football with a good amount of success. Boone missed three games earlier this season—two of those three games were Duke's only losses—and Winston has led Florida State to all 12 of its wins this year.
These two quarterbacks run very different offenses, and it shows in their production:
Winston has put the Florida State offense on his shoulders this season, and it shows in his production. Boone, on the other hand, is more of a game manager who relies on shorter routes to move the ball down the field.
The edge here goes to Winston and the Seminoles.
Duke's Backfield Committee vs. FSU's Backfield Committee
Both of these teams use a committee-style approach to their running games. Duke has a three-headed monster in the backfield, as Jela Duncan and Josh Snead are capable of gaining big yards, while Brandon Connette is a short-yardage and goal-line specialist.
Florida State leans heavily on Devonta Freeman to carry the load on the ground. However, the explosive Karlos Williams has been fantastic when given the opportunity.
Duke doesn't really have a power running game, but it is able to keep its running backs fresh throughout the game due to its heavy rotation. Florida State uses elusive runners to gain huge chunks of yards at a time. It becomes obvious when looking at these players' statistics from 2013:
Both teams have been effective running the football this season. However, it is Florida State who has found the most success. The Seminoles have the advantage here.
Jamison Crowder vs. Florida State's Secondary
Crowder is the most explosive player on Duke's offense. He has been a one-man wrecking crew this season, accumulating 1,131 yards on 88 receptions for seven touchdowns. After Crowder, production from Boone's targets drop off:
If Duke is to gain ground through the air against Florida State, Crowder must step up in a big way. After all, the Seminoles have the nation's best pass defense, allowing an average of just 153 yards per game. They have also only allowed 12 touchdowns through 12 games this season.
To make matters even worse for Crowder and Duke's passing offense, the Seminoles also lead the nation in passes intercepted with 23.
Crowder and Co. will have to have the game of their lives to produce in a significant way against a very good Florida State secondary. Once again, the advantage here goes to the Seminoles.