Thursday, November 6, 2008

Clemson-Florida State Preview and Prediction



Clemson at Florida State
Saturday 3:30 PM
Line: FSU -4.5

Florida State will try to hang onto their ACC Atlantic Division title hopes after a tough loss last week at Georgia Tech. Dabo Swinney will try to lead Clemson to their second straight win and improve his chances of earning the head coaching job full time. The Tigers have had the upper hand in this series as of late despite the up and down seasons under former coach Tommy Bowden (son of Bobby).

Keys to the Game:

1. Can FSU use the two QB system effectively?
Christian Ponder usually starts games, but is spelled by D'Vontrey Richardson who will come in to give the 'Noles more of a running option. Last week, Richardson was very effective in keeping Ga Tech off balance and even threw a TD pass. The key will be if OC Jimbo Fisher can use the two QBs strengths without stopping the momentum of the FSU offense.

2. Can Clemson's Defense Play To The Level of Last Week?
If you look at the stats last week for Clemson's offense it was not pretty even though they won 27-21 over BC. QB Cullen Harper had 3 INT and the Tigers lost another one by fumble. But Clemson's defense held BC to just 232 total yards including just 116 through the air. Clemson cannot count on their offense to move the ball like Georgia Tech did.

3. 3rd Down Defense
Last week, Clemson kept BC to just 2 for 17 on 3rd down conversions. FSU is one of the best in the nation allowing around a 20% conversion rate on 3rd down. Considering FSU's offense is statistically better, I think it is especially important for Clemson to gain a couple of early conversions instead of punting.

Prediction

I find it interesting how this line moved from 6 down to 4.5 (and -4 in some places). Swinney has brought new life to the Clemson team. If the Tigers can feed of his energy and move the ball on offense they have a great chance in this game. However, I like the way FSU's ground game is working in addition to their platoon at QB. I will take FSU at home.

Florida State 27 Clemson 20
FSU Covers -4.5

Last Week: 0-4 ATS, 1-3 SU
Season: 23-13-2 ATS, 24-14 SU


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