Saturday, when No. 12 Florida State takes on No. 3 Clemson in Doak S. Campbell Stadium, it will mark the 100th Atlantic Coast Conference home game for the ‘Noles. For some of us, it is a wild thought that it has actually been 25 years since Florida State joined the ACC. Over that quarter of a century, FSU has dominated the conference winning 159 of 196 conference games (the next closest is Clemson with 123 wins) and collecting 15 of the 24 conference titles; Clemson has 2 in that span.
Clemson enters Saturday’s showdown as the favorite; this is noteworthy since it will be only the second time in 100 ACC games played at Doak that the ‘Noles enter the game as an underdog at home to an ACC opponent; the last time was 2005 when Miami was favored by 3.5 at kickoff (FSU won 10-7). Clemson will also be the highest ranked ACC opponent FSU has ever played at home, the previous highest ranked was No. 6 Virginia in 2004 (FSU won 36-3). The ‘Noles are 4-0 against Clemson when the Tigers enter Doak ranked. Florida State holds an 18-4 record at home vs. ranked conference opponents with an average score of 35.9 to 16.7 in those contests. An interesting side note to those 4 losses: they all came between 2006 and 2009, when FSU was mired in mediocrity and was actually unranked at kickoff for 3 of the 4 games (2006 Boston College, 2006 Wake Forest, and 2009 Georgia Tech).
Florida State won its first 39 ACC home games before finally falling to NC State in 2001. The ‘Noles would then go on to lose 10 of their next 34 ACC home games before Jimbo Fisher took over in 2010 and reclaimed the home field advantage. Under Fisher, FSU is 23-3 at Doak vs. the ACC, and 2 of the 3 losses came in his first 2 years while resurrecting the program. Under Fisher, FSU has beat ACC foes by an average of margin of 21.7 points (36.5-14.8) and he is 4-0 vs. ranked ACC opponents at Doak.
Doak S. Campbell Stadium is one of the toughest environments in college football; the deafening warchant coupled with the team on the field makes it brutal for opposing teams, as evidenced by FSU’s 130-22-1 overall home record since 1992 (the second best in CFB behind Ohio State over that span). So for Clemson to walk out with its perfect record intact, the Tigers will have to not only hold off the ‘Noles— they’ll have to upend history.
Other Stats & Facts for Week 9
-Saturday will be only the 7th time since 1992 that FSU is a home underdog. The other 6 games were 1996 Florida (W), 2001 Miami (L), 2005 Miami (W), 2006 Florida (L), 2008 Florida (L), and 2011 Oklahoma (L). In 4 of those 6 years, the opponent won the national championship.
-Since 2010, FSU is 1-2 vs Clemson when it allows the Clemson offense to run 80 or more plays.
-In Jimbo Fisher’s 4 wins vs Clemson, the FSU D has held Clemson to an average yards per play of 4.92; in the 2 losses Clemson has averaged 5.62.
-FSU is 59-5 under Fisher when scoring 27 or more points, 14-11 when scoring 26 or less. FSU is 33-2 at Doak when scoring 27 or more, both losses are to UNC by a score of 37-35.
-No. 3 Clemson is the first ranked opponent for FSU at Doak since 2014’s game vs No. 5 Notre Dame.
-FSU is is 38-30-1 all time vs. ranked teams at Doak and 9-11-1 vs. top 5 teams.