For Halloween, FSU got a better shot at a bowl game and slightly improved health; Clemson got a rock (again)— but that may just be enough. Here are our picks for how things play out in South Carolina on Saturday. Be sure to include yours in the comments sections below.
David was disappointed that my original prediction was just [screams internally], so I guess I’ll actually put some thought into this.
It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Florida State walks into Death Valley and emerges with a win. To be fair, the Seminoles have played Clemson close in recent years, but that’s when they’ve had offensive stars like Jameis Winston and Dalvin Cook and a defense that showed up to play.
It starts up front, where Clemson boasts perhaps the best defensive line in the country with future NFL stars like Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. Meanwhile, FSU is starting a freshman at left tackle and has struggled throughout the year to protect the QB and open up holes in the run game. Didn’t Wake Forest rack up like 20 tackles for loss against FSU’s line as well?
Offensively, Kelly Bryant isn’t the best quarterback in the country, but he’s been efficient when healthy. Having explosive playmakers like Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne in the backfield helps, as well as reliable receivers like Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow out wide contribute a bunch as well.
With many receivers injured, Florida State will struggle to move the ball as Clemson will key in on the run game. Cam Akers was able to have a career performance against Syracuse, but Clemson will play much better defense.
Defensively, the ’Noles might be able to limit Clemson’s offense at first, but it will be a tough task if the offense doesn’t give them any breathing room.
I don’t feel good about this game, and neither should you. There are plenty of great games on this weekend. Turn FSU-Clemson on in the background, or have the play-by-play on your tablet and enjoy some other good games.
Clemson 42, Florida State 10
This game could go one of two ways. Either a Clemson blowout win over Florida State or the Seminoles play their best game of the year and still lose, albeit a close one. End result, Clemson wins.
Clemson hasn’t finished ahead of FSU in the composite annual recruiting rankings even once this decade.
Clemson 34, FSU 13
FSU might play hard and hang around early, but I can’t conceive a way that the ‘Noles pull off this upset. Even in average or good seasons, FSU struggles to win in Death Valley. Clemson’s D-line will work FSU’s O-line to death, and I’m generally concerned about James Blackman’s personal safety and well-being in this game. I’m not convinced FSU scores if Auden Tate doesn’t play.
I’ll spend Saturday fondly reminiscing on that 51-14 beatdown in 2013; maybe the greatest Seminole road win I’ve seen in person.
Clemson 37, FSU 10
I fully expect Clemson to run up the score to make an impression on the CFP committee, and there is not much FSU can do about it. Cam and Jacques will get a few chunk plays here and there, but Clemson’s DL will eat, masking their lack of depth in the defensive backfield. Hopefully JB1 isn’t broken in half. I also hope UF and Miami both get their asses kicked Saturday to lessen the pain.
Clemson 45, FSU 20
I believe in speaking positive things to existence, but this isn’t gonna be pretty. Bonus points if Tamorrion Terry scores a touchdown. FSU scores on a huge play on its first offensive possession of the game, ala 2015, but gets shut out the rest of the way; Clemson’s defensive line is just too good and talented.
Clemson 27 FSU 7
I don’t see how FSU moves the ball more than a few times against Clemson, and barring an all-world effort from the defense and/or a meltdown from the Clemson offense, I don’t think the Seminoles can hang with the Tigers on the scoreboard. I see something like 27-10 Clemson. If we’re going to lose, hopefully it’s over quickly so I can flip over to Auburn-Georgia.
Like some, I feel confident that FSU’s defense will be at or near its best against the Tigers, as has been the case against rivals and the Seminoles’ best opponents all season long.
That being said, I think Florida State’s offense will struggle to maintain drives (SURPRISE!) against one of the best defenses in the country and, over time, the Seminoles’ defense will simply get worn down.
Akers breaks a few plays, but Clemson’s stifling run defense keeps the freshman in check and below 100 yards and the Tigers run it up late after FSU keeps it close for a half.
Florida State got a W last week against Syracuse but they weren’t necessarily the better team. The ‘Noles were 1-13 on third down, had 136 yards passing and a total of 343 yards. Cam Akers exploded for TDs and yards, but I don’t think FSU wins if not for Syracuse QB Dungey getting banged up on the Orange’s drive. Florida State remains abysmal on offense for long stretches and is atrocious at getting teams off the field on 3rd and long. Now, imagine all those issues, only against a team as talented and well coached as Clemson. Good luck with that, FSU.
I’m gonna be that guy. My brothers, this will be the game that FSU turns the season around and goes on to win the remaining games on the schedule. At Florida State, if we gon' do it then, we gon' do it big then!
Florida State 34 Clempsun 27
FSU plays Clemson tough. And as rough as this season has been for the Seminoles, I think that trend continues in SC. As much as I think that Florida State is lacking an identity, I also think the Tigers are searching for their own. Fisher is always good at scheming some things up, but Clemson has more personnel to stop the ’Noles on a play-by-play basis.
Florida State will hit some plays against a weakened Tigers’ secondary, but Clemson is a better-coached team with more to play for. The Seminoles know that they can still make a bowl game after dropping this one, and after hanging tight early, this game escapes the garnet and gold.
FSU 23, Clemson 33
Be sure to check out the Nolecast preview for predictions from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith.