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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers

FSU is a perfect 15-for-15 in Red Zone trips this season

Boston College vs Florida State University Set Number: X164430

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 ACC) will be kicking off against the unranked Clemson Tigers (2-1, 0-1 ACC) Saturday at noon in Clemson, S.C. The game is being played at Memorial Stadium and will be televised nationally on the ABC Network.

The Seminoles are looking to start the conference season off at 2-0, and the Tigers are looking to avoid an 0-2 start to conference play.

Florida State holds a 20-15 advantage in the series with Clemson dating back to the schools’ first meeting, a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Clemson has a 13-6 advantage over the last 19 games, including a seven-game active winning streak. The home team has won 15 of the last 20 games in the series.

FSU has won 18 consecutive games when the Noles are in the Top 5 against unranked teams, a streak that began during the 2013 National Championship season.

In an 11-season span from 2009-19, the winner of the Clemson vs. Florida State game went on to win the Atlantic Division title, a streak that ended in 2020 in a division-less season that ultimately did not feature a Clemson/Florida State matchup.

With its victory at Boston College last Saturday, Florida State extended its winning streak to nine games, the 4th-longest active streak in the nation. FSU also holds the 2nd-longest streak of 30 point games at nine, one behind Penn State.

The Seminoles Jordan Travis completed 16-of-24 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions on a day when the Seminoles found rushing yards hard to come by. The Seminoles managed just 128 yards on the ground on 34 attempts, and Travis had 38 of those on four carries. Jaheim Bell led all FSU receivers with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, while Johnny Wilson had four catches for 105 yards.

In their last game, Clemson forced four turnovers and held Florida Atlantic scoreless until the fourth quarter en route to a 48-14 win. As a unit, Clemson’s defense registered three interceptions, including returning one for a touchdown, one forced fumble, a turnover on downs, two sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss in the non-conference win

Florida State’s Jared Verse leads all active players in FBS in career tackles-for-loss per game at 1.27 and is second in total sacks per game at 0.63.

The Tigers’ Will Shipley leads all active players in the FBS in career all-purpose yards per game at 122.22. He has totaled 3,300 all-purpose yards in his career.

According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are a 2.5-point favorite against the Tigers, with the over/under set at 55.

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  • We would love to hear your thoughts about how you feel about this game and your final score prediction in the comments.

  • Brian Pellerin (Season record: 2-1)

Very off on the score last week. Florida State struggled big time in the final 15+ minutes against Boston College and was lucky to leave Chestnut Hill with a win. No chance to give that kind of effort and get the win this week. Clemson looks down, yes. But this team has had their number in every meeting since 2014. You don’t end a seven-game losing streak without bringing your A game especially on the road. I don’t expect Clemson to roll over and I do expect that front to present some problems, but I still like this FSU team to finally break the streak.

FSU 24, Clemson 20

  • NoleThruandThru (Season record: 3-0)

I’m hoping that the close call against Boston College showed this team that no matter how talented you are, games can still slip away if you help your opponent beat you. The loss of focus and seemingly interest was definitely a concern to watch for in future games against sleeper teams.

Saturday is no such game. Dabo’s boys will not have the luxury of sneaking up on the Seminoles. The last time FSU won a game at Clemson, most of the team hadn’t hit puberty yet. This team knows the stakes, and I still believe that they are built to shine in big game atmospheres.

I can see a productive afternoon for the defensive line, which should lead to at least one turnover by Cade Klubnik. So Will Shipley goes, so goes the Clemson offense. If FSU can keep him contained for most of the day, Clemson will struggle finding rhythm. I also see a big performance from the duo of Jordan Travis and Keon Coleman, with Coleman hitting pay dirt twice and Travis nearly hitting triple figures both passing and running. The (Jaheim) Bell tolls for thee, Dabo. FSU wins its sole 2023 matchup against the Tigers, as Clemson fails to make it to the ACC championship game.

FSU 38, Clemson 23

  • TimScribble (Season record: 2-1)

Florida State’s performance against Boston College has certainly soured the overall confidence. I think FSU’s best is better than Clemson’s best right now… as long as it shows up. I think FSU may duplicate the LSU second half and pull away late.

FSU 34, Clemson 28

  • Jon Marchant (Season record: 3-0)

I think FSU is the better team but the ’Noles must commit fewer mistakes — turnovers and blown coverages — vs the Tigers as the margin for error is much smaller than it was against Boston College.

Clemson’s defense is still very very good, even if they’re not quite as elite as they were.

I still like FSUs chances though because, whether it’s a close game or it turns into a shootout, I trust in Jordan Travis and this offense.

FSU 33, Clemson 26

  • FrankDNole (Season record: 3-0)

For the first time in years FSU has a talent advantage over Clemson on the offensive side skill positions (QB, RB, WR), and I believe the Seminole offensive line also has an edge over the Tigers.

I also don’t think Clemson’s offensive line is going to be able to stop the FSU pass rush. Hopefully, FSU’s run defense has improved over last week performance and are able to prevent Shipley from going off.

I expect a close game until about the fourth quarter when the Noles will pull away, and they will cover.

FSU Seminoles 38, Clemson 24

  • Jordan Silversmith (Season Record: 2-1)

The phone rings, and Florida State gets a chance to answer the call on Saturday. After two down years by Clemson standards, FSU strolls into Death Valley looking to prove that the transfer portal can overhaul a roster and that the guard is changing in the ACC. The implications are clear: with a win, FSU controls the steering wheel on the road to Charlotte and beyond; a loss and the fears from BC will be realized, with Clemson hopping right back into the race.

From a gameplay perspective, the strengths of each team and the weaknesses of each team line up with the strengths and weaknesses of the other. FSU this year has 8 plays of over 30 years through the air, but the strength of the Clemson defense has been stopping the big pass play while being susceptible to the run. On the flip side, the Clemson receiver room does not have Mike Wiliams or Justyn Ross walking through it anymore, but the Seminoles’ secondary looks to be the most suspect unit on their defense. Meanwhile, the ‘Noles are stopping running backs well to start the year but will face their biggest test in Will Shipley, who ate Florida State alive last year. At the end of the day, the Seminoles are the more talented roster and will show that on Saturday. The tests of LSU and BC will give them a leg up in experience and being battle-tested. I expect a lower-scoring game than most, as both offensives still look to find their identity, but the Seminoles unleash the playbook on both sides of the ball and escape Memorial Stadium with a win.

Florida State 27 Clemson 24

  • Jon Loesche (Season record: 2-0)

Last week’s game vs BC came at the best possible time for a team that looked like it was starting to get high on its own hype. They walk into Death Valley with laser focus and get their first win at Clemson in a decade.

Florida State 38 Clemson 28

Evenflow58 (Season record: 2-0)

I think your feelings on this game boil down to whether you think FSU is the team that laid an egg in the final 20 minutes or so against Boston College or if they’re the team they’ve been the rest of the year. While they certainly aren’t the 2013 team I chose to believe the latter.

I think Clemson is going to have trouble handling FSU’s defensive line and I don’t think they have the skill players to take advantage of a heavy blitzing FSU. People seem to believe that Garrett Riley isn’t running his offense but I’m not sure he has the tools to do what he wants to do. At TCU he had a better WR corps and QB and probably about the same skill level at the offensive line. Clemson has better running backs but they don’t have enough elsewhere to force teams to ignore the run.

I am a bit concerned about how the FSU offense will do against the Clemson defense, which is still really good, if not the same quality as it was under Venables. I think FSU has enough skill talent to hit a few shot plays to take an early lead but pull away late.

FSU 35, Clemson 23

  • LastNoleOfKrypton (Season record: 3-0)

Seven straight defeats against the Clemson Tigers ends tomorrow; FSU is favored by 2.5 points and I like FSU to cover but I expect a very physical, hotly contested game between a FSU team with something to prove and a Clemson team that realizes that if they lose this game their chance at an ACC title is basically shot. I really like Clemson’s DTs; particularly Tyler Davis who is an excellent run stopper. Nate Wiggins out of Westlake will be playing football on Sundays next year.

All that being said I really like FSU in this match-up b/c I question Clemson’s ability to affect the passer without blitzing, particularly their edges. If FSU holds up in pass pro I expect them to score and when things break down they really struggle to contain mobile quarterbacks and FSU has one of the best in the country.

FSU 35, Clemson 28.

  • Matt Minnick (Season record: 3-0; 2-1 ATS)

Everything was going swimmingly for Florida State in Chestnut Hill, cruising along up 31-10 early in the third quarter, looking to do what the ‘Noles did to both LSU and Southern Miss and that’s dominate the second half. And then it was as if they forgot how to play. The good news is, aside from failing to cover the spread for the first time this year, FSU returned home with their season no worse for the wear...although you wouldn’t know it by listening to the traumatized, prisoner of the moment collection of humans we call the “FSU fan base.”

Here’s the deal: nearly four decades of attending football games in Doak Campbell Stadium has taught me a few things:

a) essentially all conference and national title winning teams have a game or even multiple games where they struggle with an inferior opponent, or gasp even lose. Even the immortal 1995 Nebraska team trailed, at home, against a 3-8 Washington State squad at the end of the first quarter and only won the game by 14.

2) Rarely does a legitimate top 5 or 10 team play a terrible game in back to back weeks. The next game for that 1995 Nebraska team? 57-0 shutout over rival Mizzou. And just to draw a comparison with a team that this year’s FSU could actually be on the level of (because we are not on 1995 Nebraska level), the week after 1998 FSU threw six INTs in an ugly 24-7 loss to NC State, the Seminoles regrouped with a 62-13 thrashing of Duke.

D) Players like Jared Verse, Jordan Travis, and Fabian Lovett don’t return to school for another year just to go out and lay an egg against the team that has ruled over them for their entire career.

Now, Clemson is playing with their season on the line so I fully anticipate the Tigers to come out with everything they’ve got. But once the teams settle in, I have a feeling it will start to look like FSU’s first game against Tigers this season.

FSU 41, Clemson 20

  • Perry Kostidakis (Season record: 3-0)

It all makes sense on paper.

Florida State, despite what was indicated against Boston College when the Eagles erased a 31-10 deficit, is one of the best teams in the country this season, top to bottom, position by position. Experience is combined with talent, athletic strengths and skills are complemented, the coaching staff gets it.

Clemson, teetering over the edge and threatening to slip from its status as a consistent title contender for a few seasons now, showcased real cracks in the armor for the first time in a long time in its loss to Duke to open the season. The vibes by and large from the public are that FSU can help expedite that fall with a win on Saturday.

There is a weak, tiny part of me that wants to pick Clemson here because, well, that all scares me as a man of superstition and penchant for anxiety over soft factors. The fact that everybody here picked FSU should be worrisome when considering it in those idiotic terms, but this team is real, and the logic of that is enough to overpower my stupidity. It’s not so much as I think FSU can steal one because it’s a “down” year for Clemson — if the season had played out exactly the same to this point outside of that opening loss for the Tigers, I’d still feel the same level of confidence.

FSU 34, Clemson 27

Florida State Seminoles vs. Clemson Tigers

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

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