#16 Florida State Seminoles at #1 Clemson Tigers
Kickoff: 3:30, Saturday November 7
TV: ABC, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler
Saturday, the Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles will once again meet to determine the winner of the ACC Atlantic division. The winner of this game for the past 6 years has gone on to represent the division in the title game, with the past 5 winners having gone on to win the ACC title. Clemson can clinch the division championship with a victory Saturday, while the Noles would have to win Saturday, and either win out in the conference or win one more if Clemson loses a second conference game.
Clemson comes into this game with the #1 ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll of the year. Clemson fans will expect a usual sight Saturday, as there is a 90% of rain in Clemson. The Tigers won their biggest game of the year over now #5 Notre Dame in a rain soaked Death Valley in front of a raucous sold out crowd. The following week, Clemson romped over Georgia Tech 43-24 in another wet home game.
The 2 back to back games left the intramural fields and other grassy areas used for tailgating on campus in such disrepair that the intramural flag football season and other fall intramural outdoor sports had to be cancelled. With heavy rain all this week, University officials are evaluating the tailgating situation to help keep everything running smoothly.
The Tigers enter this game as a 12 point favorite. It will be tricky to get a read on this game because FSU is waiting until game time to make the decision on who will start at quarterback. Everett Gholson, the transfer from Notre Dame, has been the Noles’ starter this season, but suffered a concussion and missed the FSU win over Syracuse last week. In that game, FSU started sophomore Sean Maguire. Maguire led FSU to a 23-17 overtime victory over Clemson in Tallahassee last season when he got the nod to replace suspended quarterback Jameis Winston. The Seminoles may also be without star running back Dalvin Cook, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury.
Clemson and FSU have 4 common opponents so far, with Clemson being 4-0 in those games and FSU being 3-1. FSU’s lone loss came in Atlanta to Georgia Tech, who Clemson beat by 19 in Death Valley. The Noles slugged out a 14-0 win over Boston College in Chesnut Hill while Deshaun Watson led an offensive barrage in Clemson’s 34-17 home win against the Eagles. FSU rolled over Louisville at home, winning 41-21, while Clemson barely escaped Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium with a 20-17 victory. The most intriguing common opponent matchup, however, is with FSU’s rival Miami. On October 10, FSU fought back in the 4th quarter to earn a 29-24 win against the Hurricanes. Two weeks later, the Tigers went down to Miami and drubbed the Canes in a 58-0 beat down, the worst loss in Miami football history. The scores of the common opponents seem to give Clemson an edge, but as always in this crazy rivalry, you never know what to expect. Saturday should be a great atmosphere in Death Valley and should be a great game, as Clemson hopes to keep this dream season alive.