Broad Overview: Things are both better and worse in Tallahassee, if that makes sense. After a disastrous start with losses to Boise State, UVA, and a one point win over ULM, the Noles have won their last two games against Lousiville and NC State while looking relatively better. FSU has struggled defensively, but former Oregon DC Jim Leavitt’s addition as a special assistant has brought some improvement (and concerns for
Controversial OC Kendall Briles has managed to make FSU’s offense potent again, averaging 33.2 points per game and concealing their poor offensive line play. FSU’s offensive line was historically bad last year – think Kansas or worse. This year’s offensive line is merely poor and is better at run blocking than pass blocking, which is a vast improvement that is helped by Briles’ use of tempo. FSU also uses two quarterbacks in a rotation with Wisconsin grad transfer Alex Hornibrook and junior James Blackman (this week’s starter).
Talent to Watch: On the Draft Network’s 2020 Big Board, FSU boasts two of the top fifty prospects whom are physically talented prospects: DL Marvin Wilson and hybrid safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. That doesn’t include Cam Akers who ranks 78th on the board, a quality running back who struggles with vision and pass blocking behind FSU’s rough offensive line.
Oddshark: This could be the most ‘underdog’ FSU spread of our lifetimes, as Clemson is favored to win by 27.5 points. 54% of bets have FSU covering, while 46% have Clemson’s ROY bus covering FSU. The over under is 59.5 with 55% betting on the over. Oddshark’s projected score is Clemson 52, FSU 12.6. FSU is 3-1 (2-2-1 vs. spread) while Clemson is 5-0 (3-2 vs spread).
William’s Take: Clemson has officially unveiled the “ROY Bus” after slipping to #2 and receiving skepticism from national media. That serves as a chip on the shoulder to help bolster Clemson’s chances of covering the nearly four score spread. On the other hand, FSU is one of the most talented teams on the schedule and they have improved drastically from last year and even August of this year. Prediction: Clemson 48 FSU 13