Now that second-ranked Florida St (9-0) controls its own destiny, it's expected that the unbeaten Seminoles won't look past any opponent en route to a collision course in the BCS Championship with Alabama if all holds true to form. Already earning a berth in the ACC Championship game, FSU is likely to run the table in their final 4 games beginning host to Syracuse (5-4) this afternoon from Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles (9-0, 7-0) got the help they needed to be put in position for a national title when then-No. 2 Oregon lost 26-20 to Stanford last Thursday, and they went out and won 59-3 at Wake Forest two days later.
One thing the Seminoles wanted to avoid was an off the field distraction, so expect Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston (166/240 2661 26 TD 7 INT) to be fully focused when it comes to taking care of business on the field. Florida State and Winston's attorney confirmed Wednesday the investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department of a sexual assault incident that took place about a year ago. However Police officials refused to answer questions about the investigation.
Wilson leads a passing attack that is 15th in the country and wastes no time putting up points and gaining yards in bunches. Top targets Rashard Greene (50-820 8 TD) and Kenny Shaw (35-622 3 TD) will likely have better success despite not having much of an impact in the 59-3 devastation of the Demon Deacons last week. Not good news for a Syracuse pass defense that ranks 11th overall in the ACC. Wilson did throw a couple of TD passes but it was FSU's defense that wracked havoc on Wake recording 7 total turnovers, 6 of them for picks. Nate Anderson returned an INT 56 yards to paydirt and Jalen Ramsey recovered a fumble 23 yards more to the house. Even Levonte Whitfield capped the scoring on special teams with a 97 yard kickoff return to the end zone.
Wilson will set the tempo early mixing it up with the solid ground game featuring by Devonta Freeman (116-650 5.6 9 TD) and Karlos WIlliams (61-444 7.3 8 TD). Fellow wideouts Kenny Shaw (35-622 3 TD)‚ Kelvin Benjamin (27-499 6 TD) and tight end Nick O'Leary (23-389 6 TD) have all made plays as well. Florida State boasts the No. 2 scoring offense in the FBS averaging a mind-boggling 52 points per contest, second only to 4th ranked Baylor (62.5). The Florida State defense is set up for the linemen to take on blocks and allow linebackers to run free to the ball. Telvin Smith has the speed to chase ball carriers sideline-to-sideline and the strength to shake offensive linemen. He’ll have the opportunity to put up big numbers against the Orange this afternoon.
Syracuse is likely headed to a bowl game after exceeding expectations becoming a member of the ACC conference. They'e won 2 straight coming off a 20-3 win over Maryland in week 10. Former Oklahoma Sooner QB Drew Allen (63/113 637 2 TD 8 INT) experienced a rough start and was replaced by Terrel Hunt (91/155 946 7 TD 7 INT). Hunt got the opportunity and completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and 3 scores in a 54-0 blanking of Wagner. Hunt is especially dangerous with his feet calling his own number (59-337 5.7 4 TD) and has two dependable backs in Jerome Smith (144-705 4.9 10 TD) and Prince Tyson Gulley (78-440 5.6 4 TD). Smith ran for 118 yards and 2 scores against the Terps in week 10. While Hunt has a balanced receiving core led by Ashton Broyld (33-321) and Christopher Clark (24-260 3 TD), their offense is a lot more methodical and focuses on ball control rather than quick strikes.
Syracuse will struggle to keep Winston off balance and the Seminoles will expect to see a beligerant pass rush. However the Florida State running backs should be strong enough to neutralize the overmatched Orange in their pass-protection responsibilities. FSU's defense doesn't take a backseat to the offense in the least bit. The Seminoles rank 4th nationally in scoring defense (12.0 ppg) and total defense (274.1 ypg). Syracuse might be able to handle the lesser of the ACC class, but Florida St is in one by themselves on track to the national title game. Expect another lopsided victory as I look for my 6th win over the last 7 in what is shaping up to be a personal best in the history of Saturday best bets. Best of luck however you play!
YTD 10-3 .769