NCAA Football Free Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Florida State Seminoles

North Carolina Tar Heels
(5-3, 5-3 ATS)

Florida State Seminoles
(6-2, 5-3 ATS)

The Florida State Seminoles and North Carolina Tar Heels are both coming off of some questionable outings in recent weeks, and they’ll both try to take another step towards staying in the ACC Championship race this weekend when they meet in college football betting action at Doak Campbell Stadium.

It really felt like North Carolina had turned the corner a few weeks ago, but since that point, the Heels have suffered back to back bad games, a blowout loss to the Miami Hurricanes and a narrow escape from the William & Mary Tribe. The defense has really just fallen apart these last two weeks after putting together a nice stretch of about a month. This unit has allowed 50 points over the last two weekends, both of which resulted in failed attempts at covers. This is going to be the last chance for the Tar Heels to make it in the ACC race, as one more loss would in any hope they have of winning the conference crown. QB TJ Yates needs to be at the top of his game. He has thrown for 1,873 yards and 12 scores this season, but of his four INTs, three have come in this bad stretch of games. Yates has also only thrown for 378 yards in the two outings and is starting to draw the ire of his hometown crowd once again.

The garnet and gold are in a position right now where they probably are still the favorites to reach the ACC Championship Game, and should the NC State Wolfpack lose earlier in the day, destiny will once again be in FSU’s hands. A loss last Thursday night to said Wolfpack really did a number of a lot of things that the Noles had going for them. QB Christian Ponder is clearly not playing completely healthy, and his small errors in recent weeks will probably cost him a ton of money in the NFL Draft this coming spring. The defense also took a huge step backwards, allowing three second half touchdowns to really end a nice stretch of 5.5 games in which the team didn’t allow more than one TD in a half of ball. The good news is that the Seminoles are back at home, where their defense has allowed a grand total of 28 points in four games this season. The three headed monster of RB Chris Thompson, RB Jermaine Thomas, and RB Ty Jones was really shut down in a big way this past week, but the three still have all rushed for at least 425 yards this season and are all averaging at least six yards per carry on the year.

If the Tar Heels don’t bring their ‘D’ to Tallahassee, they’re going to get absolutely smacked in the mouth and won’t survive. Florida State seems like it should come out full of anger, and on a week and a half’s worth of preparation, it should be able to take the first step towards recovering in the ACC Atlantic race after its first conference defeat.

College Football Expert Pick: Florida State Seminoles -10.5

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