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Florida State Seminoles at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+35, 55)
As national title talk for the Seminoles goes, so goes Heisman Trophy chatter for quarterback Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman leads the ACC in total offense (331.9 yards per game), passing average (312.8), pass efficiency (201.1) and passing touchdowns (24). Winston's 2,502 passing yards is already the sixth-highest total among ACC freshmen all-time and he is on pace to become the most prolific freshman quarterback in conference history.
Michael Campanaro, the Demon Deacons' all-time leading receiver with 229 receptions for 2,506 yards, is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks with a broken collarbone. Sherman Ragland III will be leaned on in Campanaro's absence and the sophomore performed well against Syracuse, stepping up to set career bests by grabbing 10 receptions for 91 yards. Quarterback Tanner Price ranks fourth in the ACC with 1,956 passing yards,
LINE: The Seminoles have held steady as 35-point favorites, with the total currently 55.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-50s with sunny skies.
* Seminoles are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games.
* Demon Deacons are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. teams with winning records.
* Under is 13-3 in Wake Forest's last 16 games on fieldturf
No rivalry in college football has had more impact on the BCS title race in the past couple of years than this one, as Nick Saban owns a 4-3 mark over Les Miles since taking over in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Last season, the Tigers outplayed the Crimson Tide for much of the second half, but Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron led a last-minute touchdown drive that kept the Tide No. 1 with a 21-17 win.
LSU has been inconsistent on both sides of the ball this year. The offense was humming along, averaging 489 yards per game the first six contests; the defense allowed three straight games of 430 or more yards. Then in back-to-back games against Florida and Ole Miss, the offense stalled.
Earlier this year, Alabama's defense struggled with Texas A&M's receivers, particularly Mike Evans, and will no doubt be tested here by arguably the best duo in the country in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, who have combined for 1,891 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger had a 15-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio the first six games, but has slipped a bit with a 4-to-5 ratio in the past three.
While most analysts mention Baylor, Oregon and Florida State among the best offenses in the country, the Alabama offense does not get enough credit -- it is averaging 41 points per game and has shown incredible balance, averaging 211 rushing yards and 252 passing yards. McCarron now has an incredible 65-to-11 career TD-to-INT ratio, and the offensive line has gone four consecutive games without allowing a sack. On defense, it's business as usual, as the Tide have allowed only a total of two touchdowns in the past six games.
On paper, the Crimson Tide have been a much more impressive team this year than the Tigers, and shockingly have flown a little under the radar, as much of the recent talk has centered on Oregon and Florida State. After Saturday night, however, one thing will remain certain: The Crimson Tide are still the team to beat in their quest to become the first program in college football history to win four titles in five years.
No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama, 8 p.m. ET
This game has really taken a backseat to the Baylor-Oklahoma and Oregon-Stanford games, but it should be one of the better games of the weekend and has just as much on the line as the Thursday games. These teams are a far cry from their national championship selves. The defenses aren’t as good and the offenses are among the best in the conference. The difference in this game will be Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and his ability to pass the ball. If he can keep the LSU defense off-balance with a dual attack, the Tide should win this game. But look to LSU to keep close.