Date/Time: December 7th, 8:00 PM ET
Spread: Florida State -28
Here at Bang the Book, we are always keeping our eyes open for the best games to bet on each and every week. Of all of the games on the Week 15 docket, the one we are zeroing in on is the game where the Florida State Seminoles take on the Duke Blue Devils at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 7th.
We’re now 9-5 ATS on the season with our college football picks of the week after taking down another cover in Week 14 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish over the Stanford Cardinal. Our attention turns to the ACC Championship Game in Week 15, where the Seminoles and the Blue Devils are going to square off.
It’s easy to point at the history of this series to see where things are headed in this one. There have been 18 all-time meetings; Florida State has won all 18, and the average margin of victory has been right around 35 points per game. The Blue Devils have never come closer than 19 points before against FSU, and that came when the Seminoles were as far down as they have been in decades.
Of course, the argument could be made that these Blue Devils have been something special this year. Head Coach David Cutcliffe should be leaving for a better job any moment now, knowing that he is now the first coach to lead Duke to 10 wins. It’s the first time that anything has been relevant in Durham outside of basketball in December since the Blue Devils became a basketball power, and with this game being played in Charlotte, it might even feel a little bit like a Duke home game.
Cutcliffe is deploying a fast-paced offense which will spread out this Florida State defense. QB Anthony Boone has had some awesome games this season, including in his last two when he has thrown for a combined 530 yards, completed more than 75 percent of his passes, and has five TDs without throwing a pick. He has been gritty in his ways against both the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the North Carolina Tar Heels on the road, and that should have him much better prepared to go against these Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game.
But then come the real facts. Florida State is a significantly better team than Duke is, and as long as QB Jameis Winston isn’t charged with sexual assault before Saturday, which would immediately end in dismissal from the FSU football team, there is no way that the Seminoles aren’t going to end up with a blowout in their favor.
The Blue Devils haven’t seen a team like this all season long. They were beaten by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Pittsburgh Panthers at home, and their only really great win of the season came on the road against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Even that win and the win over the Miami Hurricanes weren’t all that notable, knowing that neither team finished up the season ranked in the Top 25. This is a defense which allowed Pitt to score 58 points, and it is one which allowed 31 to the Troy Trojans. Twice this year came games against triple option offenses, and there were games in there against the Memphis Tigers and the UNC Central Eagles as well.
Take those four games out, and what’s left is a defense which allowed 279.6 passing yards per game, which would rank 118th in America. If you’re going to take the nation’s 118th ranked pass defense up against the man who, if he stays out of legal trouble, will win the Heisman Trophy in another week, you’re going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble. Winston has carved up much better pass defenses this season, including last week when he threw for 327 yards and three TDs against the Florida Gators.
Winston has been remarkable this year. He has the school record for touchdown passes in a season at 35, and he still has two more games to work on that as well. He has only essentially played in about the equivalent of nine games this year as well, and while he has been in there, the team has been on a pace to average over 70 points per game.
The bottom line is that Florida State just murders teams. RB Devonta Freeman, RB Karlos Williams, and RB James Wilder Jr. all have at least 500 rushing yards, and they have combined for over 2,000 for the season to go with 30 total touchdowns. All three of WR Rashad Greene, WR Kenny Shaw, and WR Kelvin Benjamin have at least 800 yards, and they have combined for 26 TDs between them. TE Nick O’Leary is one of the best five tight ends in the game as well.
On defense, the Seminoles are loaded. They have the nation’s top rated pass defense at 153.0 yards per game, and they are allowing just 271.0 yards and 11.0 points per game. Only the Boston College Eagles have scored more than 17 against the garnet and gold, and no one has held this offense to fewer than the 37 points which were scored last week against the Gators.
In the end, we have to trust our eyes, and our eyes suggest that this game is going to be a romp. The Seminoles might eventually get challenged, but until they do, we want to stay on their train. Their margins of victory this year have been 28, 55, 48, 14, 63, 37, 32, 27, 56, 56, 66, and 30. That’s a heck of a lot of numbers of at least four touchdowns or more, and this one isn’t going to be an exception. Florida State has been dying to get all the way up to that #1 spot in the nation over the course of the last several seasons. It’s finally there. Now, it’s time to prove why the Seminoles are the best team in America. They’ll punch their spot to Pasadena for the BCS National Championship Game in style by putting 50 up on the Blue Devils to capture yet another ACC championship.
Week 15 College Football Pick of the Week: Florida State Seminoles -28
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.