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Florida State at Clemson

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Matchup: Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers
Venue: Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina (Grass)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
Time/TV: 8:00 pm. ET - ABC
Line: Florida State -3 ½, Over/Under 63 ½
Last Meeting: 2012, Florida State (-14 ½) 49 vs. Clemson 37

For the last 13 seasons, Florida State (5-0 straight up, 4-1 against the spread) has been living in the past. The Seminoles have started fast against a cupcake schedule on many occasions, prompting many to declare that they’re back.

And then FSU falls on its face.

We’ve seen this script written before, haven’t we?

Yes, we have. We’ve seen it on an annual basis in Tallahassee for more than a decade.

But something might be different this time around. His name is ‘Famous’ Jameis Winston and he gives the ‘Noles something they haven’t had since Chris Weinke – an elite quarterback.

Has he faced a decent defense yet this year? No. Has Winston been in an environment like Death Valley before at night? Hell no, with apologies to the good people in Pittsburgh and Chestnut Hill.

But Winston sure has looked nasty in shredding defenses in his first five starts. The redshirt freshman, who also plays baseball at FSU, has completed 73.2 percent of his passes for 1,441 yards with a 17/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Winston has also rushed for 135 yards and two scores.

And he’s the reason why most books have FSU installed as a three-point favorite for Saturday’s ACC showdown at Clemson. The total for ‘over/under’ wagers is 64. Gamblers can back the Tigers on the money line for a +135 return (risk $100 to win $135).

Clemson (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS) fell victim to a vintage look-ahead situation in last week’s 24-14 non-covering home win over Boston College. However, the Tigers did hook up its supporters for second-half bets after they trailed 7-3 at intermission. The halftime line was 13 ½ so Clemson got the cover by one-half point (-9 ½ adjusted).

Tajh Boyd threw for 334 yards and one touchdown and also had a running score. Sammy Watkins had seven receptions for 101 yards and one TD.

For the season, Boyd is connecting on 66.5 percent of his throws for 1,783 yards with a 15/2 TD-INT ratio. The school’s career passing leader has distributed this year’s scoring strikes to 11 different teammates. The senior signal caller has five rushing TDs, too.

Watkins is bouncing back nicely from a frustrating 2012 campaign that was ruined by an early-season suspension and multiple injuries. Watkins has 36 receptions for 582 yards and four TDs.

Clemson is averaging 40.8 points per game to rank 18th nationally. The Tigers are vastly improved on defense in their second season under former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables. They are ninth in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 16.2 points per game.

FSU hasn’t won at Clemson since 2001. When these teams met at Doak Campbell Stadium last season, the Seminoles rallied from a 27-13 deficit to capture a 49-37 victory. The Tigers took the cash as 14 ½-point underdogs thanks to a fourth-down TD pass from Boyd late in the fourth quarter.

During Jimbo Fisher’s tenure, FSU has lost five of its seven games against ranked opponents. As a road favorite under Fisher, the ‘Noles are 6-8 ATS.

Clemson was winless ATS as home underdog on Dabo Swinney’s watch until it beat Georgia 38-35 as a 2 ½-point underdog in this year’s opener.

Totals have been an overall wash for Clemson (3-3), while FSU has seen the ‘over’ cash at a 5-0 clip. We should note that the ‘under’ has connected in back-to-back games for the Tigers.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Since losing at FSU last season, Clemson has won 11 consecutive ACC games by double-digit margins.

--Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy missed practice earlier this week after injuring his shoulder in a 17-6 loss at LSU. Murphy returned to practice Thursday and reportedly looked sharp and will start at Missouri. The Gators, who are 3-3 ATS in six games as road underdogs during Will Muschamp’s tenure, are catching three in Columbia. Murphy has a 5/1 TD-INT ratio and two rushing scores. Maty Mauck will get his first career start for the unbeaten Tigers, who downed Georgia 41-26 in Athens last weekend.

--Mauck is the younger brother of former Cincinnati QB Ben Mauck. --Ole Miss DE C.J. Johnson is out for the season with an ankle injury. The Rebels are dealing with injuries galore along their defensive front. Robert Nkemdiche is out for the next three games with a pulled hamstring. RB Jeff Scott, who is averaging 8.2 yards per carry, is ‘doubtful’ with a thigh injury but the Rebels young RBs played well in a last week’s gut-wrenching loss to Texas A&M on a field goal as time expired.

--Just me, or was the Aggies’ win in Oxford one of the most entertaining games we’ve seen this season?

--Vandy owns a 12-4 spread record in 16 home games under James Franklin.

--Georgia RB Todd Gurley and safety Tray Matthew are both listed as ‘doubtful’ Saturday at Vandy.

--After missing last week’s non-covering home win over Virginia, Maryland QB C.J. Brown (concussion) will return to the starting lineup at Wake Forest. is currently listing Alabama as a 3.5-point favorite vs. Oregon in a potential BCS Championship Game matchup.

--South Carolina WR Shaq Roland will return from a three-game suspension Saturday at Tennessee. However, WR Bruce Ellington is ‘questionable’ with a strained foot.

--A few interesting Games of the Year lines from Oregon -11 at Stanford, Georgia -3 vs. Florida and South Carolina -2.5 vs. Clemson.

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