Earlier this decade, the Clemson-Florida State series was one of the best in college football.
From 2009-’16 the two programs played for the right to play in the ACC Championship Game every year. In fact, the Tigers and Seminoles are the only two teams to win the conference every year since 2011.
Clemson has won six them (2011, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18 and ’19), while Florida State has won three (2012, ’13 and ’14) during that span. Either Clemson or FSU has played in the ACC Championship Game every year since 2009. And between the two, they have combined to win three national championships and play for five of the last seven.
However, when the Tigers travel to Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday to take on the Seminoles, no one outside of Clemson and Florida State will truly care. Though the game does have some measure of implication on the national scale, it is one sided.
Fourth-ranked Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC) looks to keep advancing towards the ACC title game again this year should it win on Saturday. The Tigers have to win their remaining three games against the Seminoles, Pitt (Nov. 28) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 5) to advance to the championship game.
If Clemson wins out and wins the ACC Championship Game, it will likely advance to the College Football Playoff for a sixth straight year.
Florida State (2-6, 1-6 ACC) is hoping to play spoiler. The Seminoles have dropped their last three games and are in the midst of the their worst season since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first year in Tallahassee.
“I know they are not where they want to be, but from my eyes from when I watch and study them, they are improving greatly,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “From where they were at the beginning of the year to where they are now, I think they are figuring out their personnel.”
FSU’s personnel has taken a hit as of late. Last week, it lost several high-profile players, including defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who was lost for the year due to an injury. They also lost offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor for the year with an injury, while wide receiver Tamorrion Terry has opted out. Backup quarterback James Blackman has decided to transfer out of the program.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a rough first year for new head coach Mike Norvell.
“I think Mike and his staff have done an excellent job trying to figure out who they are and what gives them the best chance to win,” Swinney said. “They have done a nice job. They really have. They have a lot of young guys playing that are competing. I think as a coach, that is what you want to see.”
Unfortunately for the Seminoles, that does not bode well going up against a Clemson team that is loaded with talent and has opened as a 32.5-point favorite. The Tigers have won five straight in the series and has won the last three games by an average of 32.3 points.
So much for Clemson-FSU being the premier game in the ACC.
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