Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roadtriping to Death Valley. ACC GOTW.

Wow! The gameday environment in Doak Campbell Stadium was electric last Saturday night for the Florida State Seminole’s near miss in toppling the #1 Oklahoma Sooners. When the final whistle sounded the Seminoles fell 10 points short of pulling off the upset and fell 10 spots to #14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. However, the real price of the Saturday’s game is the mounting injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Starting QB EJ Manuel will be a game time decision and the Seminoles are down to only four scholarship receivers for this week’s inter-division conference game versus the #22 Clemson Tigers.

Clemson played in a big time football game last week as well when they hosted the defending national champion Auburn Tigers. Auburn came into the game unbeaten and once again are living week to week on their big play ability. Death Valley was rocking with 80,000 fans in attendance and helped Clemson overcome a 14 point second half deficit to the win the game 38 – 24.

This could be a tale of two football teams going in opposite directions in only the fourth week of the season. Clemson is 3 – 0 and starting to think about the possibility of what could be, while the Seminoles are watching all of the pre-season hype slowly fade away. Luckily games are decided on the field and not by expectations.

The Seminoles have the fifth ranked defense nationally and it will be crucial for this unit to play as one of the best defenses in the country to win this game. The defense is led by rising sophomore defensive end Bjoern Werner who had a break out game against Oklahoma. Werner spent much of the night disrupting one of the best offenses in the country. Also, the Seminole defensive back field held All-American Brian Broyles to only 55 yards receiving and the defense as a whole is only giving up 195 yards per game. Seminole starting quarterback EJ Manuel is questionable for the game Saturday, but the offense should be in good hands with redshirt freshman Clint Trickett. Trickett does not bring the same skill set to the game as Manuel, but he has thrown for a touchdown in each of the Seminole’s games this season and has four total. The most buzz about Trickett is his size, although he is listed at 175 pounds, most observers put his weight somewhere closer to a buck fifty. Trickett is the son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett and as we have seen many times in college football you can never count out a kid that grew up around the game and knows what it takes to succeed.

Clemson will be a team on a mission. And it all starts with their pre-game pageantry at Howard’s Rock and the downhill run onto the field. The Tiger offense has performed well to this point in the season averaging over 500 yards per game. However, it is the Tiger defense that will determine this game, at this point they rank 97th nationally in total defense and are sub 100 in a few categories, especially when it comes to stopping the run.

This game will propel one team into the driver’s seat for the ACC Atlantic Division title. The keys to the game will be which Head Coach can take advantage of the other team’s weaknesses. In this battle I have to think you go with Jimbo Fisher to take advantage of the Tiger defensive woes. I like Florida State to pull off the road upset and easily cover the point and half spread.

NV Nole season average – 66.6% winners!

No comments: