2012 ACC Championship Odds and Picks: Florida State vs Georgia Tech Predictions – Free College Football Picks 12/1/12: Looking at the matchup in Saturday’s ACC championship game, the conference may want to consider reshuffling the divisions. After all, the 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (10-2, 7-1 ACC) will face a Georgia Tech team with a 5-3 record in ACC play and a 6-6 record overall. In fact, the Yellow Jackets’ record is so shaky that they had to petition to play in a bowl game in case they lose the title game and finish with more losses than wins. Of course, Georgia Tech doesn’t have to worry about the petition if it upsets Florida State and earns a spot in the Orange Bowl, although it easier said than done. Given the large disparity in records, it is no surprise that the Seminoles are 14-point favorites.
Florida State is one of the most balanced team on both sides of the ball. Led by senior quarterback E.J. Manuel, the Seminoles rank eighth in the country in scoring, averaging more than 41 points per game. The offense suffered a bit of a hit when senior running back Chris Thompson went down with a torn ACL, but a committee of players have stepped in and kept the balance intact. Meanwhile, the FSU defense is allowing the seventh-fewest points in the country and ranks second in terms of yards allowed. Defensive end Bjoern Werner is leading the country with 13.0 sacks and is the star of a powerful defensive front, but the Seminoles also have a pair of experienced cornerbacks anchoring their secondary.
Georgia Tech on the other hand is about as one dimensional on offense as a team can get. Running a triple option attack, the Yellow Jackets rank third in the country in rushing, averaging more than 320 yards per game on the ground. Five different players have run for at least 400 yards this year, and while running back Orwin Smith is the team’s most explosive weapon, quarterback Tevin Smith is the power back around the goal line. Georgia Tech has 46 rushing touchdowns this year, and Smith has 18 of them. Defensively, the Yellow Jackets have struggled. They are allowing more than 30 points per game and have given up more than 40 points on five occasions.
The Seminoles Win If:
Facing a team that almost exclusively runs the ball, the recipe for success isn’t exactly a secret. If Florida State’s stout defensive front slows down Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, this game could get ugly. Not to mention that Manuel and the offense can help the cause by taking advantage of a suspect Yellow Jackets defense for some early scores. Whether the Seminoles’ defense shut down Georgia Tech’s ground game or Manuel and the offense build a lead and force the Yellow Jackets to abandon their running game, the end result is the same. If Florida State takes away the ground attack of Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets don’t have the passing game or the defense to hang with the Seminoles.
The Yellow Jackets Win If:
If nothing else, Georgia Tech’s triple-option system has been known to confuse defenses at times and take advantage of overaggressive defenders. With all the speed on FSU’s defense, there is a chance the Seminoles could over-pursue at times, and Washington has to make the right reads if they do. More importantly, the Yellow Jackets’ ground game has to be able to sustain long consistent drives in order to wear down a talented Florida State defense and keep a high-scoring FSU offense on the sidelines. Forcing a few turnovers on defense would help the cause, but at the end of the day, the Yellow Jackets have to control the clock and the pace of the game with their rushing attack if they want to have a shot at pulling off the upset.
If you need proof of just how shaky Georgia Tech’s resume is, look no further than ugly losses to BYU and Middle Tennessee. Throw in the fact that the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option attack was held in check in losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia teams with solid defenses, and it the chances of Washington and company finding any running room against an FSU defense that ranks fourth in the country against the run. The Seminoles are one of the toughest teams in the trenches in the country, and if they can shut down teams that have balance on offense, they should have no trouble shutting down a team that they know is going to be running the ball. Meanwhile, the high-powered Florida State offense should have few issues piling up points against a Georgia Tech defense that has been torched by just about every offense it has faced. Even as shaky as FSU has been in big games in the last few years, the Seminoles just have too much talent on both sides of the ball to lose to a mediocre Georgia Tech team.
Prediction: Florida State Seminoles (-14) Cover the Spread
Florida St vs Georgia Tech Vegas Odds and Total
Line: Florida St -14
Total: Over/Under 61.5
Television: 8 PM EST on ESPN
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