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Florida State vs. Clemson NCAA Week 4: Tigers home underdogs first time in seven years

Is a changing of the guard atop the ACC in college football on tap Saturday? It might be as Clemson has dominated the conference in recent years but appears to be trending down as a program overall. The Tigers are unranked and 2.5-point underdogs for perhaps the ACC Game of the Year when No. 4 Florida State visits Death Valley with a noon kick. The teams have combined for 11 of the last 12 ACC titles. Clemson is 7-1 straight up and 6-1-1 against the spread in its past eight at home vs. AP Top 10 teams.

The loser of Florida State-Clemson used to have no shot at the reaching the ACC title game because both were in the Atlantic Division, but there no divisions any longer. Thus in theory Saturday’s loser could still play for the conference title in Charlotte in December, but Clemson would have a huge hill to climb at 0-2 in ACC play after its 28-7 loss at Duke in Week 1. The Tigers would have zero shot at the College Football Playoff with another loss and are +400 to win the ACC.

Saturday marks the first time Clemson is a home dog since Oct. 1, 2016, when it was +1 against No. 3 Louisville and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. The Tigers won 42-36 and won go on to win the national title behind Deshaun Watson. Prior to that, Clemson hadn’t been a home dog since 2013 against the Seminoles.

Clemson has dominated Florida State in recent years.

Clemson’s Swinney enters with a 99-20 all-time record in ACC regular season play. With a win, he would join Florida State's Bobby Bowden as the only head coaches in conference history to win 100 regular season conference games as ACC head coaches. Bowden won 117. Clemson is 61-2 at Memorial Stadium in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014). One loss came last year out of conference to South Carolina.

No. 4 Florida State, the +100 favorite to win the ACC, hasn’t beaten Clemson since 2014 (didn’t play in 2020), the last time the Tigers played a Top-5 team when they were not also a Top-5 team. This is the first time Clemson has played a Top-5 team as an unranked team since a 2003 win over No. 3 FSU.

Swinney got some bad news this week with starting wideout Cole Turner ruled out for the season after tearing three abductor muscles in his team's 48-14 win over Florida Atlantic this past Saturday night. Turner had Clemson's only 100-yard receiving game in the 2022 season when he had three catches for 101 yards in the team's ACC Championship Game win over North Carolina.

#NoleFamily QB Jordan Travis is down to +1500 to win the Heisman. He has been responsible for 79 TDs in his FSU career, two shy of tying former Heisman winner Chris Weinke’s program record.

Florida State’s 142 points are its most through three games since 2012. It has scored at least 30 points in nine straight games, the longest active streak in the ACC and second-longest active in the country. The total has gone over in the past six. FSU’s nine-game winning streak is the ACC’s longest.

Last year, the Tigers won 34-28 in Tallahassee. DJ Uiagalelei threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns but is now at Oregon State. Will Shipley had 20 carries for 121 yards and six catches for 48 yards. Travis threw for 254 yards and two scores and rushed for a TD in the loss.

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