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No. 3 Clemson hosts No. 5 FSU Saturday night
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 10/19/2013  at  6:31:00 AM
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FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (5-0)
at CLEMSON TIGERS (6-0)

Kickoff: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida State -3, Total: 63.5

In a showdown between the two ACC powerhouses, No. 3 Clemson will host No. 5 Florida State as a slight home underdog on Saturday night.

Florida State has looked absolutely dominant to start the year, going 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS while winning its games by an average margin of 41.6 points per game. Clemson, meanwhile, has gone 6-0 SU and 3-2-1 ATS and owns a marquee win, beating Georgia 38-35 in the first week of the season. Last season, Florida State won a 49-37 shootout between these two teams, but failed to cover the 14.5-point spread, giving the Tigers their fourth consecutive ATS victory against the Seminoles. In the last 10 meetings at Clemson, the two teams are 5-5 SU while the Tigers have covered in nine of those contests. Dabo Swinney is 25-12 ATS against ACC foes since taking over the reins at Clemson, while FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher is just 3-12 ATS after three consecutive SU wins since taking charge with the Seminoles.

Which school will win this showdown of top-five programs? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts continued their hot streak in college football Best Bets with a strong 64% ATS record (14-8-2) this past week, highlighted by StatFox Brian's perfect 6-0 ATS mark. The four experts are now a combined 59% ATS (75-52-5) for the season. StatFox Gary is a sizzling 73% ATS (11-4-1) in college football Best Bets over the past five weeks and 63% ATS (12-7-1) this year. StatFox Brian is also at 63% ATS (17-10-1) for the year in Best Bets, while StatFox Scott is 59% ATS (13-9-2) on Best Bets in the past four weeks and 57% ATS (21-16-2) for the season. StatFox Dave is 71% ATS (12-5-1) on Best Bets in the past three weeks and 57% ATS (22-17) for the season.

Florida State ranks third nationally with 53.6 PPG and its defense also ranks third in FBS, giving up only 12.0 PPG. The 'Noles had off last weekend, and prior to that dominated Maryland 63-0. QB Jameis Winston is the star of the offense, completing 73.2% of his passes (90-of-123) for 1,441 yards while connecting for 17 touchdowns and only throwing two picks. He’s also a threat with his legs, running for two touchdowns and 135 yards on 36 carries. Devonta Freeman, though, leads the rushing attack with 54 carries for 385 yards (7.1 YPC) and three touchdowns. Karlos Williams (38 carries for 244 yards) is an important change-of-pace threat, adding six touchdowns on the ground. Winston has four receivers with at least three touchdown catches, led by Kenny Shaw (23 catches for 466 yards, 3 TD) and Rashad Greene (23 catches for 407 yards, 5 TD). The Seminoles defense is yielding a pithy 3.4 YPC and 5.8 yards per passing attempt, with opponents completing just 53.5% of their passes.

Clemson’s offense is led by one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in QB Tajh Boyd, who has completed 123-of-185 passes (66.5%) for 1,783 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has also run for five more touchdowns on 66 carries for 187 yards (2.8 YPC). One of the most impressive parts about the Clemson offense is its versatility with personnel as 11 players have already caught touchdown passes and a number of them have been from long distances. The biggest name to watch out for is Sammy Watkins (36 catches for 582 yards, 4 TD), who already has a 91-yard touchdown catch this season and has the speed and athleticism to be a threat on Sundays in the NFL. The running back to watch out for is Roderick McDowell (78 carries for 385 yards), but he has yet to find the end zone this season. Clemson’s defense, coming off a 24-14 win against Boston College, is giving up only 3.9 YPC on the ground this season while opponents have completed 56.0% of passes for 6.7 yards per attempt in the air.

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