FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (10-2)
vs. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS (6-6)
ACC Championship Game - Charlotte, NC
Kickoff: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Florida State -14, Total: 60.5
The ACC Championship Game in Charlotte features two teams coming off lopsided defeats to in-state rivals with No. 13 Florida State heavily favored over 6-6 Georgia Tech.
FSU lost 37-26 at home to Florida, while Tech fell 42-10 at Georgia last weekend. The Yellow Jackets have won the only two meetings between these schools since 2004, most recently prevailing 49-44 in 2009. FSU has beaten ACC foes by an average score of 40 to 16 this season, but is just 3-5 ATS in these games. Georgia Tech has a four-game ACC win streak (SU and ATS) with 45.0 PPG and 368 rush YPG in this span. Both quarterbacks are dealing with injuries, with EJ Manuel (head) hurting for the 'Noles and Tech QB Tevin Washington injuring his wrist last week. Both players are expected to start on Saturday though.
Will the Seminoles claim the ACC title in a lopsided affair? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
Manuel ranks eighth in the nation in passing efficiency with 2,972 yards (9.1 YPA), 22 TD and 9 INT. However, the senior has been terrible in his past two games, throwing for a combined 331 yards (5.9 YPA), 3 TD and 4 INT. The Gators picked him off three times last week. The team has also been hurt by the loss of top rusher Chris Thompson (knee) who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 20. In four games since, FSU has just 149 rushing YPG, a far cry from the 233 rushing YPG before Thompson's injury. Sophomore RB Devonta Freeman has tried to pick up the slack, but he has been up-and-down in the past four weeks, rushing for 104 yards, minus-5 yards, 148 yards and 37 yards in the last game. FSU continues to be its own worst enemy in terms of ball protection, committing 2+ turnovers in each of the past six weeks, totaling 17 giveaways over this stretch. Defensively, the 'Noles remain one of the better units in the country, ranking second in FBS in total defense (249 YPG), fourth in rushing defense (85 YPG), sixth in passing defense (164 YPG) and seventh in scoring defense (15.1 PPG allowed). Florida State also leads the ACC with 2.7 sacks per game.
The senior Washington is looking to prolong his career that has seen him score 32 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons. He also threw for 3 TD in his last ACC game two weeks ago against Duke. Washington may get a few more carries than usual with top RB Orwin Smith (673 rush yds) questionable with an ankle injury. Smith did not play in last week's loss to Georgia, a game where seven different Yellow Jackets had 5+ carries. David Sims led the team with 71 yards on 14 attempts (5.1 YPC), marking his third straight game with 60+ rushing yards and a touchdown. Georgia Tech's defense has struggled all year, allowing 40+ points in six of the past nine games. The Jackets also allow 392 total YPG, and have just 5.1 Tackles For Loss per game (88th in FBS). And for a team that runs the ball as much as Tech does, its +3 turnover margin (19 takeaways, 16 giveaways) isn't very special.