Florida State Seminoles at Virginia Tech Hokies (+14.5, 51.5)
Florida State is homing in on its first ACC Atlantic Division title in seven years. Standing in the sixth-ranked Seminoles' way next is a team they’ve grown accustomed to fighting with for conference supremacy - at least up until this season. The well-rested Seminoles travel to Blacksburg on Thursday night to face struggling rival Virginia Tech in a contest loaded with ACC title game implications.
Florida State throttled Duke 48-7 prior to taking a week off. Now, the Seminoles need to win their final two conference games to secure a berth in the ACC championship game and a shot at their first BCS bowl appearance since 2005. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s chances at reaching the ACC title game were dealt a blow with an embarrassing 30-12 loss to Miami last Thursday. This is only the third regular-season ACC contest between the teams. In the most recent meeting, Virginia Tech prevailed 44-33 in the 2010 ACC championship game.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Florida State opened at -13 and sharps jumped them up to -14.5. The buy-back came last night and this morning when the line moved back to 13.5. The total made a significant move, going from 51.5 to 50 since yesterday.
WEATHER: The forecast is calling for clear skies and temperatures in the mid 30s. Winds are expected to blow NW at 9 mph.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (8-1, 5-1 ACC, 3-5 ATS): The Seminoles are the only team in the nation ranked in the top 10 in offense (seventh, 524.5 yards per game) and defense (first, 227.1). Florida State's explosive offense scored on the third play from scrimmage against Duke as E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene for a 71-yard touchdown and led 31-0 after 20 minutes. Devonta Freeman and sophomore James Wilder Jr., the duo helping replace Chris Thompson (torn ACL), combined for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Meanwhile, the defense, led by All-American candidate DT Bjoern Werner (eight sacks on the season), allowed only 232 yards.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (4-5, 2-3 ACC, 2-7 ATS): The Hokies have lost two straight and four of their last five after a forgettable showing against Miami. Virginia Tech outgained Miami by nearly 100 yards (421-347) and ran 24 more plays (82-58), but lost because it managed only two field goals in four red zone trips. Even the special teams, a staple of Frank Beamer-coached squads, were outplayed. Miami blocked a punt, which led to a score. Offensively, quarterback Logan Thomas (19-of-37, 199 yards, two interceptions versus Miami) has regressed and, as a result, the Hokies are a middling 69th in scoring offense (27.1 points) and 91st in turnover margin (minus-.56).
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
1. Said Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher, on playing in Blacksburg: “It’s a great challenge. That’s a very tough environment, hostile environment.” Florida State lost during its only trip there in 2007.
2. The Hokies need to win two of their final three games to avoid missing out on a bowl game for the first time in 20 years.
3. The Seminoles, who beat Virginia Tech for the 2000 national title, also knocked off the Hokies in the first ACC title game in 2005.