Already facing one of the biggest potential hurdles in its national title defense, Florida State will have to take on visiting Clemson with its Heisman Trophy quarterback on the bench for the first half. The top-ranked Seminoles will play the first half without Jameis Winston, who was benched for disciplinary reasons after shouting a vulgar phrase on campus Tuesday. Winston's absence opens the door for the No. 24 Tigers to claim their first victory over a top-ranked team.
The Seminoles are riding an 18-game winning streak and have won 15 straight against ACC foes, but Winston's latest off-field transgression has put them in a tough spot against a capable conference opponent. "I did something, so I've got to accept my consequences," Winston said in a press conference Wednesday. "We're going to think about moving forward and winning the game." Sophomore Sean Maguire is expected to make his first career start in place of Winston, who rolled up 444 passing yards in last year's 51-14 win at Clemson.
TV: 8:18 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Florida State -17.
ABOUT CLEMSON (1-1, 0-0 ACC): The Tigers were shut out in the second half of a season-opening 45-21 loss to Georgia, but they took out their offensive frustrations on South Carolina State two weeks ago, racking up 735 total yards in a 73-7 victory. Quarterback Cole Stoudt has passed for 446 yards and just one touchdown while no running back has more than 82 yards for the Tigers, who need some playmakers to emerge to upset the Seminoles. Clemson will look for star defensive end Vic Beasley to harass Maguire and Winston and add to his 23 career sacks, the most among active FBS players.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (2-0, 0-0): The Seminoles have scored 30 or more points in 17 consecutive games, but that could be put to the test without their star quarterback for a half. Winston's absence also has an impact on receiver Rashad Greene, whose 283 receiving yards are the most in school history through two games. Luckily for the Seminoles, they can lean on a stout defense that has been especially strong against the pass, allowing 137.5 yards per game through the air.
1. Florida State has scored 80 more touchdowns than its opponents during its 18-game winning streak.
2. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has six wins against top-10 teams, one behind Danny Ford for the most in program history.
3. The Seminoles are 22-0 under coach Jimbo Fisher when rushing for 200 yards or more.
PREDICTION: Florida State 26, Clemson 20