Clemson Football is preparing to host the Florida State Seminoles this Saturday in Death Valley. The Noles are ranked 4th in the latest AP Poll, while the Tigers are unranked.
Nevertheless, FSU is only a 2.5-point favorite on most books right now.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Florida State didn’t win as big as most thought they would on the road against Boston College, so that has leveled expectations for the Noles in the tougher road environment they will visit this weekend.
The main reason, however, is that Clemson and FSU are still seen as peers in the talent category. While the Seminoles have most of the voters on their side because of their advantage in experience, the rankings that are driven by algorithms (which tend to influence spreads) believe this contest will be closer than expected.
Earlier this week, Bill Connelly posted picks for Week 4 based on his SP+ system, and it was the Tigers who were predicted to come out on top.
Full disclosure: I’ve been critical of Connelly’s SP+ system in the past. I’ve often thought that the algorithm relies too much on historical statistics that aren’t always representative of the team in the here and now. For example, he has that asterisk next to Colorado’s prediction because he probably realizes the Buffaloes historical record isn’t a great predictor for the 2023 squad.
Last season, I blamed Connelly/SP+ for the mysterious shrinking spread in the FSU game. Then it turned out SP+’s prediction wasn’t all that wrong after all. Crow does taste awful.
Clemson Football has all the tools needed to defeat Florida State
I’m not pointing out Connelly’s projections to say that Clemson should be favored (they shouldn’t) or to suggest that Florida State can’t win in Death Valley (they can). No one should take Florida State lightly because they happened to be looking ahead to a big game and got caught sleeping during the Red Bandana game in Chestnut Hill last weekend.
I’m pointing it out to back up the notion that this won’t be the blowout many expected following Clemson’s opening-week loss to Duke. No matter what some of my fellow FanSided peers from Tallahassee might have suggested, there is absolutely no reason for the Tigers to fear a takeover by the Seminole fans or by the team.
They can focus on Clemson’s away team seating plan. I’ll focus on the seven game winning streak and the algorithm that was right last year.