Dan Scott: Clemson - FSU Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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OFFENSE

Clemson's offensive production, at least total yards per game, has increased
every week. But can it couple that production with enough points to win in
Tallahassee? It will be a tough go, to be sure. But if quarterback Willie
Simmons can continue to cut down mistakes and, at the same time, continue to
increase his playmaking, the Tigers have a shot. The Tigers must not only run
successfully, but must find a way to throw the ball downfield with some
effectiveness. Meanwhile, Florida State's offense hopes to prove its
ineffectiveness last Thursday night had more to do with the weather than with
Louisville's defense. Quarterback Chris Rix has all his receivers healthy
this year, and running back Greg Jones is a load at 248 pounds. Yet even with
a highly-rated offensive line, the FSU offense really hasn't set the world on
fire.

ADVANTAGE: Even


DEFENSE

The pressure for success on the defensive side of the ball rests mostly on
Clemson's front four. Can they stop the run? Can they pressure Rix? Will
defensive tackle Nick Eason play, and if so how much? Can his replacements,
Eric Coleman and Todd McClinton, provide capable support? And then this
question: Can the secondary continue its remarkable turnaround from last
year? For the Seminoles, rumblings that the team speed - especially in the
linebackers and secondary - was a step slow appeared to be justified against
Louisville? But, again, was that due in part to the weather? Regardless,
there appears to be an opportunity for Clemson to have some success against
the FSU secondary, which would be a switch from past years.


ADVANTAGE - Even


SPECIAL TEAMS

This is the kind of stage on which the Clemson special teams need to assert
themselves. Punter Wynn Kopp must avoid a repeat of his performance against
Georgia, the last time the Tigers played under the bright lights of national
television. And given an opportunity, Aaron Hunt must prove he can make the
big kick against the big teams in the clutch. The Seminoles historically are
aggressive in all facets of their kick coverages, which makes them vulnerable
to Clemson's assortment of fakes.

ADVANTAGE - Florida State


COACHING

Until Tommy beats Bobby, you have to give this category to the old man.
Besides, he's already on record as saying his team will be "mad" when they
take the field tonight. If he's correct, look out.

ADVANTAGE - Florida State


THE LOWDOWN

With 11 days to prepare, Clemson is as ready as it will ever be for Florida
State. But somehow, someway, something always seems to go wrong in
Tallahassee for the Tigers.


THE PICK

Florida State 38, Clemson 31


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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