Championship Week has arrived, and the stakes could hardly be higher for either team. At stake is not just a conference title, but also an Orange Bowl berth. Based on records alone (10-2 Florida State v. 6-6 Georgia Tech), the game appears to be a mismatch, but when there’s this much at stake, never count out an underdog.
Kickoff: 8:00 pm EST
Series: Florida State leads 12-9-1
Series since 1992 when FSU joined the ACC: 12-2
Last Meeting: October 10, 2009: Georgia Tech 49, Florida State 44
Line, purely for entertainment and “Make Your Buddy Do Stupid Stuff” bets: Florida State -14 as of Thursday
For Florida State, a trip to Miami was expected at the beginning of the season whether for the Orange Bowl game or the BCS National Championship. Despite disappointing losses to NC State and Florida, the Noles can still finish their season with a BCS berth and take the next step in returning to the mid-90s glory days. A conference title would also be Jimbo Fisher’s second ACC championship since taking over for the legendary Bobby Bowden.
For Georgia Tech, this game means everything. Coming off a blowout loss to rival Georgia, the Yellow Jackets are looking to guarantee a second-straight season of .500 or better under Head Coach Paul Johnson. Tech is also looking to return to the BCS for the first time since the 2009 season. A loss puts Tech in the awkward position of awaiting an NCAA ruling to determine their bowl eligibility.
The game itself pits Florida State’s top-10 defense against Georgia Tech’s top-3 rushing attack. Many expect FSU’s defense to win out because of their defense, but they have a short amount of time to prepare for the Jackets’ option attack. Adding to the woes on D, the Noles lost leading tackler and starting defensinve lineman Cornellius Carradine to a torn ACL.
Georgia Tech’s offense should give them more than a fighting chance. Earlier this year, the Yellow Jackets hung 68 points in a win at North Carolina, the team that would be playing FSU in this game if they were eligible for the postseason. They are far from easy to stop. If Tech can maintain their 323.3 yards per game rushing average and can overcome their passing game struggles, they may just end up in Miami.
Stat that makes it sound like Florida State should win: 41.5 v. 30.7 – For all the talk of Georgia Tech’s offense, FSU’s is actually better. The Noles are ranked 8th in FBS in points scored with 41.5 points per game, while Georgia Tech’s scoring defense allows 30.7, good for just 86th in FBS.
Stat that makes it sound like Georgia Tech should win: 0-2 – Florida State has not beaten Georgia Tech since 2003.