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Clemson, FSU prepare for Top 10 showdown

The SportsXchange

The Atlantic Coast Conference wanted to be back on the big stage and in the big picture.

The Florida State-Clemson showdown has finally arrived on the schedule.

The undefeated teams will meet Saturday night at Clemson. The outcome figures to go a long way in settling the Atlantic Division representative in the ACC championship game.

But that won't be the storyline for this game. That's because there's the national championship scenario that factors into this clash between two Top 10 teams. That's the kind of buzz the ACC has been coveting.

The Tigers aren't exactly sprinting into the matchup with Florida State, but at least they showed they could grind out a victory when their offense doesn't have a free go of it.

They gave away a couple of fumbles that were costly against Boston College and seemed to be out of sync for stretches of the game.

QB Tajh Boyd became the school's all-time leader in passing yards with a 334-yard performance. Even though he threw for only one touchdown, he kept his Heisman Trophy candidacy in good order.

The Tigers are 6-0 for the second time in three seasons, keeping the expectations on a steady rise.

Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher put the emphasis on across-the-board improvement during the Seminoles' open week on the schedule, even with what promised to be a monumental clash with Clemson looming next.

That might have been a tough sell for Fisher, whose team was coming off a 63-0 pounding of a then-nationally ranked Maryland team.

There was an obvious positive fallout from the game against Maryland, with Fisher noting what he referred to as "some tremendous strides in how (the defense) did things."

Still, however you spin it, the Seminoles had extra time to prepare for the Clemson showdown with an open date leading to the game.

The time off provided more time for the accolades to roll in for redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston. Fisher has been careful, yet forthcoming, with the praise as well. And the comparisons to Clemson QB Tajh Boyd are bound to be part of the conversation in the days ahead.

"It will be a storyline," Fisher said. "But again, they don't play against each other. What Jameis has to do is manager the game, run our team, put our team in position to score points."
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