Championship Week: Duke, yes, Duke, stands in Florida State’s way of a BCS appearance

ACC Championship Game
(20) Duke vs. (1) Florida State
8 p.m. ET, Dec. 6, Bank of America Stadium


Duke: Think about this for a second. Had Duke lost to North Carolina on Saturday there would have been a five-way tie for the ACC Coastal Division. Yes. A five-way tie. But while the other four teams in that scenario stumbled down the stretch in their bids to win the division outright, Duke won its last six games to win the Coastal by a game.

Florida State: By obliterating everyone in its path. Florida State's average margin of victory this season is a whopping 38 points. Yeah, we'll keep the possibility that the ACC is worse than the Big Ten quiet, but even in a poor conference that is an impressive margin of victory. Oh, and the Seminoles have the presumptive Heisman winner at quarterback who is now free of the off-field case that he's been involved in.


Anthony Boone, QB, Duke: Boone and Brandon Connette have split time throughout the season as Duke's signal caller, but Boone has taken the majority of snaps over the past two games. And in those two games he's thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions. If Duke is to pull the upset, neither Boone nor Connette can afford to turn the ball over. The fewer chances Florida State gets, the better for the Blue Devils.

Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State: OK, so this is more than one player, but it's hard to single out one of Florida State's three-headed monster at running back. Freeman has the most carries and yards of the bunch, but he's got the lowest yards-per-carry. At 5.9. Yeah, this is a good trio. Duke was 11th out of 14 teams in the ACC in rush defense. While eyes will be on Jameis Winston, it may be Florida State's ground game that holds the keys for the Seminoles.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: To see if Duke can pull the incredible upset and cap the best season in school history. Or if Jameis Winston will have his proverbial Heisman Moment. Plus this is a battle of the two coaches who will be the leading vote-getters in the ACC Coach of the Year voting. It's just that one has a lot of NFL talent.

WHAT'S ON THE LINE: A BCS title game appearance for Florida State and an Orange Bowl berth for Duke. If Duke loses, it's likely headed to the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, a game that many would have considered highly unlikely at the beginning of the season.

PREDICTION: 41-17 Florida State. Coach David Cutcliffe will have his Blue Devils prepared and this game won't get out of hand early. But Florida State has the superior talent and it'll show in the second half when the Seminoles hit a couple long touchdowns on the ground and in the air to pull away.

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