College football programs across the country may only be four short weeks into the season, but that has not stopped prediction rhetoric from seeping into the dialogues of both reporters and fans of the ACC. Who will represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 7 could largely be decided by who wins the Oct. 19 game between No. 3 Clemson and No. 8 Florida State. With the impending game on the minds of both Clemson and FSU fans alike, the question and subsequent predictions remain: Will we see the winner of the quickly-approaching Death Valley matchup in Charlotte at the end of the season?
FSU is ranked first in the conference, followed next by Clemson despite this week’s AP poll. Although freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has proven that he and his Seminoles squad are deserving of national attention, will the team’s less-than-impressive schedule leading into the matchup have prepared them for Tajh Boyd’s offensive onslaught that brought Top 10-ranked Georgia to its knees?
That remains to be seen. FSU has scored a total of 157 points in just three games (Clemson is averaging a little under 37 points in three games in comparison to nearly 52 PPG for FSU), but Clemson has seen more worthy opponents in both Georgia and North Carolina State than FSU has so far. Both teams are likely to go into the game still undefeated, as neither opponent faces a ranked team prior to the matchup and FSU will be coming off a bye week.
But like predictions go, this chatter is not solely regarding the outcome of one mid-October game, but rather its implications towards a more season-defining end result.
A loss will be particularly detrimental to either team’s conference championship hopes, but FSU’s challenges will not stop following its appearance in Death Valley; it will have to face No. 15 Miami that has recently shown impressive determination to ultimately represent the Coastal Division in December.