For the first time in 10 years, I am looking forward to the ACC Championship today in Charlotte, NC (8pm Eastern, ABC). The preseason favorite to win the ACC, The Florida State Seminoles (or as I like to call them, “The Criminals”) take on a “usual” basketball powerhouse, but their football program is starting to make some “positive” noise in the ACC. That team is the school from Durham, NC…The Duke Blue Devils. I have interested in this game for several reasons. They are:
– I have couple of family members that are Duke Alumnus and I was born to root for the Blue & White in all sports (including football)
– Growing up in a ACC household, I want the ACC to shine and capture another national championship (I am tired of the dominance of the SEC and their bandwagon fans…more on that on a later column)
The official line for this game is 28 points (according to the USA Today). Not only is that “disrespectful” to the Blue Devils, but most fans are taking Florida State by the points. Whereas, I don’t blame them, I think Duke will cover the 28 (hell…I think they will cover 21 points) Duke was a (2) touchdown underdog against Virginia Tech and Miami. What happen in those games…I rest my case!!
Florida State is coming into this game with the best scoring defense in the country (11 PPG), but yet they gave up 34 to an “average” Boston College team. I know about Jameis Winston (I hope all college football fans do). He has been the best player in college football this season for a reason (3,490 yards passing, 35 touchdowns, 8 INTs). Even though Winston is the leader on this team, they have a “great” supporting cast. There talented running backs-by-committee backfield includes: Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams, and James Wilder Jr. (2,019 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns). Along with their weapons in the backfield, they also have a group of three receivers, which includes: Rashard Greene, Kelvin Benjamin, and Kenny Shaw (2,607 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns).
The Duke Blue Devils have “A LOT” of talent as well on the offensive side of the ball. The quarterback-duo of Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette give defensive coordinators “major” headaches. Both are them can throw the ball as well as run the ball between the tackles. When the Blue Devils get into the “red-zone”, don’t be surprised to see Connette in the game. He is a “Bigger” body that can move the ball” Just like Florida State, Duke also uses a lot of running backs. Five running backs for the Blue Devils this season have average over 5 yards/carry. They like to run between the tackles and enjoy winning the “time possession” battle. One of the most underrated wide receiver in the ACC this season (as well as nationwide) is Jamison Crowder (88 catches, 1,131 yards, and 8 total TDs) I enjoy watching this guy play and he will be playing on Sunday in the near future.
The X-factors for this ACC Championship game will be the defensive backfield for both teams. Will FSU’s defensive back LaMarcus Joyner be able to stop Crowder? Will the combination of Duke’s defensive backs Ross Cockrell (All-ACC) and Ohio State Buckeye transfer Jeremy Cash be able to slow down all of the weapons that Florida State have at Wide Receiver? Whoever defensive backfield plays better (and avoid the “BIG” plays), will win this game!
I know what all of you are thinking…I must be on “Something” to think that Duke actually have a chance to win this game. Duke and Florida State have had 4 common opponents this year (Miami, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and N.C. State).The record of those four teams that Duke & Florida State face this season is 22-26. Like I said before, I am 50/50 on this game; I think Florida State will win the game (and go on to win the National Championship). If I was a betting man, I will take Duke in the 28 points. I am going to make two predictions because I can.
“My Common Sense” Pick: Florida State 42 Duke 24
“My Emotional” Pick : Duke 38 Florida State 34
Until Next Week…
*Kurt Johnson is a Programming Intern/ Sports Blogger at Atlanta Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @kjexperience.