Florida State @ Pittsburgh 8:00 PM ET
Game # 219-220
Current Line: Florida State -11.0/49.0
College football odds show the Seminoles as an 11.0-point road favorite with the total at 49.0. The 4-day extended weather forecast calls for a game time temperature of 77 degrees, a 40% chance of rain, and winds from the south at 6 to 11 miles per hour.
The Experience Factor
Florida State returns 7 starters on offense and 4 on defense. The Seminoles had 11 players selected in the 2013 NFL draft. You can also account for the fact that 6 assistant coaches from a season ago are no longer a part of the 2013 staff due to an assortment of reasons. The biggest lost for the offense is at the quarterback position as E.J. Manuel graduated and was a 2013 first round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills. In addition last year’s backup quarterback Clint Trickett has transferred to West Virginia.
The Pittsburgh Panthers return 6 players on offense and 9 on the defensive side of the ball. The Panthers also must break in a new quarterback as they lost 4-year starter Tino Sunseri to graduation. That wasn’t the only significant loss to the offense as running back Ray Graham who accounted for 3271 yards rushing in his Pitt career graduated as well. The good news is the defense will be very experienced. The stop unit held opponents to 20 points and 330 yards per game in 2012.
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The Head Coaches
Jimbo Fisher heads into his 4th season as head coach at Florida St. after taking over from head coaching icon Bobby Bowden. In his first 3 seasons in charge Fisher’s teams have gone 31-10 and appeared in a bowl game in each of those campaigns. Florida State had an outstanding 12-2 season a year ago that concluded with a BCS Orange Bowl 31-10 win over Northern Illinois. Fisher will seek to keep a streak of 36 winning seasons in a row and 31 consecutive bowl appearances in tact for the Florida State football program.
This will be the first time since 2010 that Pittsburgh will see a head coach return from the previous season. The program has gone through a tumultuous stretch since Dave Wannstedt was fired after the completion of the 2010 campaign. Pittsburgh hired former Miami-Ohio coach Mike Haywood as their new head coach in 2011. The head coaching carousel seemed to travel at warp speed from that point forward. Haywood was fired weeks after being hired stemming from a domestic abuse charge. Todd Graham was then lured away from Rice to become the new head coach in 2011. The Panthers were an unimpressive 6-7 under Graham in his first and only year on the job. Upon completion of the 2011 season Graham bolted to take over the head coaching duties at Arizona State. Thus prompting the hiring of the 4th head coach in 3 seasons when Paul Chryst was brought in. The Panthers went 6-6 in the 2012 regular season with Chryst. They did receive a bowl invitation, but unfortunately were crushed by Mississippi 38-17 resulting in back to back 6-7 seasons.
Underdogs in Home Openers
Teams that have been underdogs in their home openers have gone a dismal 190-527-7 straight up since the start of the 1980 season. If that home team is an underdog of 7.0 or more while also playing in their season opener as well, versus an opponent who won 9 or more games in the previous season, and that opponent is playing in their first game of the year, then the home team is a dismal 3-12 ATS since the start of the 1991 season. The home team lost all 15 of those games straight up by an average of 28.5 points per game.
College Football Pick: A small lean in this contest goes to the #11 ranked Florida St. Seminoles minus the points at 5Dimes.