Florida State takes aim at its 25th consecutive win Saturday when the 'Noles host the Virginia Cavaliers. Read on for a preview and free college football pick for the matchup.
The wins may not be coming easily for Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles, but they keep coming nonetheless. Fisher and the 'Noles put a 24-game win streak on the line Saturday evening in front of the home fans against the Virginia Cavaliers, and the College Football odds suggest No. 25 is in the bag.
ESPN begins its broadcast of the ACC clash at 6:30 PM (ET), and the FSU is 18 point chalk. Keep your eyes on SBR's live NCAA football odds for the total which should be out late Tuesday afternoon.
It's the first time the two schools have met on the gridiron in nearly three years, and Virginia is certainly hoping for a similar outcome as that 2011 collision. The Cavaliers came to Tallahassee as 17 point underdogs then, and left town with a 14-13 upset. That is one of only three wins they have in the series, with Florida State emerging victorious in the other 14 battles.
The final never even sniffed a 46½ point total, leaving 'under' bettors with a winning ticket for the 10th consecutive contest.
UVA Falls Below .500 With Latest Loss
Time is starting to run out for head coach Mike London to get his squad bowl-eligible for the first time since that 2011 season. Realistically, the Cavaliers need to win out to have a chance at a postseason invite since one of their four wins came against Richmond.
Four of their five losses were close-but-no-cigar affairs, starting with the 28-20 setback in the season-opener in a game the Cavs were getting 19 at the closing bell from college football oddsmakers. Virginia was a 16 point underdog in a 41-33 loss at then-No. 21 BYU, and fell to ACC rivals Duke and North Carolina by a combined eight points.
London's lads have been playing decently on the defensive side of things, giving up 40+ yards per game less than FSU's stop unit. The offense, however, has been mediocre at best and ranks in the bottom third nationally in scoring (26.7 ppg).
About the only good news is Virginia heads into this contest in good health, the only recent key injury being to wide receiver Miles Gooch. The 6-3 Georgia native will miss the rest his senior season after suffering a knee injury in the loss to the Tar Heels, and was second on the team with 24 receptions when it occurred.
'Noles Have Big Rivalry Game On Deck
Virginia should be the easiest opponent left on Florida State's schedule, and therein lies the danger for Fisher and his staff. It's just about impossible to keep Seminole players from at least peeking ahead to next week's trip to Miami to face the Hurricanes, plus they can also see Boston College and Florida to follow.
Their win streak appeared to be coming to an end last week when the Seminoles traveled to Louisville and trailed 21-0 in the opening stanza. A defensive score started the rally late in the second quarter, Jameis Winston overcame three early picks with three TD passes and Dalvin Cook had two long scoring jaunts to highlight the eventual 42-31 victory.
Fisher's troops might be a little thin at linebacker for this one with both EJ Levenberry and Jacob Pugh questionable due to concussions. Backup tailback Mario Pender is listed under the same status due to an ankle injury.
There's nothing threatening in the current weather forecast, temps in the low-to-mid 60s for kickoff and only a 10% chance of rain with very little wind. I'm really more interested in playing the total for this one since that 'under streak is hard to ignore, but since the side is all that's available right now, let's bite the bullet with a free College Football pick on FSU despite the Seminoles sitting 2-6 ATS.
Free College Football Pick: Florida State -18 at Bet365
Willie Bee's Season: 49-29-1 (+17.10)