If you wanna talk about a conference championship game with a huge gulf between the teams, this is it. The Florida State Seminoles weren’t that far from competing for the national title; the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, on the other hand, didn’t even win their division.
They’re only in the ACC Championship game, carrying a 6-6 record, 5-3 in conference play, because Miami are under a self-imposed bowl ban. The Yellow Jackets weren’t ranked once in the polls this season, losing all their games (Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia) to ranked opponents. On the other side of the equation, Florida State have been a top 10 for most of the season, only slipping in the last week due to a 37-26 loss to Florida. They’re ranked 8th in the nation with 41.5 points per game and 7th in the nation by allowing only 15.1 points.
Fair fight? Not so much. Georgia Tech’s defense has struggled throughout the season, causing Paul Johnson to fire his defensive coordinator. It didn’t really help them in a 42-10 loss to state rivals Georgia. We haven’t played very well defensively. There’s no secret about that. The last game was probably as bad as we’ve played all year against Georgia, and they had a lot to do with that. They’re a very good football team.
And the Seminoles, according to Johnson and everyone else, are a very good football team as well. Their quarterback, EJ Manuel, headed to the NFL draft once the season is over, will reach 3000 passing yards for the first time in his career at some point during this game. There are a few injuries the Seminoles are carrying into the game, including Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, but there’s still too much talent and speed on this squad to not make an easy game out of their clash with the Yellow Jackets.
While Manuel is prone to mistakes, like throwing three interceptions against the Gators in the previous week, it’s hard to see where these mistakes will be coming from when facing Georgia Tech. The only thing the Yellow Jackets seem to be holding on to is the possible return of Orwin Smith, who missed the game vs Georgia last week. With 673 yards on 73 carries, he’s averaging 9 yards per carry. There’s also the fact that FSU haven’t won a conference title game since 2005, but that’s holding on to numbers that don’t mean anything.
Prediction – Florida State might be going through some sort of downer looking back on a season that could have ended with a bigger prize at stake, but they haven’t been to a BCS Bowl since the 2005 Orange Bowl; that should keep them motivated enough against a team they should easily beat.