A conference title and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff are on the line Saturday (12/2/23) as No. 4 Florida State takes on No. 14 Louisville in Charlotte in this year’s ACC Championship Game. Get Louisville vs. Florida State odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Louisville to win at +110 odds.
Louisville vs. Florida State Prediction
There are those who will say that even if they win, Florida State – which would be a 13-0 Power Five conference champion – should miss the College Football Playoff. Those voices are completely wrong, and miss the essence of what makes sports special.
In football, you earn your place through hard work and tenacity. It shouldn’t be up to 13 people in a room in Texas to decide who might make for the best television. If the Seminoles do their job – finish undefeated and top their conference – they’ve earned the right to continue to prove themselves. Even if the likelihood is that without star quarterback Jordan Travis, they’ll fall flat.
You have to play the games, as is proven by the upsets we’ve seen just throughout the decade of the playoff, and more broadly, throughout the history of college football.
We can debate about how the committee might handle this potential decision, and their current rankings indicate they’re ready to do the right thing. But it’s hard to know what might happen to FSU if Alabama knocks off Georgia.
I don’t see tyhe Seminoles beating Louisville. The Cardinals are a phenomenal team, who might have a chance to make the playoff themselves had they not been caught up in the excitement of making their first-ever ACC title game. They fell victim to a classic lookahead spot, and dropped a vital regular-season finale to in-state rival Kentucky, effectively ending their slim chances at a playoff bid.
Louisville is 13th in the country in EPA per play, compared to ninth for Florida State – which built up most of the data behind that number with Travis at the helm. The Cardinals’ defense is the nation’s seventh-best by that metric, so they could have given the Seminoles fits even with Travis active and at his absolute best.
It’s not as if Tate Rodemaker, Travis’s backup, is on his own. FSU’s offense is incredibly talented with weapons like Keon Coleman, Johnny Wilson and Jaheim Bell to catch his passes. But without their star passer, the Seminoles are going to have a tough time against one of the conference’s best defenses.
FSU’s defense has had its metrics propped up by some weak opposition in recent weeks. It could have a really tough time with Louisville’s offense, specifically the ground game led by star back Jawhar Jordan. The Seminoles won’t be able to keep up on either side of the football, and Rodemaker’s short Cinderella story will come to a close.
After an unrepresentative performance in the loss to Kentucky, this is a great spot to invest in Louisville. This team is here for a reason, and should be able to slow down an iteration of the FSU offense that really struggled with a bad Florida defense in Rodemaker’s first start.
Louisville vs. Florida State Prediction: Louisville ML (+110)
Louisville vs. Florida State Best Odds
Florida State is now favored by just 2.5 points, although the number was as high as 3.5 at one point. The Seminoles are -130 on the moneyline compared to +110 for the Cardinals, and the total of 48.5 has odds of -110 on both sides.
Louisville vs. Florida State Key Matchups
Both of these teams generally throw the ball more effectively than they run it, but both will look to the ground in this one for different reasons. FSU will try to take the burden off of Rodemaker. Louisville will try to exploit a favorable matchup.
Florida State Rushing Offense vs. Louisville Run Defense
The FSU passing game with Travis and all of those fantastic pass catchers gets most of the attention. But the rushing attack has been very solid as well, namely lead back Trey Benson. He’s averaging over 6 yards per carry and has scored 14 times on the ground as he’s carried the vast majority of the load, although Travis had been a contributor on the ground around the goal line as well.
Benson does have the luxury of running behind a line that PFF considers to be the 20th-best run blocking unit in the nation. But he’s going up against an even better run defense, a Louisville unit that ranks sixth in EPA per play. They’ve allowed fewer than 100 yards per game and just 3.3 per carry, led by the excellent edge rusher Ashton Gillotte and off-ball linebacker Antonio Watts.
Louisville Rushing Offense vs. Florida State Run Defense
Jordan has had a real season to remember, as he’s already crossed the 1,000-yard plateau and has scored 13 times. He’s averaging an excellent 6.4 yards per carry, despite a line that is seen as just about average by PFF’s run blocking grades. Second back Isaac Guerendo has been solid as well, he’s picking up over 6 yards per tote himself and has racked up eight touchdowns of his own.
The FSU run defense ranks just 60th by EPA and 51st by PFF’s grading system, a far cry from the metrics pinned to their pass prevention unit. They’re giving up nearly 4 yards per rush, and over 140 per game. So Jordan will definitely have at least the opportunity to put up some numbers. Jared Verse is of course the big name on this defense, but he’s struggled a bit against the run; linebacker DJ Lundy has unquestionably been FSU’s best player in that arena.