Photo courtesy of Mike Erdelyi/Florida State athletics

“Is there any hope?”

“There never was much hope, just a fools hope.”

This conversation took place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, between a wizard and a hobbit shortly before the final battle. It wasn’t looking good for the heroes. Clemson week feels sort of similar, like the eve of a terrible battle you know is coming, but can’t escape.

Much like this preview, the wizard does not expect victory, but instead goes on to tell the hobbit that dying isn’t so bad after all.

Although it feels like an eternity since the last time that Florida State was competitive against the Tigers, the two teams were neck-and-neck as recently as 2016. Florida State football has seen two new head coaches and historic lows since then, while Clemson has been in the College Football Playoff every year.

Despite Clemson’s recent streak, Florida State leads the all-time series, 20-13.

FLORIDA STATE VS (4) CLEMSON

  • Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Saturday, Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Clemson -35.5, O/U 64
  • Last Game:
    • FSU: L, 22-38, NC State
    • Clemson: L, 40-47, Notre Dame

WHEN FSU’S ON OFFENSE

Just when freshman quarterback Chubba Purdy started to get rolling, another setback happened. The promising signal caller is now out for the season after re-aggravating his shoulder injury.

The Seminole offense now rests on a banged-up Jordan Travis. It’s looking like Travis will be ready to go for Clemson, but he will need to be extremely careful not to put himself in harm’s way.

The only scholarship quarterback remaining behind Travis is true freshman Tate Rodemaker. The young backup has shown he is not ready to run the offense in his limited playing time this year.

The ‘Noles’ offense dropped three spots in ESPN’s SP+ rankings this week to 82nd. They seem to have settled in the high-70s to low-80s range for this year.

Whatever offensive expectations you have for this game, throw them out the window. Clemson’s defense is by far the best the Seminoles will face this year, currently ranked seventh in the country. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables runs a hard-nosed defense with exotic blitz packages, and will wreak havoc on the young Seminole offensive line.

WHEN FSU’S ON DEFENSE

The Seminole defense is at rock bottom, and continues to get worse. Already 106th of 125 active teams in defensive efficiency, the Seminoles allowed North Carolina State to walk all over them in their last game. This performance caused the unit to drop another three spots to 109th.

What happens when the 109th-most efficient defense meets the sixth-ranked offense in the country? It’s not pretty.

The question is not whether or not the Tigers will score, but how much and how often before head coach Dabo Swinney calls off the dogs and burns the clock.

To make matters worse for the ‘Noles, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has been cleared to play after missing the previous two weeks due to COVID-19. The junior quarterback has dropped in the Heisman rankings, so he will be looking to rectify that this weekend.

PREDICTIONS

John: Clemson, 63-14. Elite coaching vs. coaching that isn’t ready does not mix well.

James: Clemson, 222-0. Clemson will try and beat Georgia Tech’s 1916 all-time scoring record.

Cory: Clemson, 73-7. Complete and utter domination. Ready the alcohol.

Mike: Clemson, 59-12. There isn’t a single area where Florida State holds an edge over Clemson. The Seminoles are short-handed, sporting a banged up roster and probably not all that healthy at quarterback. The Tigers will become the first ACC team to beat FSU three straight times at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Jake: Clemson, 80-3. It’s clear that Travis is not going to be fully healthy and Rodemaker is not ready, so expect more three-and-outs than points. Clemson’s punter comes in late and goes 3-for-3 passing with a touchdown.