No. 2 Florida State Hits Road, Visits No. 25 Louisville
Thursday night sees the start of a new rivalry in the Atlantic Coast Conference as No. 2 Florida State makes the trip to No. 25 Louisville in an Atlantic Division showdown.
Kickoff at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The first meeting between the two schools in 12 years will be a heated affair as the Cardinals, returning to the AP Top 25 for the first time the opening weeks of the season, look to upset the undefeated Seminoles.
The Story So Far
After a week off to recuperate from a narrow victory over Notre Dame, Florida State (7-0, 4-0 ACC) looks to resume the journey on what it hopes to be a trip to the first ever College Football Playoff.
The Seminoles ranked No. 2 in this week’s inaugural College Football Playoff rankings, released on Tuesday. Jimbo Fisher will look to steer his team to a similar (if not better) finish in six weeks’ time.
For many, Thursday night’s clash with the Cardinals marks the final test of the regular season for Florida State. After Week 10, the Seminoles’ schedule takes a decidedly noticeable turn for the easy, and even a potential conference championship game is likely to be a slam dunk for the team with the longest winning streak in the nation.
If the Seminoles run the table, it’s almost impossible to imagine the side not be included in the four-team College Football Playoff field, despite the ACC’s down year. A loss on Thursday would make it very difficult for any committee member to back the team from Tallahassee. Ergo, Thursday’s trip to Louisville presents a must win scenario for the road team.
In debutant season in the ACC, Louisville (6-2, 4-2 ACC) has so far put together a respectable resume. In-conference losses on the road to Virginia and Clemson have essentially extinguished any hope the team has of winning a berth in the conference title game, but Bobby Petrino will be eager for his side to continue to move forward positively.
Like Florida State, the Cardinals come into this one having rested up last weekend following a 30-18 bounce back win over North Carolina State on October 18. A win over the Seminoles on Thursday would undoubtedly be the result of the season as far as the Cardinals go.
A Louisville win may not be beyond the realms of plausibility either.
Once more Florida State finds itself subject to noise and outside interference, this time pertaining to the domestic abuse allegations surrounding running back Karlos Williams. Williams’ status remains uncertain right not, but another dose of off-the-field controversy has some questioning just how long the Seminoles can ride the storm.
Between 1970 and 2002, Florida State and Louisville took to the field against each other on 11 occasions. The Seminoles won 10 of those meetings.
The last game between the two schools took place on September 26, 2002. The Cardinals – then of Conference USA – emerged with a 26-20 overtime victory over the Seminoles, marking the first time Louisville had knocked off its higher-regarded opponent.
That game, which was played also played on a Thursday night, saw Louisville hand an undefeated Florida State side its first loss of the season. 12 years later the 2014 Cardinals team will be hoping lightning strikes twice.
Florida State will be without center Austin Barron, out indefinitely with an arm injury, while backup running back Mario Pender (foot) is questionable.
Louisville defensive back Jermaine Reve (knee) is out indefinitely, while running back Corvin Lamb (knee) is out for the season.
Check out the full injury list
Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals odds for 10/30/2014
Moneyline: Florida State (-245) opened as the favorite over Louisville (+161) on the moneyline but the discrepancy between the two has slimmed. At the time of writing, online sportsbook Bookmaker had the Seminoles at -190 and the Cardinals at +161.
The uncertainty around Karlos Williams seems to have dimmed some bettors’ views of Jimbo Fisher’s side.
Still, Florida State has won 23 straight dating back to 2012 so there are plenty willing to back the defending national champions.
Spread: The spread opened at 8.5 but has fallen as low as 4 with some sportsbooks.
Florida State (1-6-0 ATS) has struggled mightily against the spread this season and has yet to cover when playing on the road.
Louisville (5-3-0 ATS) has fared better but is just 2-2-0 ATS when playing at home.
Florida State is 4-10-0 ATS in its last 14 road games, while Louisville is 3-6-0 ATS in its last nine at home.
Total: The total opened at 52 and has dropped as low as 50 at the time of writing.
Florida State (4-3-0 O/U) has marginally favored the over this season, while Louisville (1-6-1 O/U) has heartily favored the under.
The total has gone over in seven of Florida State’s last eight road games, but under in five of Louisville’s last seven. Something has got to give on Thursday night.
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