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Clemson may finally have edge over Seminoles in ACC game

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This time, they have the edge, right?

This time, Clemson is at home. This time, they have the established quarterback. This time, they are the darlings of the media poll that picks them to win their half of the standings.

This time, they should beat the Florida State Seminoles.


The Tigers have become one of America’s finest programs, winning 10 games or more for four straight seasons. No one likes to go to Death Valley to play. Quarterback DeShaun Watson may be the conference’s best player at quarterback.

Still, in Clemson, FSU is that monster under the bed. No matter how good the Tigers seem to be, they usually cannot get to the other side of the Seminoles. FSU has won three straight games and four of the last five. Think about this for a minute: Since FSU started league play in 1992, the Seminoles have won 15 league titles in football; Clemson has won one, in 2011, with the nation’s 22nd-ranked team.

Overall, Clemson has won almost as many ACC titles (15-14), but then, it had a 36-year head start.

Remember 2013? Clemson was home then, too, and it had the established quarterback then, too. And Jameis Winston had a highlight-reel night, leading the Seminoles to a 51-14 victory.

Then there was last year, when Winston was suspended from the game. And Sean McGuire threw for more than 300 yards, and the Seminoles won 23-17 on its way to the national playoffs. Afterward, the Tigers were left scratching their heads, especially after head coach Dabo Swinney went for a first-down on fourth-and-one in overtime instead of taking the lead on a field goal.

That might have been the ultimate Jimbo over Dabo moment.

It always seems to be something.

This year, the Seminoles are ranked slightly ahead of Clemson in most of the preseason polls. But even in Tallahassee, fans circle Nov. 7 as the best test when they take on Clemson.

Yeah, Clemson looks tough all right.

But can the Tigers finally get past FSU?

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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