The No. 4 Seminoles hold off Florida in final regular-season game
LOUISVILLE, Ky.: Florida State wasn’t dominant against its archrival, but the No. 4 Seminoles were effective enough to remain unbeaten — and to pop back into the College Football Playoff’s top four.
The No. 4 Seminoles are tabling those playoff talks for now with No. 15 Louisville on the clock Saturday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. Louisville, led by first-year coach and native son Jeff Brohm, is eager to prove its impressive transition is no illusion against an old conference foe.
Florida State (12-0, 8-0 ACC, No. 4 CFP) is playing in its first conference championship game in almost a decade. Both schools have kept the ACC in playoff discussions at points this season, but a Florida State win in Charlotte, North Carolina, would provide the league its best chance of getting into the four-team field that will be announced Sunday night.
The championship game matches teams with top-20 defenses and top-30 offenses. The schools have played each other annually in the Atlantic Division since Louisville joined in 2014, but didn’t face each other this season with divisional play eliminated.
Backup Tate Rodemaker is now behind center and has directed two victories. That includes last week’s 24-15 road defeat of rival Florida, a game the Seminoles trailed 12-0 before clamping down and outscoring the Gators 24-3.
Louisville has outscored opponents 97-21 in the first quarter, with 14 of those points allowed two weeks ago at Miami. The Cardinals also close well (95-50 in the fourth quarter), though Kentucky outscored them 17-7 in the final quarter with chunk-play touchdowns and a 67-7 advantage in rushing yards.
Florida State’s five turnovers committed are the nation’s fewest, while its plus-11 margin ranks fifth in FBS. The Seminoles have thrown just two interceptions all year and none over the past six games.
Florida State and Louisville each have seven victories over bowl-eligible Power Five teams, tied for the most in the nation.