Pittsburgh Panthers Vs. Florida State Seminoles Free Pick 9/2/13

Pittsburgh Panthers Vs. Florida State Seminoles Free Pick 9/2/13
2013-09-02 07:00:00 EDT

The Florida State Seminoles travel to Pittsburgh to play the Panthers in week one of the 2013 college football season.

The Seminoles of Florida State are coming off their first ACC title since 2005. Coach Jimbo Fisher has 10 starters returning, 6 on offense and 4 on defense. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston will take over at quarterback, after EJ Manuel left for the NFL. Winston was rated by many as the nation’s #1 quarterback coming out of Alabama two years ago. Florida State returns two junior running backs with starting experience. Devonta Freeman finished with 660 yards and 9 touchdowns last season, while James Wilder Jr. had 635 yards and 11 touchdowns. The receiving group is deep and talented, led by junior Rashad Greene. Green has great breakaway speed and led the Seminoles in receptions with 57 and yards with 741 last season. The Seminoles are solid up front on the line, with four starters returning from last season. The defense for the Seminoles ranked #2 in total defense in 2012. The new defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, will need to solidify the defensive line after losing DE Bjoern Werner to the NFL, but he will have a ton of talent at linebacker and in the secondary. DT Timmy Jernigan will be a disruptive force up front for the Seminoles this season, while CB Lamarcus Joyner will be the leader in the secondary for Florida State. Joyner is an elite athlete who can cover well in space, is a big hitter despite his size, and will most likely be used in blitz package this season. The Seminoles should earn a spot back in the ACC title this year, but much of that depends on how well Winston plays at quarterback this season.

The Pittsburgh Panthers finished the 2012 season 6-7 overall and 3-4 in the Big East. Head coach Paul Chryst will begin his first full year with the program after taking over in December. Senior QB Tom Savage will start for Pittsburgh after having a rocky start to his college career. Savage has a strong arm, but is inaccurate at times and is slow on his feet. Senior WR Devin Street is an All-ACC receiver playing with a big-time quarterback, so a productive final year is very much in the cards. Junior RB Isaac Bennett will run behind an offensive line that consists of two freshmen and a converted defensive lineman. However, senior Cory King and junior Matt Rotheram will shift inside to left and right guard, which will help the power running game that the Panthers would like to establish this season. The Pittsburgh defense has the potential to be one of the top units in the ACC this season. The star is senior DT Aaron Donald, who should be considered an All-American heading into his final season. Joining him inside is senior NT Tyrone Ezell, giving the Panthers a decidedly elite and hard-to-handle interior. Senior LB Shane Gordon will lead the linebacker group, while senior CB K’Wuan Williams and sophomore CB Lafayette Pitts will lead a solid secondary unit. Pittsburgh has some questions on offense, but their defense should keep them in most games this season.

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I think Florida State is a step above Pittsburgh overall, but both defenses should play well this season. Both teams have new quarterbacks, while Florida State has a nice duo of running backs and a solid group of receivers. Winston has a great deal of potential and if he plays well the Seminoles could find themselves in the national title hunt. I think the Seminoles will start off a little slow in this game, but as the game goes on Florida State’s size up front will start to wear down the Panthers. Florida State wins a close game that won’t see many points put up on the scoreboard.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Pittsburgh +10.5 (low rated); Under 49
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Mitch Wilson

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