Florida State-Clemson pregame coverage roundup: Everything you need to know

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Tigers hold off the surging Seminoles in Death Valley? How will you know if you don't read everything you possibly can about the game?

Saturday night sees perhaps the biggest showdown in ACC history, as No. 5 Florida State travels to face No. 3 Clemson (8 p.m. ET, ABC). As a result, we've had what some may describe as a boatload of coverage for what very well may end up being the biggest (non-SEC) regular season game of the college football year.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly took a deep statistical approach to the game and came away with some interesting findings. Namely? Florida State has looked significantly better than Clemson this season.

The bottom line is that Florida State's performance in 2013 has been more impressive, top to bottom, than Clemson's. Clemson has the only big win, but what the Seminoles have done to lesser teams has damn near reached cruel-and-unusual territory. Maryland isn't amazing, but you're not supposed to beat the Terps by 63 points. Pittsburgh just lost at Virginia Tech by 10 but lost at home to FSU by 28. Clemson can take heart in the fact that it outgained BC by far more than FSU did, but the transitive property isn't known for holding up under scrutiny.

Over at Tomahawk Nation, Bud Elliott did video reviews of Clemson's games against GeorgiaNC StateWake ForestSyracuse and Boston College. Tomahawk Nation also previewed what could be a key matchup Saturday -- the Clemson receivers versus the Florida State secondary.

For Clemson, part of its fate rests on the shoulders of an uber-talented, but inconsistent player: Martavis Bryant. Bryant is 6'5, 200 with great speed and leaping ability. He also doesn't always run great routes and has at times struggled with drops and discipline.

But he'll get his chances Saturday night, against single coverage, because of the attention that Sammy Watkins demands from the defense. If the Bryant who went for six catches and two touchdowns at N.C. State shows up, Clemson will have an excellent shot to win. If he doesn't take advantage of FSU paying a ton of attention to Watkins, it'll be tougher for the Tigers.

Elliott also asked the question on everyone's mind: is this the most important game in ACC history? The answer? A resounding yes, aided by the history and location of the game.

There's also the little matter of FSU not having won at Clemson since 2001. This is a true rivalry game between two excellent and storied programs. North Carolina could hardly have been called a rival of FSU in 1997. The game has decided the ACC champion the last two seasons, and the Division champion in the last four.

Over at Shakin' the Southland, they took a look at last year's game between the two schools, where the Seminoles won in Tallahassee. The Tigers will have to do better in the defensive front this time around if they want to stay in it.

This group has to slow down the running game and contain/pressure Jameis Winston. Not exactly rocket science, but hurrying the opposing quarterback greatly helps the secondary--a secondary that will be called upon to defend a very, very good group of Seminole receivers. Most ‘Nole fans point to this line as the overall deepest in years (I believe they only have one player in the OL two-deep who is not a Jr. or Sr., and Ruben Carter is a redshirt Soph.) so the battle in the trenches will definitely be one to watch...if Clemson's DL comes out looking like roses then the overall two year turnaround will be tremendous--and highly appreciated by the rest of the CU defense.

They also took a look at the two depth charts, comparing recruiting rankings between the two programs, and found that Florida State has brought in a higher level of perceived talent over the past few years.

This week's comparison differs greatly from previous weeks as our Tigers are pretty much blanketed on all fronts when we compare recruited talent with the Seminoles. Florida State is over a half star per two-deep player better than Clemson on both offense and defense and hold a 0.6 stars per player advantage on special teams. The data can be seen below but the highlights for the Seminoles includes approx. Three and three quarters stars per player on offense and an even four star per player average for the FSU defense. If you assume that the recruiting experts' opinions are important, this team and coaching staff has definitely recruited a boatload of talent over the past couple years.

Despite freshman quarterback Jameis Winston's incredible start to the season and repeated dismantlings of opposing defenses, Shakin' the Southland says in their preview that the Tigers have to let Winston throw.

This week's comparison differs greatly from previous weeks as our Tigers are pretty much blanketed on all fronts when we compare recruited talent with the Seminoles. Florida State is over a half star per two-deep player better than Clemson on both offense and defense and hold a 0.6 stars per player advantage on special teams. The data can be seen below but the highlights for the Seminoles includes approx. Three and three quarters stars per player on offense and an even four star per player average for the FSU defense. If you assume that the recruiting experts' opinions are important, this team and coaching staff has definitely recruited a boatload of talent over the past couple years.

Due to the extreme importance of the game, we ranked what we felt were the top games in ACC history.

And, of course, there's even more where all that came from at Tomahawk Nation and Shakin' the Southland.

More from SB Nation college football:

Week 8 TV schedule and games to watch

Game of the week: Why Florida State should beat Clemson

Clowney’s toughest test yet: The rematch will answer the question

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