This time last year, the sports world was learning just who Jameis Winston was. During his first season under center for the Seminoles, Winston had quite the year. He led Florida State to their first National Championship since 1999, and he became just the second freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
Oh how things have changed.
Since Winston’s success last season, the redshirt sophomore has made plenty of headlines around the country. Unfortunately, they aren’t what you would want to see out of someone who is held in such high regard.
The most recent headline came after Winston made insensitive comments while on campus at Florida State this week. After trying to determine what was best for him, without sacrificing the potential bid at another championship, the Seminoles decided to suspend Winston for the first half of their next game. Unfortunately for them, it’s going to be against a tough team in #22 Clemson.
The Tigers found themselves ranked at #13 when the season first started, but they quickly fell when they were manhandled by Georgia in the opening game of the season, 45-21. After a follow-up 73-7 win against South Carolina State, there is still plenty that is left to be unseen with this Tigers team. They’ll certainly be put to the test on Saturday when they face off the top team in the land.
Clemson is led by Cole Stoudt, the senior quarterback who has thrown for 466 yards and a touchdown on the season. However, those numbers are a bit skewed since 302 of them were against a meager South Carolina State, and he struggled noticeably against Georgia. The Tigers also have a heavy backfield that includes Wayne Gallman and Adam Choice, both of whom ran for over 70 yards and scored a touchdown last week.
The question is, will Winston’s absence in the first half be enough for the Tigers to take a quick lead? If you look at the odds, it’s apparent that Vegas doesn’t think so. FSU is still heavily favored in this one, despite the fact that their leading quarterback won’t be there for half the event.
Filling in for Winston in the first half will be Sean Maguire. Maguire has just 3 completions for 28 yards on 5 attempts this season. This will certainly be a different look during the first half as the Seminoles try to hold things off until the reigning Heisman Trophy winner enters the game. Luckily, Maguire will have Rashad Greene to pass to when he needs it most. Greene has amassed 283 yards on 15 receptions this season, which is good enough to lead the team.
Maguire will also have Karlos Williams and Mario Pender in the backfield with him. Williams has run for 132 yards and a touchdown during his first two games, while Pender has found the end zone once and ran for 69 yards.
If it wasn’t enough for the Tigers to feel confident knowing that Winston won’t be playing during the first half, they can also look to the Seminoles first game of the season for more inspiration. During FSU’s opening game against Oklahoma State on the road, the Cowboys were able to keep things close despite finally losing 37-31. With Clemson having home field advantage on Saturday, you can bet that they’ll want to see if they can press the Seminoles into the same type of close game. Don’t forget to check in with sportspicks.com for insider picks and information all season long.
The Florida State Seminoles still lead the nation with 11/2 odds to win the National Championship this year. However, a lot of that is riding on the shoulders of Jameis Winston. If he continues to get in trouble like he has in the last year, those numbers could drastically change. And if he didn’t already, you can bet that the entire sports world will have their eyes on him to see if he can keep things together while he tries to lead his team to a second title in a row.