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USF-Florida St. Odds

Tallahassee, FL In the span of a week, Florida State went from looking like a team that didn't belong in the Football Bowl Subdivision to one that could possibly contend for a national title.

The team hopes its latest performance is a sign of things to come.

Bet College Football Week 4

The 18th-ranked Seminoles look to build on an impressive victory over a top-10 opponent Saturday in the first meeting with South Florida, set to play it first game without quarterback Matt Grothe in four years.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made Florida State -14 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 78% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida State -14 (View College Football bet percentages).

Florida State (2-1) is back to where it started the season - ranked 18th and with hopes of having a big year. A lot has happened since the preseason poll was released, though.

The Seminoles opened with a 38-34 loss to then-unranked Miami to fall out of the poll. The following week wasn't much better, as they needed two scores in the final 35 seconds to defeat the Football Championship Subdivision's Jacksonville State 19-9 and avoid arguably one of the most embarrassing upsets in school history.

With a matchup against then-No. 7 BYU last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, where the Cougars had won 18 in a row, it looked like Florida State would open a season 1-2 for the first time since 1989.

Instead, the Seminoles won 54-28, seemingly ending the Cougars' BCS title aspirations.

"We went out there and won big," coach Bobby Bowden said. "What does it mean? We're probably further along than we thought."

The Seminoles got rolling early against BYU and never let up. They finished 12 of 15 on third-down conversions and scored all eight times they got in the red zone. They also rushed for 313 yards after gaining 188 in their first two games.

The defense also stepped up, forcing five turnovers and limiting the Cougars' time of possession to 20 minutes.

Bowden acknowledged it was an important win for a team trying to earn its first BCS bowl berth since losing to Penn State in the 2006 Orange Bowl.

"It's looking up," Bowden said. "You hope that you're reaching another plateau."

While the win over BYU was a total team effort, Bowden admits the Seminoles wouldn't be where they are without the play of quarterback Christian Ponder.

The junior completed 21 of 26 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns and also scrambled when needed, rushing for 77 yards and another TD. He leads the ACC with 813 passing yards and has four touchdowns to one interception.

"The way he played Saturday, I don't know who'd I swap him with," Bowden said. "He's so heady, so cool. I think his stock is rising like mad."

While Bowden has the luxury of starting a two-year veteran, South Florida coach Jim Leavitt isn't as fortunate.

Grothe, the Big East career leader in total offense with 10,875 yards, tore the ACL in his left knee in last Saturday's 59-0 win over Charleston Southern and will miss the rest of the season.

Grothe had started 41 consecutive games since the start of the 2006 season for the Bulls (3-0) and will be replaced by redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels, who went to high school in Tallahassee and grew up cheering for Florida State.

Daniels did a solid job of stepping in for Grothe last week, completing 10 of 13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 105 yards and two scores, but things will likely be a bit tougher against the Seminoles.

This will be the first real test for the Bulls after two of their first three games came against FCS opponents.

They likely won't be intimidated, though, as they've won four straight over ranked teams.

Bet College Football Week 4

Posted: 9/22/09 6:30PM ET

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