Could a college team put up more of a fight than Bucs vs. Falcons?


USA Today Sports

The Atlanta Falcons made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look
like a bunch of kids Thursday night, stomping their NFC South
rivals 56-14 and covering the 6.5-point spread by an insane
35.5 points.

But what would happen if the Falcons actually were playing
kids – the kind of kids that go undefeated and win a national

Covers posed the question to a few oddsmakers to see
just what the spread would be if Atlanta took on top college
football power Florida State in a neutral-site exhibition
matchup. And to our surprise, FSU may have stood more of a
chance against the Falcons than the Bucs did Thursday night.

“This question comes up quite often and the fact is a pro
team will always beat an amateur team, no matter what the
sport,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for, tells Covers. “For this
instance, with the Falcons’ lopsided win over the Bucs last
night, the question has arisen again. The spread would be
Falcons by 40, give or take a few points.”

Most oddsmakers have this fictional spread in the 40-50 point
range, especially with the size, speed and strength
difference between seasoned pros ages 23-35and a group of
talented youngsters, most of which aren’t of legal drinking

“Any pro football team is going to crush the best college
team in the country,” a linesmaker for tells
Covers. “Atlanta would have a 50-point spread
against FSU.”

Even Tampa Bay, which was down 56-0 until scoring two
touchdowns – one on an interception return – on Atlanta’s
reserves in garbage time, would be a sizable favorite versus
the Seminoles in a fictional matchup. might be giving FSU a little credit – or
discounting Tampa Bay too much based on Thursday’s
five-turnover mess – setting the Bucs at just over
four-touchdown chalk versus the Noles.

“Tampa Bay would be somewhere around -30, even after last
night’s performance.”

Florida State is a 14.5-point favorite versus ACC rival
Clemson Saturday. Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston is
suspended for the first half of the game after shouting
obscenities on campus. The Noles opened as big as -20 but
dropped to just above two touchdowns when news broke of
Winston’s benching.


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