LACE ’EM UP!

Dec. 06, 2013 @ 05:19 PM

Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell is not offended the No. 20 Blue Devils are a 29-point underdog to Jameis Winston and top-ranked Florida State for tonight’s ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium (8 p.m., WTVD).

“Florida State has been blowing everybody out,” he said.

The Seminoles (12-0, 8-0) have beaten opponents on average 54-11 this season behind Winston, who set ACC freshman records by throwing for 3,490 yards and 35 touchdowns. They have defeated all but one of their opponents by at least 27 points.

Now all that stands in the way of the Seminoles reaching the BCS national championship game is an inexperienced Duke (10-2, 6-2) team appearing in its first ACC title game. Those same Seminoles stand in the way of Duke winning the ACC’s automatic bid to the Orange Bowl — which the Blue Devils would earn with the upset.

“I’ve had the good fortune through the years to play some No. 1 teams in this profession, some of them looked like No. 1 teams, some of them didn’t,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “Florida State certainly is.”

On Thursday, prosecutors said they would not bring sexual assault charges against Winston, the leading Heisman Trophy candidate. A woman had alleged Winston had sexually assaulted her at an off-campus apartment last December. He will play Saturday night.