One team is 7--3 and is playing for positioning in the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl line up. Another team is 4-6 and obviously needs to win its two final regular season games to even qualify for a bowl bid.
One team has put together a string of wins, which included victories over Miami and Virginia Tech. Another team came up empty against those two perennial ACC Coastal Division powers.
One team is ranked in the Top 25 (No.20) by the College Football Playoff selection committee. One team is 0-7 against ranked teams since the start of last season.
Those are just a few of the talking points about Saturday's game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee between the Florida State Seminoles and the Boston College Eagles.
But this has been a strange season in many ways in the ACC, where top is bottom and bottom is top. How else to explain BC coming south with not only the better record, but in the role as favorite--although only by a 1.5 points.
Yet that is what we have. Coach Steve Addazio's team clinched its bowl eligibility a few weeks ago, while Florida State is facing its biggest challenge in 36 seasons--even getting to a bowl game, something that has happened each year since 1982.
If form holds up--a BC win--FSU's will see the end of the streak come to a grinding halt in front of a fan base, which has been shrinking steadily the past several weeks and is increasingly frustrated with first year FSU coach Willie Taggart.
FSU--which once had a remarkable run of 14 straight years in the Top 5 1987-2000) under former Coach Bobby Bowden's guidance--is using the bowl streak as its last rallying point.
""It 's important to us,'' said Taggart. "It's important to our fan base, it's important the teams that came before us that we keep it going and we talked about it as a team and our guys understand what's at stake. It's important for our seniors to leave here and not be the senior class that didn't get to a bowl game.''
Standing in the Seminoles' path is a Boston College team which has been striving to break the 8 victory barrier since 2007 and is begging for some respectability and relevance. The Eagles made ACC front runner Clemson work hard for a 27-7 victory a week ago (FSU lost at home to the Tigers, 59-10). But they also will arrive in Florida with damaged goods.
Quarterback Anthony Brown was knocked out of the Clemson game in the first quarter with abdominal injuries, while tailback AJ Dillon--the main cog in BC's offense--has been dealing with a sprained left ankle for the past month. The status of both players remains questionable, which casts more doubt as to what will happen Saturday afternoon, although indications late in the week was that Brown was going to give it his best shot.
Addazio has been sounding warning signs all week, despite FSU's extended tumble from grace. ""This a very talented team,'' said Addazio. ""No one ever had any doubt about that. We are talking about four and five stars everywhere. Top recruiting classes that didn't go away.
Sophomore EJ Perry will play QB if Brown can not go the distance, while Dillon is playing the role of warrior. ""AJ is really honestly about the same every week,'' said Addazio, who does have depth at running back. "And as the week goes on, we see improvement.''
Looking at the numbers from this season, BC looks like the better team, with better numbers and better performances. But the Eagles still need to establish their credibility on the road. They did it a few weeks ago with a solid win at Virginia Tech.
Winning at FSU would be another milestone achieved.