When No. 8 Florida State and Virginia Tech meet Thursday night only the Seminoles will be playing for high stakes.
The Hokies (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are in the midst of their worst season in 20 years and fighting just to become bowl eligible.
It's exactly the kind of setup Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel has warned his teammates about this week -- a struggling team putting its best effort forward on a big stage.
"I think I saw that a little bit in the N.C. State game," Manuel said of Florida State's lone loss, 17-16 at N.C. State on Oct. 6. "Not to say that we took them lightly, but they played lights out, they had a good game. ... If they get a chance to knock us off, it will kind of make their season."
The Hokies have three games remaining, and need to win two to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th consecutive season. They still have games against Boston College and Virginia, but beating the Seminoles would be a big boost.