Clemson (8-4) vs Kentucky (7-5)
Line: Clem -9.5, 57.5
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The Tigers come into this contest after an 8-4 regular season, but this was not a "feel good" 8 win regular season after losing three of their last four contests including a home loss to arch rival South Carolina. Meanwhile, Kentucky is happy to be here not having much of a bowl history in recent years. Clemson holds a decided talent advantage and features two very good running backs in James Davis and CJ Spiller. The Wildcats allow 189 yards per game on the ground.
Kentucky is 4-1 SU in their last 5
Clemson is 0-4 ATS in their last 4
Kentucky gives up 5.00 ypc on the ground
Clemson Keys to a Cover:
First, the Tigers need to "show up" for this game and realize they can end their season on a positive note. They have a decided talent advantage, but Kentucky will not be looking for any handouts in this game. Second, make sure that Davis and Spiller get their carries. Teams have stacked the box against the Tiger tandem during the second half of the season with success. If Will Proctor can limit his mistakes in the passing game and stretch out the defense a little bit, then the Tigers 0-line should be able to handle Kentucky up front.
Kentucky Keys to a Cover:
The Wildcats need to come out and punch Clemson in the mouth. They need to establish their offense early and get a defensive stand out of a defense allowing close to 460 total yards per game (189 on the ground). Andre Woodsoon must continue his excellent play at QB and take care of the ball - Woodson has a 4/1 TD to INT ratio this season. Long drives will be needed by the Wildcat offense to keep the quick strike Tiger unit off the field.
Season Recap Clemson:
Big Wins: @WF 27-17, vGT 31-7
Bad Losses: @Va Tech 7-24
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-4
Common Opp: vSouth Carolina, L 28-31
Season Recap Kentucky:
Big Wins: vUGA 24-20
Bad Losses: @Lville 28-59, @LSU 0-49
Record vs Bowl Teams: 2-5
Common Opp: vSouth Carolina 17-24
I think the Tigers are too good of a team to have a five loss season. Kentucky may be able to keep it close for a while, but that defense can be awful at times. The big mystery will be how much Clemson wants this game. They thought they were headed to a New Years Day Bowl, but a poor ending lowered their postseason status.
Clemson Wins, Covers (3star), Under (3star)