Friday, November 28, 2008

Clemson vs South Carolina Preview and Prediction



Clemson vs South Carolina
Line: Pick'em
Saturday 12:00 PM
The Battle of the Palmetto State has huge implications for both teams. Clemson is fighting for bowl eligibility while a South Carolina win could posture them for a New Years Day Bowl Bid. Clemson has an interim coach, Dabo Swinney, in his first role as head coach in the rivalry. He will be going against an SEC legend in Steve Spurrier who is only 1-2 against Clemson thus far. Much like the state of Alabama, this game means everything to a state with no pro sport teams and the win (or loss) lasts 365 days.

Keys to the Game:

1. How will the South Carolina QBs Play?

Spurrier has gone back to his pattoned QB revolving door playing both Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia. Last time out both were swarmed by the Florida Gators defense and played from behind the entire game. It is very important for these QBs to settle in early because the Gamecocks don't have much of a running game to bail them out.

2. Can Clemson Stick With The Run?

Clemson has a very talented duo at tailback, but has to fight the urge to go away from it if it not working early. CJ Spiller and James Davis are talented enough that you have to give them a chance to move the ball for you. The Clemson offensive line has played better later in the season, but is young and has been up and down this season.
3. Emotion

Emotion is always big in rivalry games, but I think it is racheted up in this one mostly due to the precense of Swinney. The Clemson interim coach has pulled nearly every trick out of the book to get his teams fired up to play since Tommy Bowden's departure. I think his emotion and intensity has helped Clemson to get to this position where a win puts them in a bowl most likely. On the other hand, South Carolina has had the better season thus far and would like to reverse the recent trend of losses in the series very badly.

Prediction
The pick'em line accurately represents how close this game will be. Clemson is at home and has won more in the series as of late, but I think a big factor being overlooked is that South Carolina had a bye week last week and has had two weeks to prepare. I think Clemson comes out hot, but South Carolina hangs around and makes a big play late to steal the game, much like 2006.

South Carolina 17 Clemson 14
South Carolina wins pick'em

Last Week: 1-3 ATS, 2-2 SU
Season: 29-21-2 ATS, 34-18 SU

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