#6 Clemson Tigers (10-1) @ #10 South Carolina (9-2) 11/30- 7:00PM EST
Line: SCAR -5.0
Yet another big time rivalry game is set this Saturday in the Southeast as No. 6 Clemson goes into Columbia to take on the #10 South Carolina Gamecocks in a game where the stakes (including bragging rights) will be high.
With title hopes on the line and rivalry bragging rights up for grabs, these two teams will be ready.
“Sort of neat that we have two teams in the top 10 that started the season there and are still there after 11 games,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “I know our state is proud of the two football schools. It should be a heck of a game.”
I agree, as this year more then any, both Clemson (10-1) and South Carolina (9-2) are playing in a series that first started way back in 1896 that both teams coming in are ranked in the top 10 in 111 meetings.
“To have two teams from the state of South Carolina nationally ranked, that makes this rivalry that much better,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Alabama and Auburn got the top-10 teams playing in their rivalry game, we got two top-10 teams playing in our rivalry game, and I think it makes for an exciting game.”
South Carolina goes into Saturday’s battle having won the last four games…. The first time that have done that since the 1951-54 seasons. They have yet to win five straight.
The Tigers last victory in the series happened in 2008 when now head coach Dabo Swinney carried the interim tag for a troubled football program. After the 31-14 victory over the Gamecocks, he was named permanent head coach and has responded by guiding Clemson to three straight 10-win seasons.
But despite Swinney’s success, having not won the biggest rivalry game since 2008 has left a hole in his resume.
“When you’re the coach, all the losses you live with. The big state rival, that one’s more so, because everybody in your state lives with it,” he said. “Everybody wants those bragging rights.”
Saturday’s game will mark the final duel between Tiger’s record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and the Gamecocks’ top pass rusher and highly projected NFL first-rounder Jedeveon Clowney. Clowney made the claim he will never lose to Clemson in his career.
In last year’s game, Clowney dominated the Tigers with his defense as he brought down Boyd 4½ times throughout the contest to help lead his team to 27-17 victory.
Clowney backed up his play at this year’s SEC media day by saying….
“I like to pick at quarterbacks. That’s what I do,” Clowney said. “If they can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. I’m just playing.”
Fifth-year senior Boyd realizes the task at hand of finally needing to beat the Gamecocks, but says it will take a total team effort.
“This game is bigger than one player,” Boyd said. “It’s not me versus him versus anybody else.”
Oddsmakers believe the Gamecock’s will get it done again this year making the home-team a (minus) -5.0 point favorites early on, but with odds changing, check the latest spread here through Wonder Punter leading up to kickoff.
It’s going to take a big game by Boyd to give his visiting Tigers a chance, but he has put up the numbers this year to get it done by going 233 of 346 for 3248 yards with 29 touchdowns.
The problem is come rivalry time, Boyd has fallen off performance wise passing for just 399 yards with three interceptions to only two touchdowns with 14 sacks in three games against the Gamecocks.
The numbers for Saturday’s contest have the Tiger’s averaging 515.6 yards per game, good for 11th in the country and the gamecocks at 465.8 yards per game which ranks 26th in college football. Clemson also holds the advantage with points scored with 42.3 (10th) to 34.4 (34th) for the Gamecocks.
Look for a steady diet of South Carolina sophomore running back Mike Davis to get some carries as he has 179 rushes for 1,112 yards.
I’m leaning towards the Gamecocks playing with a little bit more sense of passion because if they win, they will have another game next Saturday should No. 19 Texas A&M knock off No. 5 Missouri…. That loss would mean the Southeastern Eastern Division title for South Carolina.
Spurrier wants his team focused on the field and not on the scoreboard come Saturday and if they do should win yet another rivalry game against the Clemson Tigers.
“We won’t think anything about it,” Spurrier said. “We really won’t.”
PICK: South Carolina
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter