Friday, November 24, 2006
Thoughts on the Klempson vs. USC Game...
CBS recently called THE University of South Carolina Football the best 5 loss team in the country; I believe them. This is a team that is two tipped passes away from beating Tennessee and Arkansas, an onsides kick recovery from beating Auburn, and a blocked field goal away from beating Florida. Each of those teams were ranked in the top 10 at the time. Clemson started the season on a roll and were talking about winning the ACC because of the "off year." But lately Clemson has had some problems and this should make for a great game. The last spread I saw had the Tigers by 5. Here are my thoughts for the game and I hope all of you guys will be joining me at the game.
Unfortunately, there has not been a lot to hang your hat on in this rivalry. Only three times (1979, 1987 and 2000) have both teams been nationally ranked when they met. So on-field play has not merited much attention outside state borders.
Most fans and participants do not know there actually is a traveling trophy that goes to the winner. It is called the Hardees Trophy, but it has no real significance like many other schools that exchange a victory bell, or a bronze boot, or an old bucket.
The No. 24 Tigers (8-3) have won the last four meetings and eight of the last nine against the Gamecocks (6-5), but the game received second billing for a while this week as a rumor surfaced that Miami might be interested in bringing Spurrier back to Florida next season -- even though Larry Coker is still the Hurricanes coach.
Clemson leads the series 63-36-4. The Tigers took last year's matchup 13-9, scoring the winning touchdown with 5:58 to go.
Since inserting QB Blake Mitchell back in the lineup the SC offense has been in sync. In his last three games, Mitchell has completed 60-of-82 passes for 876 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. The SC O-line has found itself and started to play like men and not boys despite the new faces on the line. The defense has played to the best of their ability and are finally playing as a unit. The SC special teams also have greatly improved besides a blocked kick here and there.
Clemson we know can run the ball. They have one of most talented backfield combos with James Davis and CJ Spiller in the country (see also McFadden and Jones for Ark-Kansas). The Clemson football team came into the season on a mission and had every opportunity to win the ACC. But having a offense so reliant on the run is hard to win big games....perfect example is the Virginia Tech game because Clemson was exploited. To stop Clemson on offense, Tech, and then Maryland, stacked the box and told Will Proctor he had to beat them. Which we all saw could not happen. Look for USC to attempt to do the same and SC has to do this also to win. Proctor is no Whitehurst and seems scared to throw the deep ball. He does have success in the 5 yard pass to the playmakers but has been slow to pull the trigger on a deep ball....not sure if that is coaching or the player to blame. Clemson's defense is good....up front they can win the battles but there are holes in the CU secondary and that is where USC has the advantage.
USC will win the game because of the air and having a balanced attack. The USC defense must stop the run and contain the 5 yard passes. Look for USC to be on a mission and play tough......
Carolina - 24
Clemson - 20
See ya on Saturday and Go Cocks!