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!


Anonymous said...

right on....go cocks

General Malaise said...

A couple of comments...

Larry Coker has been fired between the posting of your post and this one. That being said Spurrier is not going to Miami or Tuscaloosa ... not happening.

To the game... All this week I have attempted to repress my optimism because I don't know if my fragile constitution can handle a loss after expectations of a win.

Here are some things that might give us problems. Davis and Spiller. It's not so much these guys as it is the line in front of them. I continue to have a nightmare that Spiller breaks a run from somewhere between the 40s and goes untouched thanks to a DB taking a bad pursuit angle. They will break long runs, make no mistake about it, but if we can make them not go for touchdowns we can slow them down to FGs, maybe.

Proctor will have a career game against us. When was the last time a Clemson QB played poorly against us? The upside is that great for Proctor is still not that good.

Watch for our special teams. At times this year we have had trouble covering kickoffs, returning kickoffs, catching punts and blocking for FGs. This could be hurtful.

Clemson will not make the same mistakes as some of our previous opponents. They will not fail to put pressure on the quarterback as Florida did and they will not fall in love with man coverage as Arkansas did for most of the game.

Clemson just came off an off-week. Expect them to have some new plays and packages that we have not seen this year.

All that being said, we are not exactly a bad team. The offense is working well and the defense is starting to look more like a bend but don't break instead of a bend and implode. Spurrier schemes well for games. We play well on the road (Fla our only road loss).

We are due. We are due against Clemson and we are due against a top 25 team. At some point we will break through. It may not be until next season, but here's to hoping that it's tomorrow.

Moose said...

Good stuff General, should be a good game.

damn hogs couldn't pull it out today, but the experience was awesome here in Little Rock

General Malaise said...

Looked like an awesome game. The point where McFadden ran for 80 yards then LSU returned the kick and then Jones ran back the kick for 47 yds was pretty exciting.

Moose said...

War memorial stadium only holds 50,000 and it was jam packed, saw three pretty good fights as well. One old guy beat the shit out of some 20 year old kid. LSU has some ruff looking fans, as well as arkansas.

McFadden is a beast, he has size and the quickness to be a great NFL running back.

Anonymous said...

seems the general was way wrong with his comments...try again big guy...