Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thinking Clemson...

The USC-Clemson game Nov. 24 will kickoff at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2. It will be the Gamecocks’ fourth consecutive appearance on ESPN or ESPN2 and sixth overall.

The four-game losing streak, Spurrier’s worst skid since his first year at Duke in 1987, has sent the Gamecocks plummeting from a 6-1 record and No. 6 national ranking to an unranked, 6-5 team in danger of not making a bowl game.

The long-time rivals meet again Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with the Gamecocks (6-5) looking to snap a four-game losing streak while 21st-ranked Clemson (8-3) looks to rebound from a 20-17 loss to Boston College that kept the Tigers from the ACC championship game. Clemson leads the series 63-37-4, including 48-29-3 in Columbia. USC won last year 31-28 and is looking for its first winning streak against the Tigers since the Gamecocks won three in a row from 1968-70. Clemson is 13-3 in Columbia in the last 16 games, including eight of the last nine.

SO let us look at Carolina for a second.....This is a big game especially after USC surrenders all-time highs in rushing yards (542) and total yards (651) in a 48-36 loss at Arkansas, USC allowed Florida to roll up 537 yards in a 51-31 drubbing. The 99 combined points are the most surrendered in consecutive games by a Spurrier-coached team.

"Got to try something different here, see if we can make something happen for the last game,” Spurrier said. Uh Yeah....The Gamecocks are ranked last in the SEC and 106th out of 119 teams nationally in rushing defense, giving up an average of 208.9 yards per game. The Gamecocks are ninth in the conference in total defense (372.2 ypg).Though USC is fourth in the country in pass defense (163.3 ypg), Spurrier believes that statistic is skewed because teams know they can run against the Gamecocks......UH Yeah there coach this is true and why clemson worries me. I hope Tommy Bowden did not read that last stat....Florida quarterback Tim Tebow passed for a career-high 304 and two touchdowns against USC, while rushing for 120 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. Tell tell sign of things not looking good on the defense side is ....USC has forced just one punt in each of its last two games.

It is never a good sign for a defense when opposing players are re-writing conference record books. But that was the case for Razorbacks tailback Darren McFadden and Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, both of whom jumped into Heisman Trophy contention on the backs of USC defenders.

Nix says the problems are threefold: failure to get off blocks, poor tackling and a lack of effort. All that added up to some sobering numbers against Arkansas and Florida: 99 points, 1,188 yards and a 22-of-29 third-down conversion rate for the Razorbacks and Gators.
Part of the third-down woes can be traced to first and second downs. Nix said USC has not forced opponents into many obvious passing situations. As a result, the Gamecocks have one sack in 88 pass attempts the past three games.

So what is on the line against CU? Well...a bowl berth for USC to start and that in-state pride thing is always important but really a bowl berth. USC has been bowl eligible since its sixth win on Oct. 13 at North Carolina, USC is suddenly sweating a bid. The SEC has a record number of teams eligible for its eight guaranteed bowl slots this year. While SEC officials have talked to other bowls that might have at-large spots, NCAA rules require bowls to take a team with a winning record over a 6-6 school. Six of the SEC’s 10 teams already have at least seven wins.
Spurrier said the Gamecocks are a “borderline” bowl team, although bowl and conference insiders believe USC will land a bid if it beats Clemson.

I think USC can win the game this saturday.....Oh and let's make sure we get Junior receiver Kenny McKinley...who had seven catches for 95 yards against the Gators, now has 69 receptions, five shy of the school record set by Sterling Sharpe in 1986...gets 6 catches this game please.

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