Friday, October 5, 2012

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 6


Weekend of October 6, 2012

Georgia Tech at Clemson
(Clemson favored by 10.5) 


Let’s just say it and be honest:  the ACC is down to Florida State and Clemson.  That being the case, one really nice feature about this season has been the rest of the “conference” being so awful and pathetic that the other teams can’t even be propped up and spun as relevant.  Take Georgia Tech as this week’s example of “Nuh-uh!  Clemson plays a real schedule.”  The 2-3 Yellow Jackets gave up 49 points to Middle Tennessee in their worst loss of the season last week and are just a train wreck.  If you take out their win over Presbyterian, Tech’s defense is giving up over 32 points a game. 

Having said that, is it possible that this could be a competitive game?  Sure.  Clemson has trouble with teams that are committed to running the football, and Georgia Tech runs that quirky option attack.  Throw in the fact that Clemson’s defense is certainly a joke itself.  To be fair to Tech, I will take out the Furman game for Moo U and they are giving up over 31 points per game.  So I guess it’s possible that a tight shootout could happen.  

Give me an early Tech lead with Clemson pulling away late.  

Clemson 47, Ga. Tech 30 - Clemson wins and covers the spread.


While I can boastfully say I never lost to UCS while a student at Clemson, I must admit I never won against Georgia Tech.  All four games were close, including the 2000 game where Clemson was undefeated and ranked #3.  But we lost them all.

Since then, Clemson has had more heartbreak at the hands of Tech: 2004 – hello Calvin Johnson, 2007 – phantom holding call negates a touchdown, 2009 - ACC Championship Game, and last year – Clemson was undefeated and ranked #3.

But this Tech team feels different.  They are reeling from back-to-back losses, including a three touchdown beat down by a former Clemson assistant.  Al Groh seems to have given up board games.

And even with how they played last week, this is the type of team that scares me, and leaves me with many questions:

Can Clemson push GT to a third straight loss?  Can Dabo exorcise the 10th Street Trade School demon?  Can this defense stop the option?  Can this offense finally have some early success against their defense?  Will GT ever give up the “You Suck” song?  Do they still have male flag twirlers?

Ultimately, the Clemson offense scores enough early points for Clemson to create a touchdown cushion.  GT keeps it close, but can never get within the seven point window.  In the end, the GT offense is incapable of scoring quick enough to give themselves a chance.

Clemson 37 - 10th Street 30 - Clemson wins but does not cover the spread


Georgia at South Carolina
(South Carolina is favored by 2)


Can Carolina truly treat this weekend’s matchup with the Dooley Fleabags as just another big SEC game?  The Pups have been catered to and given an easy ride this season by the SEC, and so this is without a doubt a must-win for the Gamecocks.  That makes it very difficult to see USC staying calm.  Mark Richt has arguably the best quarterback in the conference, and two really nice looking freshman running backs.  The Achilles heel for the barkers is their defense.  Georgia has only held one opponent to under 20 points, and that was a Vandy team that put everything into beating Carolina and failed.  In the other four games, the Athens D has surrendered around 27 points per game.  

Bring the birds into the discussion and you see why this game is the national game of the week.  Carolina seems to have found it’s voice on offense and Marcus Lattimore has just owned the Dawgs in the last 2 matchups.  The USC defense gives up 11 points per game and really gets stingy in the red zone.  Having said that, the entire Palmetto State almost had heart failure over the 1st half against Kentucky.  

IF the Gamecocks can stay calm and control the ball, I see them winning a very good ball game.  

South Carolina 23, Georgia 16 - USC wins and covers the spread.


The last time there was a game of this magnitude in Columbia was 2001.  Gameday was here.  As was Spurrier.  Only problem was Spurrier was still at Florida and his Fun ‘n Gun sent the locals home by halftime, though it was not to party.

Fast forward 11 years and Gameday is back in town to watch a Spurrier coached team.  On that day 11 years ago, UCS was trying to do something it had never done: win the east.  This year, no different as UCS tries to beat UGA for a third straight time.

In all honesty, this should be a great game.  Strength v Strength and Weakness v Weakness.  UGA’s offense prowess v UCS’ defense.  UCS’ offense v UGA’s defense.  And the winner has the advantage in the east race.

For UGA to continue their offensive success, they need to break the line of scrimmage.  UCS, with their impressive D-line, has owned the point of attack.  UGA will look to neutralize UCS’ D-line with quick hitting passes, draws, and screens, and if they can get their backs into the second level, they will be able to put some points on the board.  However, if they struggle with the run and are forced into passing situations, then UGA better watch out.  Sacks, lost yardage, and turnovers can come in a fury.

On the other side, we saw a UGA secondary get torched by a good quarterback and playmakers.  Can UCS duplicate that success?  It will be tough, but the combination of Lattimore, Shaw, & Sanders should find some open areas to exploit.  It will be up to Jarvis Jones and his teammates to keep UCS in check, and out of the endzone.

Look for this game to have massive momentum swings, with both teams finding offensive and defensive success.  In the end, I think UGA’s physicality – in the running game on offense and linebackers and safeties on defense – to help them prevail in a tight game.

Hold on, call coming in...  It’s Spurrier & Tanner...  They don’t appreciate the facts we’ve been presenting...  Must not say negative things...  Must always say nice things...  Never pick against UCS...  Stop calling them UCS...

UCS, I mean USC 91 - UGA 6  - UCS wins and covers the two point spread.

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