Thursday, October 25, 2012

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 9


Weekend of October 27, 2012

Tennessee at South Carolina
(USC is favored by 14)


For the third straight week, the Gamecocks will be battling themselves as much as they are their opponent.  Carolina has a very good football team, but can they shake off the mental ghosts and close strongly? If they do get the ship righted, they will likely finish the year with 11 wins again.  If not, the wheels could come off. 

Bring in another case of gridiron psychosis, the Tennessee Volunteers.  Will either team really be excited or focused?  Tough to call.  When everything else is equal, you have to give the home team who is more talented the edge. 

Gamecocks come out and get a win and finally get an open date, if the SEC actually allows it to happen.    

South Carolina 31, Tennessee 13 - USC wins and covers the point spread


Last week we heard very little from Spurrier.  This week, even less.
Last week, we heard how UCS was a play or two away from winning at LSU.  This week, QB controversy.
Last week, UCS was playing its third Top 10 team in a row.  This week, Tennessee, who’s O for the SEC.
Last week, UCS played its third straight night game and second Gameday in three weeks.  This week, nooner against Tennessee.
Two weeks ago, this UCS team was in national title consideration.  This week, filled with self-doubt.

What will this week bring?  Can UCS recover from a brutal stretch?  Will the faithful fill Billy Brice for a noon game?  Can Spurrier rally the troops to play a struggling Tennessee team?  How will the coaching issues at Tennessee affect their play?

Luckily for UCS, they have a defense.  One that can set the tone and steady a team.  One that can snatch momentum and hide it away, never to be seen from again.  One that can give the offense ample time to find their stride and get into a rhythm.

UCS’ defense does just that, but the offense still struggles.  UCS wins, and wins comfortably, but the scoreboard doesn’t say as much.

UCS 23, Tennessee 12 - UCS wins but does not cover the point spread


Clemson at Wake Forest
(Clemson is favored by 16)


There is no question that Wake Forest will entertain a fat and happy Clemson team that is ripe for an upset.  Having said that, Wake isn’t any better than any of the rest of the stink pool that makes up the ACC so they won’t be able to take advantage of it.  Clemson has one game of note on the schedule now and they are probably already getting ready for it. 

Look for the Tiggers to loaf around and sleepwalk through a meaningless beating up of another high school squad posing as a college team.  This probably will yield some nervous moments early on with them pulling away late.  If anyone not from Moo U or Winston-Salem actually watches this game, then they honestly need to ask themselves where their life is going.  

Tigers win and the rest of the country yawns.  

Clemson 34, Wake 17 - Clemson wins and covers the point spread


Much has been made this week of two things: Clemson’s struggles on Thursdays and the Bowden/Dabo changeover.

In addition, there’s two additional pieces of info working against Clemson: the return of Wake’s leading receiver and the depletion of Clemson’s secondary.  Wake’s Michael Campanaro has been out since late September and the Wake offense has shown the effects.  For Clemson, Darius Robinson went down during the game, Baushad Breeland has been dealing with nagging injuries for a few weeks, and Jarrod Williams broke a leg during practice.

Plus, Clemson had its second worst offense performance under Chad Morris.  The offensive line was whipped and Boyd looked unsettled.  And it was about this time last year when Clemson lost its way. 

And when you add these items up, it spells struggles for Clemson.  Struggles stopping the pass, struggles stopping the run, and the general struggles of the short week. 

But this team is different, and it won’t matter what happened last year or on previous Thursday nights.  It won’t matter what happened to Bowden or Boyd or Dabo or Deandre.  It matters what this team does.  And this team will pound Wake.

  • Boyd will be sharp, Watkins finds the end zone, & Hopkins continues to dominate
  • Ellington does what Ellington does and the return of the tight ends
  • Improved play from the O-line and pressure from the D-line
  • Pleasant surprises from the secondary
  • Wake scores a few points, because that’s what Clemson’s D does, but the O rolls
  • Long week of prep for Duke

Clemson 41, Wake 20 - Clemson wins and covers the point spread

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