Friday, November 2, 2012

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 10


Weekend of November 3, 2012


Clemson at Duke
(Clemson is favored by 15)


Clemson continues its tour through the SCISA 8-man football league this weekend, as they head to Durham to beat up on Duke.  The ACC tried hard to prop up the Blue Devils for a while but after their trip to Tallahassee that is now over.  

It’s difficult to actually try and analyze these ridiculous matchups.  Duke can throw the ball and will get plenty of yardage against Clemson’s porous defense.  But honestly the Tigers have too much Florida-purchased skill position talent for this game to stay close.  

As I have said for a while now, Clemson has two games worth playing on the schedule this year.  They lost the first and the second will be when they play Carolina.   

Tigers win and the rest of the country yawns.  

Clemson 40, Duke 10 - Clemson wins and covers the point spread


Most SEC apologists will say Bryant-Denny or Tiger Stadium or Ben Hill Griffin is the toughest place to play.  I disagree – they are the toughest places to get a win, but not the toughest place to play.  It may be a case of semantics, but playing on national tv in large stadiums is actually fairly easy.  You don’t need any motivation – the locale and atmosphere provides it for you.  And the result of the game becomes a matter of which team is better, thus your Alabamas, LSUs, & Floridas tend to win the vast majority of their home games.

To me, the toughest places to play are the small, quiet stadiums.  Stadiums that don’t come equipped with fancy locker rooms or giant replay screens.  Stadiums that don’t sell out and are generally low-key affairs.  Stadiums that provide nice family atmospheres.

And no stadium fits the bill quite like Wallace Wade.

With a maximum capacity of just under 34,000, only Wake Forest has a smaller stadium among BCS schools.  However, unlike Wake, Duke football fans have had little to cheer about over the last 20 years.  Additionally, a track surrounds the field, creating a noise buffer between the fans and players.  To many of these guys, it will harken back to their high school days.

And because of the lack of atmosphere and attendance, opposing teams have struggled playing in Durham.  This is not to say many teams leave town with an L, but to say teams take a while to find their stride.  And for the first time in 20 years, if you don’t find your stride, Duke can make you pay.

And Duke’s offensive strength will go against Clemson’s defensive liability – the pass.  Expect Duke to chunk all over the field and on every down.  Expect the screen game to serve as their run game and for them to use every trick in the book.  This is Duke’s chance to slay a Top 10 dragon – and it could happen.

But it won’t.  Clemson has too many offensive weapons and too many athletes on defense.  Duke will hang around, maybe even into the 4th quarter.  But Clemson wins by double digits, but not by more than 15.

Clemson 41
Duke 27

Clemson wins but does not cover the point spread.


South Carolina if OFF this week.

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