Thursday, September 26, 2013

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 5

Weekend of September 28, 2013


This game is just vintage South Carolina.   We play a team with a lot of legitimate weapons on offense on their field at a time when we’re not playing all that well.  So sure, OF COURSE we could go down there and lose.  Heck, if Central Florida were just a little bit better I would even say this was a matchup worthy of earning Shaw his 1st signature road win, but I digress.  So no matter how much the media would like for USC to be “looking past” the Knights, it just ain’t true.  Win or lose on Saturday, all Gamecocks understand that this is a good football team and it is going to be VERY tight. 

I see a “buzzsaw” type of start from the home team that gets them an early lead.  Maybe 14-3 or something like that.  If Carolina follows their script it will take us most of the first half to get rolling.  But UCF’s defense also has to play this weekend and they are NOT very good.  So we will be able to score enough to survive the home “atmosphere.”  

We are scared to death but come home from Orlando 3-1.  Right where most folks predicted before the year started.       

South Carolina 24,
Central Florida 21


In listening to the media & pundits, one word is continually used: trap.  Everyone thinks this could be a "trap" game for the mighty Spurriers.  Noon start.  Road game.  Florida talent.  Questionable academics.  Backup school.  Doctored resumes.  And that's just the visiting team...

And while many of the talking heads will use "trap", I don't think it is all that appropriate.  To me, a "trap" game is one in which the underdog has no chance of winning unless a perfect storm of apathy, turnovers, & karma all fall their way.  That doesn't need to happen here for UCF to pull off the upset.

Last year, Connor Shaw struggled on the road, going 2-2 with wins over Vandy & Kentucky.  But even the wins weren't spectacular as at the half, USC was tied with Vandy and trailed Kentucky.  Additionally, a clearly less than 100% Marcus Lattimore had better rushing numbers than Shaw had passing.

That kind of offensive performance won't fly against UCF.  In fact, UCF has speed that neither Vandy nor Kentucky possesses.  Will that speed and skill position talent translate to a win?  No, but it will make things very interesting.  More than most USC fans will want to experience.

In the end, the talent and depth of USC ekes out a win.  And the traveling jorts are able to enjoy their trip to Disney.

South Carolina 27
Central Florida 21


The All Hat No Cattle brigade from the Upstate will continue their cupcake tour this weekend.  Thanks to Georgia predictably vomiting on the road and then “renaissancing” at home against us, the almost annual “Clemson beats someone from the SEC who beats Carolina” thing has those in orange all aflutter again. 
Those awash in the hype will enjoy this week as the Klimpletons will now begin hyping up the ACC’s high school teams as they head to their other game with a pulse against FSU.  

The Tigers will have an easy day of it, give Kirk Herbie a tingle or two in his leg and have Dabo the Crazy spouting things about how you can’t dream about beating Wake until they dream about greatness.  And as we saw in Raleigh if things get close the convenient whistle or two will protect as insurance.    

Clemson 52
Wake Forest 23


Most everyone thought last week would be the weekend the Clemson offensive finds it rhythm.  In fact, most people were expecting a shootout similar to last year's game in Clemson, where the teams combined for 110 total points.  Instead, we saw the Clemson defense man up and take control of the game.

But there is not better salvo for an out of sorts offense like Wake Forest.  Last year Clemson posted the first 35 points of the game en route to a 29 point win.  Look for a similar offensive performance this week, but with Morris and the coaching staff still chucking the ball around the field into the fourth quarter to get the starters more reps.

On the other side, the Clemson defense will pressure the 10th year senior Tanner Price into a few mistakes, though he may hit on a big play or two.  In the end, the secondary has a solid game, allowing the D-line to record a few sacks and the crowd to remain energized.

Clemson 51
Wake Forest 20




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