Friday, November 1, 2013

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 10

 Weekend of November 2, 2013


When Mississippi State rolls into Columbia for a "little after noon" kick-off, South Carolina will be going for their 15th straight home win, dating back to a 2011 Auburn loss. Studies performed by the USC Business School attribute this streak to the surroundings of Williams Brice Stadium. But what's interesting is that those surroundings refer not to hedges, video boards, high school entrances, or the sound of chicken, but to the actual surroundings of Columbia. It turns out visiting teams become scared to play in Williams Brice because of the its surrounding areas.

The one exception: Mississippi State. Coming from Starkville, Mississippi these players should have no concerns traversing the mean streets of Columbia, South Carolina. In fact, StarkVegas has gotten so bad, even the Bulldog players are considering the trip to Columbia a mini-vacation. If anything, the fear most opponents usually feel will be replaced with a sense of peace and tranquility. And while that may throw off the locals for a quarter or two, they shouldn't be concerned as the mighty Connor Shaw can bend time by the wearing of quarterback gloves.

Further bad news for Mississippi State fans is they are 0-2 against ranked teams, with those two losses by over 50 points. With USC ranked #14, the visitors may be in trouble. While I don't think Miss State will maintain their average defeat to ranked teams, I do think the loss will be significant enough to cover the 13 point spread.

Columbia, SC 31
StarkVegas 16


So after all the hullaballoo, hype and roller-coaster up and downs from both Gamecock lovers and haters, the youngest football team in the nation has gone 6-2 after 8 games, including 5 road contests.  Almost everyone who was rational in predicting the likely outcome of the season to this point had USC sitting at 6-2.  Granted, the Upstate Dabo Droolers were praying for more losses and those in Garnet Sunglasses were convinced it was only going to be one loss. 
None of them are happy which is probably a good thing.  So now we enter the final 1/3 of the slate.  The Gamecocks will be at Williams-Brice the rest of the way with 4 home contests.  They are likely to be favored in all 4 at this point barring an upset.  Enter Mississippi State and their pesky old English Bulldogs.  We are very familiar with them and used to play the maroon howlers annually.  

I sense that Carolina will be a touch flat coming off the emotional win at Mizzou.  Since State has been basically left for dead, look for them to come out barking early.  Just like a lot of games in Columbia in the Spurrier era, we are probably going to “underwhelm” everyone on the optics.  But until someone beats Connor Shaw  in the Cockpit, don’t expect me to bet against the Bald Baron.  USC scores late to make the score a bit more pleasing to the palette, setting up a HUGE matchup with the Citrus Lizards next week.  

South Carolina 27
Mississippi State 16



When these two teams get together, the results are rarely in doubt. Of the 46 games played between Clemson and Virginia, Clemson has won 37, or greater than 80%. To show how dominate Clemson has been over White Meat, their winning percentage against them is better than Clemson's winning percentage against any other opponent with at least 4 games played, including South Carolina.

And Dabo has only increased the percentage as he joins Danny Ford, Charley Pell, Red Parker, Hootie Ingram, & Frank Howard as Clemson coaches to have never lost to Virginia.

This year won't change as Dabo remains perfect against White Meat, though it will be another game where Clemson doesn't play up to their potential (see College, Boston and Maryland, University of). The defense plays better, but the offense still hits a few snags. In the end, Clemson works to get a mufti-possession lead and nurses it to the end.

Clemson 27

White Meat 13


The Overrated Orangies head up to Charlottesville this weekend, and Tajh is still in need of padding his stats to pretend the Tigers are still relevant to anyone outside of Pickens County.  They are done playing games against non-High School level competition until the game in Columbia, so this will be another yawn-fest.  

Virginia has a beautiful football stadium which is appropriate with a  campus that nice as well.  Scott Stadium is hardly intimidating though, so the crazy one in the K-Mart sweatshirt will have ample chances to bounce around like a kangaroo on meth, declaring his greatness to the world.  

Sammy avoids being high long enough to catch a few, and Clemson cruises along consistently through the afternoon to an easy win.  

Clemson 48
Virginia 17




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