Dan Scott: Clemson - UCF Prediction
UCF: The Golden Knights return a quarterback (Ryan Schneider) who finished
ninth in the country in pass efficiency in 2000, and an offensive line which
averages 317 pounds, topped off by senior right tackle Steve Edwards
(6-foot-5, 350 pounds). The group can pass block, but running game is suspect.
CLEMSON: A veteran offensive line, two 1,000-yard rushers (tailback Travis
Zachery, quarterback Woody Dantzler) and a much-heralded rookie receiving
crop have Tiger fans excited about the coming season. In 2000 Dantzler just
missed becoming the first quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 2,000
yards (he finished with 1,872) and rush for another 1,000.
UCF: The team's leading tackler (121) from a year ago, senior middle
linebacker Tito Rodriguez, returns to lead the defense. But the Golden
Knights lost over 200 tackles with the graduation of Damian Demps and Tony
CLEMSON: The Tigers also return leading tackler Chad Carson (156), and star
safety John Leake has been the most impressive defensive player during
preseason. Depth is a major concern for Clemson, with two true freshman
filling key backup roles at defensive end and star safety.
EDGE: Clemson, barely.
UCF: Senior place kicker Javier Beorlegui hit 77 percent of his field goal
attempts a year ago, with a long of 48 yards. Beorlegui also averaged 40
yards per kick as the team's punter.
CLEMSON: Sophomore Aaron Hunt has been impressive during camp, but the only
real numbers to go on are last year's 10 field goals in 16 attempts. New
punter Wyn Kopp has two years of experience kicking in the Southeastern
Conference for Georgia, and has impressed coaches with his hang time.
UCF: Fourth-year head coach Mike Kruczek (20-13) has the Golden Knights
headed in the right direction, and is a disciple of Florida State coach Bobby
CLEMSON: Can you be more of a Bobby Bowden disciple than his son?
Don't expect this to be a cakewalk opener for Clemson. The 19-point spread
put down by oddsmakers is a bit much, especially if the Tigers' defensive
line can't pressure Schneider. If that's the case, expect a shootout.
THE PICK: Clemson 45-30