Dan Scott: Clemson vs South Carolina Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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When Clemson Has The Ball

This comes down to one basic premise: If Clemson can protect quarterback Charlie Whitehurst the offense should click. That's been the formula for most of the season, especially in the last two games vs. Florida State and Duke. If Whitehurst and his receivers are on - which they should be against the Gamecock secondary - the running game becomes more dangerous, even if only used as a change-of-pace. If USC throws a monkey wrench into things by making life difficult for Whitehurst, then the Tigers could be in trouble.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



When USC Has The Ball

This game plan could be called Florida State, The Sequel. In essence, Clemson wants to take away the run and force the Gamecocks into a one-dimensional offense. Chris Rix couldn't beat the Tigers by himself. Neither can Dondrial Pinkins. What should bode well for Clemson here is Carolina's running style. No funky blocking. Not a lot of misdirection. The Tigers usually stop teams with that style. Kind of makes you wonder if Lou Holtz and Co. have been watching the Wake Forest and North Carolina game films with any degree of interest?

Advantage - Clemson



Special Teams

Suddenly Jad Dean's kickoffs are in the end zone again. Justin Miller returns a punt for a TD. This portion of Clemson's game seems to be back on the upswing. True, kicker Aaron Hunt had his string off 11 straight successful attempts broken last week, but if this game comes down to a field goal, you have to like his chances vs. those of USC's Daniel Weaver.

Advantage - Clemson



Coaching

Lou Holtz is looking for bowl eligibility. Tommy Bowden is looking for job security. Both can't win. Bowden's situation is more dire, so expect everything including the proverbial kitchen sink.

Advantage - Clemson



Bottom Line

Sure, all four categories above were graded in favor of Clemson. But that means little in this game, as you might expect. But above all of that, here's why Clemson wins (and no, it's not just because they always beat USC, Tiger fans): When the Bowden era was at its lowest point to date, just three weeks ago following the Wake Forest debacle, the Tigers rallied around their beleaguered coach and, the very next week, produced the high moment of the Bowden era - the Florida State win. After this week's firestorm following Bowden's emotional press conference Tuesday, expect his team to do the same thing. Suddenly, it appears they've bought into their head coach. Maybe just in the nick of time.



The Pick

Clemson 29, USC 10

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