TigerNet Talk #98: Role Reversal

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This year's match up between the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks has a similar feel to the last one, only the roles have been reversed. Instead of Clemson being on the brink of their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, it's the Gamecocks who have to prepare next week for their first SEC Championship Game verses Auburn.

Last year Clemson entered the South Carolina game sitting at 8-3, this season it's the Gamecocks who own that record. On the flip side, the Gamecocks held the 6-5 record which our Tigers currently have entering the Palmetto State rivalry last season.

Momentum was up at Clemson heading into Williams-Brice, the Gamecock faithful were disappointed about their season. Sounds familiar, right?

Before last year's game people wondered if the Tigers would be looking ahead to the title game. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Carolina fans have to wonder about their teams focus as these bitter rivals set themselves to take the field. It's been forty years since South Carolina has beaten Clemson in back to back meetings, so you would think their team would not look ahead, but stranger things have happened.

As for the ballgame, I expect it to be a good one. I think that both teams are very talented. Clemson and South Carolina both played well against Auburn earlier this year. You could argue that the Tigers and the Gamecocks had the best chance to beat Auburn out of anyone on their schedule. And while Clemson hasn't played up to their potential every week, when the Tigers are clicking on offense, they are a very good team.

However, the Gamecocks can say they same. Plus South Carolina has beaten some of the best in the country this year. Florida might be down, a 17-6 victory over Georgia in any other year is good, but beating Alabama was a great win for their program. At times the Gamecocks have been outstanding and it's been easy to see how good they can be.

Clemson's best win this year? Probably the 14-13 victory over N.C. State three weekends ago. As I recall it wasn't pretty, but it was a win. It will take a monumental defensive effort by Clemson to slow down this talent rich South Carolina offense.

In addition to that Clemson must capitalize in the red zone. We have seen flashes of a good offense this season, but our breakdowns in the red zone have cost this team at least two victories. If the Tigers settle for field goals, it might be a long day in Death Valley.

So this is it, Clemson's chance to earn their best win of the season and spoil what has been a great year in Columbia. If Clemson can deliver a blow to the Gamecocks before their SEC Championship Game birth, it would would be a nice way to end a disappointing regular season for Clemson's fans.

I think a win for Clemson starts with disrupting the South Carolina offense. Clemson has to frustrate Stephen Garcia and force him beat us with his arm, while managing to keep Marcus Lattimore under control. If that happens, Clemson has a great chance to reverse the role from last season and be the victor in this heated in-state battle.

Season Predictions

El Swann - 6-5

Xbox - 8-3

El Swann / Actual Score

Week #1 Clemson 35-14 / Clemson 35-10

Week #2 Clemson 49-6 / Clemson 58-21

Week #3 Auburn 27-24 / Auburn 27-24

Week #4 Clemson 24-17 / Miami 30-21

Week #5 Clemson 27-14 / UNC 21-16

Week #6 Clemson 27-17 / Clemson 31-7

Week #7 Georgia Tech 28-24 / Clemson 27-13

Week #8 Clemson 38-10 / Boston College 16-10

Week #8 NCST 31-27 / Clemson 14-13

Week #9 FSU 27-21 / FSU 16-13

Week #10 Clemson 49-14 / Clemson 30-10

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TigerNet Talk #98 (16 MB)


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Follow the Tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk and Clemson Hotline. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend’s game and preview and predicts Clemson’s next game. You can listen to both shows at http://www.clemsonpodcasts.com.

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