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ODDSMAKERS LIKE CLEMSON IN “BACKYARD BRAWL”

Clemson University’s football team has been demolished in each of its last three contests against its arch rival – the University of South Carolina.  The Gamecocks have outscored the Tigers 97-37 in those three games – while holding superstar quarterback Tajh Boyd to a meager 83 yards passing in last year’s 34-13 blowout.

In two years since taking over as Clemson’s starter, Boyd has been held to fewer than 200 yards passing just one other time (this year’s game against Virginia Tech).  Can the No. 12 Gamecocks (9-2, 6-2 SEC) hold him in check again?

Odds makers don’t think so.  No. 11 Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) is favored by four points in this weekend’s game in Death Valley.  That projected margin is just outside of the standard field goal advantage that’s awarded to home teams in evenly matched games.

Both teams are likely to view that point spread as a sign of “disrespect.”

Clemson’s offense has been on fire in recent weeks – racking up 205 points and 2,442 yards in its last four games.  Boyd has been leading the way during that stretch, throwing for eighteen touchdowns (and rushing for four more) over that stretch.

Only one other time have the Gamecocks and Tigers faced off with both schools enjoying such lofty national rankings.  In 1987, No. 12 South Carolina upset eighth-ranked Clemson at home by a score of 20-7.  Last year, Clemson entered the game ranked No. 18 while USC was ranked No. 14.

Believe it or not, South Carolina has actually beaten Clemson four times in a row once before – from 1951-54.  Clemson has pulled the four-peat on several occasions, most recently from 2002-05.  The Tigers still have ownership papers of the series, enjoying a 65-40-4 advantage.  In fact prior to USC’s recent three-peat, the Tigers had won ten of the previous 12 contents.

Our own John Loveday will have a detailed Carolina-Clemson breakdown later this week, while you can read a little bit more on the game’s key match-up by clicking here.

FITS’ founding editor Will Folks – who has made some excellent predictions this year – will be issuing his “#FITSPick” for the game shortly before kickoff, although we invite our readers to post their predictions in our comments section below.

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