Sports

Big Game: South Carolina By 5.5?

The University of South Carolina football team has been installed as an early 5.5-point favorite over its arch-rival Clemson – a point spread that has set tongues in the Palmetto State a-wagging. (Well … a-wagging more than usual in this mouth-breathing banana republic). The Tigers (10-1, 7-1 ACC) enter the…

The University of South Carolina football team has been installed as an early 5.5-point favorite over its arch-rival Clemson – a point spread that has set tongues in the Palmetto State a-wagging.

(Well … a-wagging more than usual in this mouth-breathing banana republic).

The Tigers (10-1, 7-1 ACC) enter the game ranked No. 6 in the nation – the only blemish on their record being a home loss to Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC), which is arguably the best team in the nation this year. The Gamecocks (9-2, 7-2 SEC) are ranked No. 10 – with road losses to Tennessee (4-7, 1-6 SEC) and Georgia (7-4, 5-3 SEC) counting against its record.

It’s the first-ever Top Ten matchup in the 111-year history of the rivalry … but are the Gamecocks and Tigers really deserving of such rarified air?

Clemson has only one win over a Top Ten team this season – its opening victory over then-No. 5 (but now unranked) Georgia. South Carolina also has just one win over another Top Ten team – last month’s miraculous double overtime victory over No. 5 Missouri.

The Gamecocks did beat No. 17/19 Central Florida on the road – the Knights only loss of the season.

So … does South Carolina really deserve to be favored by 5.5 points?

Clemson has the No. 8 passing attack in the nation – and is ranked tenth nationally in total offense (averaging 515.6 yards per game). With the exception of the Florida State game, they’ve moved the ball at will all season.

Meanwhile South Carolina ranks No. 17 nationally in passing yards allowed (just behind Clemson’s defense, ironically) but ranks 56th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (way behind Clemson, which ranks No. 15). The Gamecocks are a “bend but don’t break” team, though, ranking in the Top Twenty nationally in both total defense and scoring defense – something Clemson can’t claim.

We know what Gamecock fans will say: South Carolina has won 17 straight at home. And four straight against Clemson. They’ll also point out how the Gamecocks beat the Tigers a year ago with a backup quarterback and third-string running back (although they really won that game with defense).

Then there’s Tajh Boyd – who has rewritten the Clemson record book over the last three years but is 0-2 versus South Carolina (the two worst starts of his collegiate career).

Of course he won’t have to contend with Melvin Ingram (San Diego Chargers), Devin Taylor (Detroit Lions), D.J. Swearinger (Houston Texans) or DeVonte Holloman (Dallas Cowboys) this year.

Personally, we’d call this game a classic “pick ’em …”

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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22 comments

Jackie Chiles November 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

“South Carolina also has just one win over a ranked team – last month’s miraculous double overtime victory over No. 5 Missouri.”

Wrong. UCF is #19 and #17.

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Just another guy November 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

Great Job. I was about to point that out. BTW, both of those were on the road compared to Clemson’s one big win at home and had a month to get ready for it. Clemson has played nothing but cupcakes except FSU and got destroyed at home. They had College game day and a packed house that was gone by the third quarter.

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Norma Scok November 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

Clemson had a month to prepare…Georgia didn’t?

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Tom November 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

Generally in games too close to call Vegas will make the home team a 3 pt. favorite to protect themselves. However 5.5 is odd. I suspect it is because many football pundits are still not sure if Clemson is really that good given their very easy schedule.

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Goddamn Well I Delcare November 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

Vegas is apparently giving USC-o a slight edge, in addition to the 3 pt home advantage, because USC is generally playing tougher – but not much tougher – opponents. Florida vs. Maryland. Meh.

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The Colonel November 25, 2013 at 9:16 am

35-27 Cocks!

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idcydm November 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

Did you copy and paste? :)

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The Colonel November 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

35-27 Cocks!
No, why?

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idcydm November 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

Same comment different thread, that’s all.

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The Colonel November 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

35-27 Cocks! I’d never repeat a comment!

Slartibartfast November 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

You naughty, naughty boy! I hope you are right. I also hope we left our “stupid” on the field in Knoxville.

Charlie Cat November 25, 2013 at 9:41 am

The secret to gamecock success will be getting to Boyd. Defensive pressure on him will bring home the fifth straight victory over the tigers. Clemson’s strength of schedule leaves a lot to be desired. Their national ranking is simply overrated. However, this game will decide if all of this is correct! Still Go Cocks!!

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Smirks November 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

Actually, I think most people should favor Clemson. They have had the better season. (It hurts to say this as a Gamecocks fan…)

I actually think Clemson has a good chance at winning this thing, but I’m going to call for a Carolina win, scraping by with a field goal. 34-31 Gamecocks.

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Libtard November 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

Given the post season implications for Clemson and the desire for Carolina to add to both the winning streak at home and “the thumb” on Clemson, this game is a tossup. One dimension to add will be if Carolina gets caught looking ahead to a potential SEC championship showdown with Alabama. I believe this years matchup is going to be a good one.

21-17 Cocks.

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Norma Scok November 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

If Clemson wins…beware the finger..the middle finger

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CharlesDikkens November 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

This game will be won the same place it was last year – on the offensive line – Clemson’s O-line can not push Carolina off the ball or keep Clowney out of Boyd’s face. This will lead to early three and outs, and then to turnovers as Boyd presses, then starts throwing picks and fumblling. Carolina is good enough to capitalize on these mistakes. Spurrier will play it conservative, and count on Clemson breakdowns in the secondary to strike from long range. If the Cocks get ahead, Davis and Shaw are capable of running the clock and playing keep away. Carolina will not be flat or looking ahead – they want no part of Alabama, and will be relieved when Missouri beats A&M.

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9" November 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’ll be in the men’s room,and a little more excited than usual:Cocks by 9.3

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shifty henry November 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

The awesome Miss Henny Penny is nesting on the Magik Round Dice, and she will let them “hatch” on Friday, when they are warm and toasty…..

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Sorry Clemson, but thats funny November 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Things you will never hear a Clemson fan say:

•I just couldn’t find a thing at Walmart today.
•I’ll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex….
•I thought Graceland was tacky.
•We’re vegetarians.
•Honey, I think we should sell the pickup and buy a family sedan.
•I’ve got it all on the C: drive.
•Too many deer heads detract from the decor.
•I’ll have the arugula and radicchio salad.
•Trim the fat off that steak.
•Do you think my gut is too big?
•Does the salad bar have bean sprouts?
•Come to think of it, I’ll have a Heineken.
•Nope, no more for me. I’m driving tonight.
•Has anybody seen the sideburns trimmer?
•Let’s go to the museum.
•No, I insist you have the last piece.
•Four wheelers are just too dangerous.
• Deer season is just way to long
•I have reviewed your application.

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Jeffrey Sewell November 25, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Love it!!
but more
impotently [SIC] how true is
that…

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Norma Scok November 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm

There won’t be a 5.5 game. Either the chickens will win by double digit scores or lose by that much.

That said, W-B still sucks. Nothing worse than those pissers where your neighbor’s piss stream bounces off the stainless trough backsplash onto your legs. I’ll never go back to the cockroach. EFF that place, its stinky ice, and its car keying Cayce-ites.

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Mike Watkinson November 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

The Gamecocks are 6-2 in the SEC. Facts are important, Will.

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