Friday, November 24, 2006

FIVE REASONS -- Clemson


1. It's about time. It has been -- gulp -- 1,834 days since South Carolina last had bragging rights. Remember, that was back when Lou Holtz could have been governor if he'd wanted to and Phil Petty was the QB.
2. Blake Mitchell. He has been on fire lately and made just one Blakecision, at the end of the Arkansas game. Had the special teams been able to execute, Mitchell would have been hailed as a Florida-killer.
3. Syvelle Newton. There's been whispering that Newton will be back on the field in offense some way. As long as he's around the ball, something good is going to happen.
4. More to play for. South Carolina is only assured a bowl spot if we win this game and go 7-5. Plus, that would fulfill Spurrier's goal of winning more than we lose. And it would give us something to stand on besides the shouldacouldawouldas against Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. And when it's been longer since you've won, you want it more.
5. When you least expect it. Just when it looked like the Gamecocks would never beat Clemson in 2001, they did. It certainly looks like it's going to be a tough road to hoe this time.


1. The Streak. Yes, the length of our losing streak can be motivation. But it can also take on a life of its own. And it could give Clemson a psychological edge if they get an early lead. The last thing we need is Blake panicking. I've seen that movie before, and it usually ends up trying to hit Sidney Rice in quadruple coverage.
2. Davis and Spiller. As I've said before, it sounds like a law firm. But it is actually a mean, bashing and fast machine that will be on your 20-yard line before you realize the ball has been snapped. Thunder and Lightning, Lightning and Thunder -- who cares? For the other team, particularly one that has had trouble stopping the run, it's a severe storm either way. 1,900+ yards this year. Just scary good.
3. Tommy Bowden. Call him Tammy. Call him Baby Bowden -- and I have. But the man owns a commanding lead over USC since coming to Clemson. He knows how to beat the Gamecocks, though sooner or later he has to lose again.
4. The distractions. It's not hard to see why some Gamecock fans think the Spurrier-to-Alabama leak has been fueled by Clemson fans or boosters. Those rumors, as well as the violations first uncovered by a CU fan Web site, have conspired (whether intentionally or not) against the Gamecocks.
5. Steve Spurrier. Hard to type that in this part of "Five Reasons," but he has a bad record against Clemson and faced charges, from time to time, of not caring enough about Florida State during his time with the Gators. During the NC season, Spurrier lost to Florida State in their regular-season game -- and was lucky enough to face the Seminoles again for the title. Right or wrong, I don't think he's that into rivalry games if they're not conference matchups.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 28, Clemson 21

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