One of the most exciting matchups this Saturday night (7:45pm ET) game for week 13 of the 2011 college football season features two BCS bowl contenders with the 7th ranked Clemson Tigers (9-2) traveling to Columbia, SC to take on the 154h ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2) in primetime. Clemson has lost two of their last three games, including their last time out to NC State by a score of 37-13 on the road as a 7.5 point favorite. South Carolina has won two straight games, including a 41-20 win over the Citadel last week in a game in which they were favored by 39.5 points going in. Clemson is 7-4 ATS this season while South Carolina is 5-6 ATS this year.
The Tigers rank 21st in scoring offense with 35.1 points per game and 17th in total offense with 466.4 yards per game. The key to the Tiger’s offense is quarterback Tajh Boyd (3,255 yards passing, 27 TDs, 11 INTs), who struggled with 2 INTs (4 in last 2 games) and no touchdowns in the loss to NC State, and may be without top receiver Sammy Watkins who is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. The Clemson defense ranks 65th in scoring defense with 26.9 PPG allowed and 56th in total defense with 380.2 YPG allowed. South Carolina features the running game on offense (196.9 YPG, 30th in the nation), but with tailback Marcus Lattimore out for the rest of the season, freshman Brandon Wilds (4.6 YPC) has had to pick up the slack. The defense has carried South Carolina all season, ranking 15th in scoring defense with 19.4 PPG allowed and 5th in total defense with 279.5 YPG allowed.
Clemson vs. South Carolina Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Clemson Tigers +4
@South Carolina Gamecocks -4
Over 49.5 (-110)
Under 49.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com <– bet on the game and get up to $900 in bonuses
Clemson vs. South Carolina Pick:
Clemson is 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games as a road underdog and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games as an underdog. South Carolina is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 against a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against ACC teams. The under is 8-1 in Clemson’s last 9 road games and 10-4 in their last 14 games against the SEC. The under is 5-1 in South Carolina’s last 6 games against a team with a winning record and 6-2 in the Gamecocks’ last 8 games against the ACC. In head-to-head play, the Tigers are 1-4 ATS in the last meetings between the two teams. South Carolina has won the last two meetings, including a 29-7 win at Clemson last season to cover the 2.5 point line.
With a secondary that ranks 2nd among all FBS teams with a measly 137.5 YPG allowed, South Carolina will be the toughest test of the season for Clemson’s Tajh Boyd. Boyd has been struggling lately and the Gamecocks’ are not the team he is likely to turn things around against. South Carolina specializes in low-scoring games and lately Clemson has not been the explosive offensive team that we saw earlier in the season. South Carolina has also struggled mightily to put up points since Lattimore went down (31.4 PPG prior to injury, 22.8 PPG after) and their defense has stepped it up. This looks to be a matchup of two units heading in opposite directions in Clemson’s offense and South Carolina’s defense, and has all the makings of a low-scoring game. Take the under and the trend continues for the under with the Gamecocks.