Friday, November 21, 2008

game preview: Clemson

TV: Raycom

History against the Tigers: 8-35-1

Last matchup: UVA 30, Clemson 10 in Charlottesville, 2004

Last week: UVA bye, Clemson beat Duke 31-7

Line: Clemson by 2.5

Clemson season preview here.

Clemson blogs: Block-C, Mickey Plyler's Blog

Injury report:

OUT: LB Aaron Clark, LB Jared Detrick, LB Cam Johnson, DE Zane Parr, RB Mikell Simpson

DOUBTFUL: CB Mike Parker


PROBABLE: LB Darren Childs, OT Eugene Monroe, S Corey Mosley, WR Kevin Ogletree, TE Colter Phillips, K Robert Randolph, LB Clint Sintim

Third time's the charm right? Right? For two games now, we've been looking to get bowl-eligible, and no dice. Now we have a bye week, which is supposed to be a good thing; an opponent in turmoil and already ensconced in a coaching search, which is supposed to be a good thing; and a home game, which is supposed to be a good thing. Never underestimate our ability to screw up a good thing.

We even have something to play for, still, and not just the Humanitarian Bowl. Georgia Tech kept us alive by clocking Miami. If there's one thing you can count on this year it's that being the ranked team is bad news. Now the Coastal picture looks like this. (Yes, it was put together by Cousin Eddie, thus, we're "France." Et je m'appèlle Napoleon.) What it boils down to is this: if we win out, and UNC wins out, yay. Otherwise, boo. Because I don't think NC State will beat Miami.


- Whatever it is we usually do during bye weeks, don't do it. There seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between our success and the amount of time we have to prepare. I'm just praying the coaching staff has us on the right track this time, but give Mikey Groh too long to write a play script and who knows what awful things will happen. Dollars to donuts we see that godawful play-action-tight-end-screen during the first two offensive series.

- Spiller Spiller Spiller Spiller Spiller. Clemson's offense revolves around him. It's not like they don't have other weapons, but Spiller is their favorite. Shutting him down doesn't guarantee a win, but not shutting him down pretty much guarantees a loss.

- Turnovers. Yeah, yeah. A John Madden key to the game. It's why Clemson is so bloody mediocre though. Their defense: not that bad. Their offense: also not that bad, by ACC standards. Truth be told, they could be one of the myriad 7-3 teams in the conference, but they turn the ball over more than twice a game. So go out there and get some fumbles.


- If the defensive line doesn't mash up Clemson's mediocre-at-best O-line, their skill players are gonna waltz all over us. Remember before the season how everyone was all like, Clemson's gonna be sweet if their O-line doesn't suck? Well, their O-line kinda sucks, but our D-line is prone to having poor games. Good defenses have ground Clemson's attack to a halt by getting in the backfield, but they still know a thing or two about moving the ball. See Spiller's absurd yards-per-carry if you don't believe me.

- Kicking game. It's part of the college game, but I hate not having a dependable kicker. Reyering and Randolph aren't exactly awful, but if we're down 24-23 with two seconds left and a 32-yard field goal attempt coming up, are you gonna feel really awesome about our chances right then?


I don't know. I will not be watching. The game shares a time slot with Michigan-Ohio State. That game is more likely to be a slaughter than anything, so the second half, or even the last three quarters, are not at all out of the question. The one and only football game that I purposely skipped during my four years in Charlottesville was a Georgia Tech game (not the hook-and-ladder one) that happened to fall at the same time as a Michigan-OSU game. If my fears come true, I'll more than likely try and forget them by watching our game instead. If it's a close game in Columbus, I'll rely on my trusty TiVo and watch the game afterwards.

This is a game we can win, which should worry us. But those feelings of doubt are starting to creep back into the fanbase, which means we're ripe for a win. So who knows. I throw my hands in the air any more at trying to predict how any game involving an ACC Coastal team will go. Go Hoos, is all I know right know, and also: Go Blue.


Georgia Tech 41, Miami 23 on Thursday. Niiiiiiiiiice.
NC State @ North Carolina, 12:00. C'moooooooonnnn Heels.
Boston College @ Wake Forest, 3:30. Elimination game.
Duke @ Virginia Tech, 5:30. It doesn't matter, but for the hell of it, go Duke.
Florida State @ Maryland, 7:45. Maryland clinches with a win and a Deacons' win.

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