Clemson University

Paul Strelow's gameday forecast, prediction

If Clemson has as much interest in Saturday’s game as I have in writing one of my unwieldy 10,000-word forecast blogs on Thanksgiving, the Tigers could be in trouble.

Let’s keep this on point and save all of us some time.

Plenty of compelling match-ups on both sides of the ball. How will Clemson handle USC’s jump-ball advantage, TE Weslye Saunders, QB Stephen Garcia’s scrambling ability, and the pass-rush of LB Eric Norwood and DE Cliff Matthews.

Will the Gamecocks be more physical against Clemson’s running game this time around; do anything to rattle QB Kyle Parker; or withstand the Tigers’ physically superior defensive line?

What tricks will USC have up its sleeve? Will the Gamecocks play with desperation or dysfunction? Can Clemson really summon the excitement for this game sandwiched between its two crowning moments of the season?

But what I really want to get the sense for is …

Have the echoing stats regarding Clemson’s series dominance done anything to light a fire under USC? Or are they what the Tigers needed to hear to elicit a sense of urgency this week.

Clemson has won:

Six of the last seven. 10 of 12. 9 of the last 10 in Columbia since 1988, a span as long as most of these players have been alive. Of course, lots of us media lemmings refused to pick Clemson to win the Atlantic Division simply because of its track record.

Maybe the logic is flawed.

Or maybe this is the year that defies logic.

But I’m standing by this year’s theme: Until proven otherwise …

PREDICTION: Clemson 27, USC 24

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