Football

Experts trust alma maters to win

To paraphrase Gen. Douglas McArthur, old football players never die, they just make predictions. As this week's USC-Clemson game approaches, former stars from both sides talk about the rivalry and offer insights as to how their alma maters can win this season.

Danny Ford, Clemson coach, 1978-89

"It seems like it's USC's time - but because of Clemson's offense lately and their defense, and Carolina's lack of offensive numbers against a tough schedule, I think Clemson wins it."

Pick: Clemson, 21-7

Steve Fuller, Clemson quarterback, 1975-78

"Being practical, not partisan, Clemson should be the favorite. But I also know how this game can go, and (USC coach Steve) Spurrier will get his team ready. I give a slight edge to Clemson, by a field goal."

Pick: Clemson, 27-24

Jeff Davis, Clemson linebacker, 1978-81

"I think Clemson will win. Our guys have matured this season and learned to handle adversity. Even with a young quarterback and young coaches, they've learned to win in spite of that. They have a lot of momentum and an opportunity to be the state champions as well as (ACC) champions after 18 years. The guys feel good about themselves, and I think they want to finish strong."

Pick: Clemson

Chris Gardocki, Clemson kicker, 1988-90

"We're going to kick a field goal to win it, how about that? We've struggled with our kickers (this season), so it would be ironic if that's how it works out."

Pick: Clemson, 24-21

Woody Dantzler, Clemson quarterback, 1998-2001

"I believe (Clemson) should win, but it's possible for our guys to be looking ahead to the ACC (championship game). But this is Clemson-Carolina, so it's going to be close, (and) the team with the fewest mistakes will win. ... If Clemson makes the mistake of looking ahead, they can get their butts kicked."

Pick: Clemson

George Rogers, USC running back, 1977-80

"South Carolina wins because we haven't won in so long. The question (for players) is, do I want to go to a bowl - a real bowl - or sit home? This is a pivotal game if they want to at least be proud of themselves going into a bowl game. If we beat Clemson, it's worth going to a bowl; if we don't, my opinion, it's not worth it (at 6-6). Steve Spurrier's done a great job with what he had to work with, but I'm not going to Shreveport again."

Pick: USC, 24-12

Corey Miller, USC linebacker, 1988-90

"South Carolina, of course. I feel like it's that time. I think this is the game the offense gets it together and we punch it in the end zone. We finally use that Wildcat offense with (Stephon) Gilmore; Virginia used that (offense) with success against Clemson."

Pick: USC, 24-17

Ryan Brewer, USC running back, 1999-2002

"I don't see our defense giving up too many points, that's how resilient they've been. C.J. (Spiller) is going to get loose, but because of the bye week, hopefully we'll play like never before. If we do that, we can come away with the win."

Pick: USC, 28-24

Jeff Grantz, USC quarterback, 1973-75

"I say we win because we're due. Clemson is drinking in the honor of (playing in) the ACC championship game. If (quarterback Stephen) Garcia gets protected for a change, that's the only way we can do it. I admire that guy, he's taken shots and keeps coming back. I'm very impressed with him."

Pick: USC, 24-21

Harold Green, USC running back, 1986-89

"We win because we need it more. We need to break this curse of being overshadowed by Clemson. I didn't fare too well against them (1-2-1 record), but this bunch is young and talented, and I don't think Clemson is more talented. I think they can put it together. We have the home advantage, but we haven't put a full game together all year, not for four quarters."

Pick: USC, 21-20

Otis Morris, USC defensive back, 1982, 1984-86

"We haven't had a good finish in a while, but I think our young guys and the seniors want a strong finish. I think the seniors will pull the young guys through."

Pick: USC, 24-12

Steve Taneyhill, USC quarterback, 1992-95

"You know, I can't say (Clemson) wins. I think we eliminate the big play by Spiller, and (Eric) Norwood has a great game."

Pick: USC, 20-17

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