College Football Betting Preview: Troy Trojans at Clemson Tigers

Troy Trojans at Clemson Tigers
Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina
Saturday, September 3, 2011, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN game plan
Opening Line: Clemson -14
Current Line: Clemson -16 1/2
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 56
Opening Money Line: Clemson -800 / Troy +600
Current Money Line: Clemson -700 / Troy +550

Clemson a surprising double-digit favorite on Saturday afternoon
Clemson is a 16 1/2 point favorite at home against Troy to open the season. The two teams have never met before.

Troy and Clemson will play each other for the first time on Saturday. Both teams made bowl games last year. Troy finished the Regular season at 7-5 and tied for the Sun Belt conference title under long time coach Larry Blakeney. with Florida International. The Trojans beat Ohio 48-21 in the New Orleans Bowl to finish 8-5. At 6-6 Clemson barely qualified for a bowl and lost 31-26 to South Florida. Coach Dabo Sweeney could be on the hot seat if Clemson doesn’t improve this year.

Troy had a prolific offense last year averaging 456.5 yards a game including 296.5 passing yards a game. The Trojans scored 34.1 points a game last season. Sophomore quarterback Corey Robinson returns to run the offense. Robinson completed 63.6% of his passes for 3,726 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season. Junior running back Shawn Southward returns after he had 115 carries, 623 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Southward also had 19 catches and 2 touchdowns last season. Junior Chris Anderson had 94 carries, 388 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He also had 19 catches and one touchdown. Experience at the receiver position could be an issue as the Trojans lost the top 5 receivers from last year. Senior Brett Moncrief is the only receiver who has started a game, and he only has 3 career starts. He is out with a broken foot at least for the Clemson game and probably more. Apart from the running backs sophomore Eric Thomas has the most experience among the healthy receivers. Thomas only had 9 catches last year. Corey Johnson, Jaquon Robinson, and B.J. Chitty are the other top receivers.

Troy gave up 410.7 yards a game and 30.2 points a game last season. The defense returns 7 starters led by DE Jonathan Massaquoi and linebacker Xavier Lamb.

Clemson struggled to move the ball last year. The Tigers averaged 337.2 yards a game and 24 points a game. They weren’t good at passing or rushing. Sophomore Tajh Boyd takes over at quarterback for Kyle Parker. Boyd completed 33 of 63 passes last year with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also had 23 carries and a touchdown run last year. He is a much better runner than Parker so he will use his arms and legs to do damage. Junior Andre Ellington is the top returning rusher. He had 118 carries, 686 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He also had 12 catches and a touchdown. Sophomore Roderick McDowell will also get significant carries this year. McDowell had 32 carries, 161 yards, and 1 touchdown last year. Sophomore DeAndre Hopkins was the top receiver last year with 51 catches, 626 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Jaron Brown and tight end Dwayne Allen will also get significant targets from Boyd.

Clemson relied on a dominant defense last year, giving up 320.6 yards and 18.8 points a game. Defensive end Andre Branch led the team in sacks last year and is a potential All-American. The defense should be a strength for the Tigers.

Clemson was 5-8 against the spread last season including 2-6 at home. The over/under was 3-10 last year, including 3-5 at home. Troy was 5-8 ATS last season including 3-4 on the road. The over/under was 7-6 last season including
4-3 on the road. The over is 14-2 in Troy’s last 16 games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more. Eight of Clemson’s last nine games have gone under.

I think this line is too high. Clemson is breaking in a new quarterback and new receivers. Troy is an experienced team that has gone to 5 straight Bowl games. They won’t be intimidated going into Death Valley. Clemson will win but it will be closer than people think.

Check out our college football odds page for the best lines on every game. Our college football handicappers are ready to crush the bookmakers in 2011.

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  1. You are right, on Clemson’s website they listed the leaders among the players returning this fall. I should have clarified that.

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