Clemson at South Carolina
Time: 11 AM CST (ESPN)
Spread: CLEM -27
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Clemson Tigers remain undefeated but have fallen to No. 3 in the AP polls. A likely win over South Carolina still should secure the Tigers a spot in the BCS playoff. It travels to face South Carolina as 27-point favorites Saturday at 11 AM (CST) on ESPN. The betting total is set at 50.5 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Clemson has outright dominated its last five opponents since barely escaping with its 21-20 win over North Carolina six weeks ago. The Tigers defeated Florida State by 31, Louisville by 35, Wofford by 45, and knocked off NC State 55-10 last week. That run of domination has given Clemson a +35.2 point differential on the heels of a top-30 pass offense and a top-10 rush offense.
The Tigers balance its attack about as well as possible: It averages 282.5 passing yards per game and 260.5 via the rush. Starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been phenomenal and even better than expected. He has thrown for 2,575 yards this season with a 68.1 percent completion ratio. He has 27 TD passes, eight INTs, but amazingly just nine sacks on the year (for a total loss of 71 yards). It is hard to find fault with anything he has done.
Lawrence is also the No. 3 leading rusher with 317 yards on 63 rush attempts, and he is No.2 on the team in rushing touchdowns with five. Lead running back Travis Etienne has been consistently very good once again. He has 1,335 yards on the season with an outstanding 8.7 yard-per-carry average, to go along with having scored 14 of the team’s total 34 rushing TDs.
The wideouts are led by Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. Collectively the pair has combined for over 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns. Higgins averages 20 yards-per-catch and has a long-catch of 62-yards.
The kicking game has been decent, with BT Potter and Steven Sawicki combining to hit 67 of 68 PATs (a block) and 10 of 17 field goals. However, of the seven misses, three came within the 40-yard line. Potter did knock down a 51-yarder though, so it is not purely a range issue.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are 4-7 on the season and enter this week as losers of its last two, having fallen to the now-ranked Appalachian State team, and also a 6-30 loss to Texas A&M last week. It will be tough to salvage the season with a win over a 27-point favorite, so with a .333 winning percentage, the Gamecocks are firmly out of bowl consideration this season.
South Carolina has been about middle-of-pack offensively, while not really standing out on the defensive end of the football either. The Gamecocks have a -0.8 point differential.
Gamecocks’ starting QB Ryan Hilinkski has been pretty solid despite the team’s struggles. He has 2,252 passing yards but averages just 5.9 yards-per-completion and he has suffered 17 sacks this season for 115 yards lost. The offensive line has made his job much harder than it should be, and this also applies, of course, to the backfield performers.
South Carolina averages a respectable 4.7 yards-per-carry, with its top back Tavien Feaster having rushed for 625 yards on 112 carries. South Carolina has scored 18 of its 30 touchdowns this season via the rush. Bryan Edwards has been far and away– the most dominant of the receivers. He has nearly twice as many catches as No. 2 option Shi Smith. Edwards also is responsible for six of the team’s passing touchdowns.
ATS TRENDS (C/o Covers):