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ORANGE CRUSH // OPEN GAMEDAY THREAD: FIVE REASONS vs. Clemson

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This will serve as the Open Gameday Thread, but go ahead and hold forth if you want to. I'll probably check in after the game.

1. A deflated opponent. While the BC loss makes this game more important to Clemson, it could also make them susceptible to a letdown. After all, winning this game is now a consolation prize -- something the Gamecocks got used to weeks ago.

2. Steve Spurrier. There is some controversy over whether Spurrier actually told his players after the 2005 loss that he would never lose the game again. But it's not hard to think that Spurrier, having seen how much this means to the fans and apparently having little respect for Baby Bowden, hasn't at least had that thought go through his mind. That's bad news for the Tigers.

3. The seniors. Blake Mitchell can secure his legacy and Cory Boyd can cement his place as the most undeserved player in America with a win. That could be the spark they need to give them some determination.

4. Motivation. The season is on the line. A bowl berth is only assured, and only deserved, with a win. And the crowd should be fired up, unless things go bad quickly.

5. Rivalry. It's a rivalry. Anything can happen.


1. History. As Flounder reminds us, this is a rivalry in whcih South Carolina has repeatedly come out on the worse end. The Gamecock haven't one more than once since doing so from 1968-70. If you want to read more of the depressing facts, click on the link. That's all I could bear to type.

2. DaviSpiller. Though it's disappointing for them, perhaps, the 1,438 yards from the RB duo for Clemson is still impressive. South Carolina's run defense is, um, er, not impressive. The main objective has to be to prevent Spiller and Davis from scoring TDs and breaking the 100-yard dash record at the same time.

3. Cullen Harper. The QB's not shabby, either. He's 240-of-362 (66.3 percent) for 2,658 yards and 26 TDs against 5 INTs. Once again, the secondary will have to prove its worth, this time without Captain Munnerlyn. It didn't do so well against Florida.

4. Defense. Clemson has allowed just 19 offensive TDs this year, holding opponents to 18.1 ppg, just over half of the Tigers' own average score. They've also limited the damage from the passing game to 175.7 ypg.

5. The slide. I hate reverting to commentator-speak like this, but it's worth wondering if the Gamecocks remember how to win. Losing five games in a row, after starting out a promising 6-1, can do strange things to a team.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 38, Clemson 31. I hold to my vow to never pick the Tigers against the Gamecocks, but this might be the least confident I've ever felt in this pick. It's heart over head, and that doesn't usually run out well.