All in all, this is probably one of the best Clemson teams in many years, at least in the sense that they haven't suffered from the same inconsistency that they have had in years past. What does that mean to us? Perhaps not much. The difference between this Clemson team and the units Tommy Bowden led is that this team has a lower variance, not that it's necessarily capable of playing at the level of Florida, Alabama, or Texas. This is to say that this team probably doesn't have a higher single-game ceiling than past teams, and since Clemson has always played its best game of the year against us, we can probably expect more of the same from them this year. If we lose, though, we might not be able to use the old excuse that the Palmetto Bowl is Clemson's Super Bowl, because this year the Tigers will likely be in Jacksonville.
C.J. Spiller, as you all know, is having a phenomenal year. I hate to admit this, but I really think that the fact that he's not getting more Heisman attention is a blow to the Heisman's credibility. (As if it still had any...) Spiller has rushed for almost 900 yards, caught for almost 400, has over 500 kickoff return yards, and has around 200 punt return yards. He has a total of 14 touchdowns. Add to that the fact that he has almost signle-handedly won games for Clemson this year, and you have the makings of a player that is one of the most talented in the country and that means as much to his team as anyone. Unfortunately for him, he probably won't get much of a look for the Heisman because he doesn't play for one of the glamour programs.
As far as our defensive strategy goes, you can bet that Ellis Johnson will keep a spy on Spiller at all times, given Spiller's ability to break one every play. However, while Spiller is clearly the Tigers' best player and the guy they center their offense around, he's not their only threat. In particular, we'll have to keep a close eye on Jacoby Ford, another guy that can make some big plays at times, especially if we sleep on him while focusing on Spiller. The best way to stop these guys? We need to get in the backfield early and often and keep these guys from developing plays in space. Clemson is somewhat vulnerable to a good push up front, so if we can get back to playing like we did against Ole Miss, we might have a chance.
- Clemson's defense is pretty good, although it has shown cracks against some of the ACC's better offenses. The key, probably, is that the Tigers have a nice defensive front that we'll have to stop. Really, I think we can move the ball against Clemson. The problem for us will be, as always, whether or not we can convert scoring opportunities.