GAME: No. 24 Alabama (0-0) vs. No. 9 Clemson (0-0)
LOCATION: Atlanta, Ga. - The Georgia Dome (71,977)
TV: ABC (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Erin Andrews, Lisa Salters) [COVERAGE MAP]
TIME: 8:00 P.M. EST
SPREAD: Tigers by 5
FORECAST: Sunshine and clouds in the afternoon outside the Georgia Dome. High near 89 degrees. Small chance (20 percent) of a thunderstorm.
SERIES: Alabama leads the overall series 11-3 however all three Clemson wins have occurred on a neutral field. The two schools have not met on a football field since 1975- a 56-0 Alabama victory in Tuscaloosa.
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 69-42 (87-46 overall) entering his 10th season in Tigertown. He has never faced Alabama as a head coach. Alabama coach Nick Saban owns a career record of 98-48-1, including a 7-6 mark in his first year with the Crimson Tide. Saban has never served as a head coach against the Tigers.
ALABAMA KEY PLAYER: QB John Parker Wilson. Wilson, a senior, will be in charge of a new offense that involves shorter, more precise passes. While it's not a complete overhaul from what he's done in past seasons, this will still be his third new offense in as many years. He'll need to have a great game to give the Tide the best opportunity to win.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: OL Thomas Austin. The much anticipated matchup of Clemson's young offensive line against Alabama's front three (or four pending on the play) will be dictated by individual battles like Austin versus massive DT Terrence Cody. Austin is also responsible for calls at the line of scrimmage and will be looked to as the leader in the huddle. He needs to have one of the best games of his career to help keep the line of scrimmage under control. If he does it, it will likely pave the way for a Clemson victory.
INJURIES: Clemson: DT Rashaad Jackson (quad) out. RB Jamie Harper (ankle) questionable.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: This will be the third season opener for the Tigers in which both teams were ranked in the preseason. In No. 18 Clemson defeated No. 12 North Carolina to open the 1959 season, 20-18. 23 years later in 1982 the Tigers, then ranked No. 11, lost to No. 7 Georgia in Athens, 13-7.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's kind of like playing Monopoly with monopoly money. You've got a big stack but it doesn't mean anything. What we've challenged our team to do is see if it can create a sense of urgency to defend that ranking and let's see if they do that. We've never been in this position where we've got something they want. We are No. 9, they are No. 25. How the team responds to that is awfully important but we won't really know how they'll respond until they play." -- Tommy Bowden.
* Spotlight on ... Thomas Austin
* Tigers Go Through Final Workouts
* The Scout Show on FoxSports.com
* Traffic Plan for Clemson/Alabama
* Game Notes
* Saban Puts In Late Hours- Real Late
* 5 Early Keys to Beating 'Bama
* 'Bama By the Numbers: OFFENSE
* 'Bama By the Numbers: DEFENSE
* Chancellor Up for the Challenge?
* Dan Scott Preview & Prediction
* BOWDEN: Punter Still Unsettled
* Quick Hits with James Davis
* What We are Hearing...
* The Next Anthony Waters?
* Tommy Bowden's Press Conference
* Diehl Him Back In
* Saban Says Tide Ready to Play Game
* BOWDEN: Game Week is Here
* Tuesdays with Vic
* Forget the Past
* Monday Morning QB
PREDICTION: Clemson 30 Alabama 21
Expect a defensive struggle early before both teams settle in during the second half. Bottom line, Alabama doesn't possess the kind of talent needed at the line of scrimmage to take advantage of Clemson's inexperience on the offensive line. In addition, the Tigers are much more explosive on offense. Expect a higher scoring game than most are predicting, with Clemson pulling away in the second half.
PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live from STATS, next door to the Georgia Dome from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Saturday afternoon. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web at wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 63rd consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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