Dan Scott Preview & Prediction

CLEMSON - New home. Same old unreliable Magic Helmet? The Tigers weren't the only ones who got spanked in Week One. By reversing course on my June prediction and taking Clemson over Alabama in last week's column, I caused myself almost as many problems as Nick Saban did Tommy Bowden.

And who am I going to call for help? Roy Philpott?

No, I'll struggle ahead on my own and take my chances.

CITADEL (1-0) at CLEMSON (0-1) - 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Death Valley

CLEMSON OFFENSE VS. THE CITADEL DEFENSE
Even in a matchup of upper level NCAA vs. one level down NCAA I suppose you take nothing for granted. Especially the way Clemson played last week. But even with the offensive line's struggles vs. The Tide, and even with Barry Humphries out, the Tigers will be too big and strong for the Bulldogs to stay competitive for 60 minutes. Fans who want to see the running game get cranked up should be happy this week. Should be.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

CITADEL OFFENSE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSE
The Bulldogs have some weapons on this side of the ball, most notably a fantastic little wide receiver named Andre Roberts, who had nearly 80 catches, over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago as a sophomore. How well they run the ball to keep Clemson honest will play a major role in Roberts' - and the team's - success. Ultimately, again, Clemson will be too big and too strong for longer than The Citadel can handle.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

SPECIAL TEAMS
Overall not a bad performance in this category vs. Alabama. Freshman punter Dawson Zimmerman had one shaky kick but otherwise did fine. The kickoff coverage was okay, if not underused. And as it turned out C.J. Spiller's kickoff return for a score was the most offense Clemson would have all night. Don't really see much of a breakdown here (let's hope those aren't famous last words).

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

COACHING/INTANGIBLES
What Kevin Higgins has done at The Citadel has been nothing short of amazing. He has embraced the military culture there, and has convinced good players at that level that it's cool to attend a military school. Still, I give this category to the home team as well. Critics will complain about coaching, but in the end the season opener at Death Valley is enough of an intangible in Clemson's favor. Or at least it should be.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

BOTTOM LINE
The Tigers have never lost to a lower-division team since the NCAA split levels back in 1978. They won't lose this one, either. Still, I can see scenario where the Tigers are still a bit hung over from the Alabama loss and it takes time to get things rolling. Remember, The Citadel was tied 21-21 at Wisconsin last year at this time. Ultimately, though, Bowden's bunch gets things moving in the right direction.

THE PICK: Clemson 41, The Citadel 17

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