GAME: South Carolina (7-4, 4-4 SEC) at Clemson (6-5, 4-4 ACC)
LOCATION: Death Valley (81,500)
TIME: 12:00 PM EST
SPREAD: Tigers by 1
SERIES: The series dates to 1896 and the first year of football at Clemson, the fourth season for South Carolina. Clemson holds the advantage 64-37-4 since that first meeting in Columbia, a game won by South Carolina 12-6. Clemson actually has more wins over South Carolina than any other school and those victories represent over 10 percent of Clemson's all-time victory total (631). South Carolina won the last time the two teams met at Clemson, 31-28, but the Tigers have won five out of six, nine of 11, and 15 of the last 20 in the series.
COACHES: Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney is 3-2 overall in his first six weeks on the job and has never faced the Gamecocks as a head coach. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is 28-20 (172-60-2 overall) in his fourth season at South Carolina and owns a 2-4 career record against the Tigers (1-2 while coaching the Gamecocks).
SOUTH CAROLINA KEY PLAYER: QB Chris Smelley. The Gamecocks have to find consistent quarterback play and Smelley appears to be the flavor of the week chosen by Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier. If he isn't effective, normal No. 2 QB Stephen Garcia is the No. 3 signal caller behind Tommy Beecher entering the game because of an illness that forced him to miss two practices this week.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller is the one difference maker in Saturday's game and he must be able to create big plays for Clemson to put points on the board against South Carolina's No. 2-ranked pass defense. Spiller was bottled up against Virginia's umbrella defense but he should have more opportunities against South Carolina's aggressive style.
INJURIES: Clemson - DE Ricky Sapp (ACL) out, DT Jamie Cumbie (wrist) out, OG Barry Humphries (knee) out, DB Chris Clemons (knee) probable, LB Brandon Maye (ankle) probable. South Carolina - RB Eric Baker (ankle) out.
CLEMSON QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you coach at Clemson or South Carolina, whether you are an assistant, the custodian, the secretary, you want to win. It's no different. I'm just driving the car. I can assure you the previous five [games] I wanted to win just as bad. No different in this situation. I know how important it is from both sides. There's a lot on the line. It doesn't get any better than this." - Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney on facing South Carolina.
SOUTH CAROLINA QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're expecting a down-to-the-wire game. All three of them since I've been here have been that way. It could be that way (again). The ball bounces funny. It's two pretty even teams the way I see it. The teams that probably plays the best and the smartest should win it." - South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: The last three games played between these two teams have been decided by nine total points. In addition the last two games have been decided on a last-second field goal attempts.
FORECAST: Showers likely. Cooler with highs in the upper 40s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
[ Updated Forecast ]
* Around the ACC
* Dan Scott Preview & Prediction
* CUTigersTV: 1-on-1 with Dabo
* "The Catch II"
* "The Catch" Lives On
* CUTigersTV: J.D. Wants One More Win
* What We are Hearing...
* STALLINGS: Dabo is Ready
* Harper Ready for Emotional Game
* Tuesdays with Vic
* Dabo Swinney's Press Conference
* Buchholz Recalls "Greatest Feeling"
* South Carolina - Clemson Depth Chart
* Annual Grudge Match Returns
* The Orange Pants
* Rodney's Revenge
* Sapp Out for Season
PREDICTION: Clemson 19 South Carolina 17
It's the last game for Thunder & Lightning as James Davis enters his final home game as a Clemson Tiger. Simply put, emotions will be riding high, especially with bowl hopes and perhaps Coach Swinney's job on the line. While South Carolina has been slightly more consistent this season, Clemson has generally found ways to win these kind of games against its archrival over the years. As long as Cullen Harper can manage the game without committing turnovers in bunches, the Tigers win a low-scoring slugfest in the cold rain inside of Death Valley.
TIGER PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live from the Lawn at Littlejohn from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM Saturday morning. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web at wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 74th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
CAPSULE: Tigers Aiming for a Bowl
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