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Meineke Car Care Bowl Preview: South Florida, Clemson Fight Through the Malaise

Meineke Car Care Bowl, December 31, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

What it is: A battle of a Big East also-ran and an ACC also-ran at the home field of quite possibly the worst team in the NFL.

The teams: South Florida and Clemson

How USF got here: The Bulls arrive here fifth in the Big East in the first season under Skip Holtz. Scandal aficionados will remember that the only coach the program had ever had, Jim Leavitt, was forced out after last season after being accused of choking a player. Holtz was brought in from CUSA power East Carolina, but not a whole lot changed. USF did beat Miami (FL) and Louisville, but it lost to Florida and the four Big East teams above it in the standings. Quarterback B.J. Daniels was supposed to take a big step forward, but instead he threw and rushed for about 500 fewer yards than last year. They ended up 7-5, their worst record since 2005's 6-6 season.

How Clemson got here: Clemson had some expectations this season, landing 27th in the preseason consensus and second in the preseason ACC Atlantic standings. C.J. Spiller was gone but heralded QB Kyle Parker was back, and people looked for these Tigers to keep some of the momentum of last year's division championship. However Clemson lost its first three games to Big Six competition, Parker began to look like he was thinking about his minor league baseball contract more than football, and things unraveled as they failed to win more than two games in a row. They limp into this game having taken a 29-7 beating at the hands of arch rival South Carolina.

College football fans care because: Watching Clemson underachieve is, like the Masters, a tradition unlike any other.

SEC fans care because: It's stunning to think that this Clemson team took Auburn to overtime.

Watch this game if...: You've got nothing else to do. These teams are not good, and this will not be a good game. It might be close, but it will not be good.

The result: Clemson 16, USF 10