And here we have the reverse of the Georgia-Georgia Tech game. In this matchup, it's the ACC team that's got a trip to the championship game on its mind and the SEC team that won't be making the trip to the title bout. And both teams are incredibly difficult to figure out.
Or one of them is, in any case. It's not really that hard to figure out that Clemson is simply Clemson, and that explains away the losses at Georgia Tech and at N.C. State when an undefeated season seemed like a real possibility. But South Carolin is a bit harder case -- better than last year's team, not good enough to beat Auburn, and a team capable of either playing down to their opponent or forcing their opponent to play down to them, depending on your perspective.
Of course, the South Carolina defense has taken its share of bumps and bruises this year. When healthy, the Gamecocks could likely shut down the Tigers' passing offense; a less-healthy unit makes that outcome less certain. And South Carolina is still trying to find the perfect answer to losing Marcus Lattimore, having scored more than 17 points in just one of three FBS games they've played since then.
Clemson, though, has struggled to keep the other team off the scoreboard since mid-October. Maryland, UNC, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and N.C. State have all put up 28 points on the Tigers, and only Wake fell short of 30 on the board. That's not exactly a recipe for success given that South Carolina's game against The Citadel last week gave Steve Spurrier two weeks to prepare.
I never pick against South Carolina in this game, for a variety of reasons. So take this one with a grain of salt if you want to.
South Carolina 21, Clemson 17