Clemson season prediction: Games 7-12
Virginia Tech in Death Valley
The Tigers whooped the Hokies twice last year; 23-3 and 38-10. You can bet Clemson has some focus and relevance in the Hokies fall camp. Virginia Tech of late has had big trouble even staying in games against big opponents. Along with Clemson's two victories last year the Hokies have struggled in big games with losses to , Michigan, Boise State, Stanford.
You can smell revenge and get back for Virginia Tech and their return to Death Valley. The Hokies offense has been too predictable with co-offensive coordinators Bryan Stinespring and Mike O'cain. In an age where coordinators want to get multiple the Hokies have been the opposite on offense.
Clemson will come in to this game battle tested. My opinion is offensive coordinator Chad Morris has haunted Virginia Tech defensive coordinator for 9 months and that haunting will continue. Foster is very stubborn against great offensive minds like Chad Morris and Jim Harbaugh and paid dearly. More "robber" defense, more Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins, more Chad Morris playing chess. After 14 days rest from the Georgia Tech game Clemson comes in fresh and energized.
Wake Forest in Winston Salem
Here we go, the dreaded trip to Winston Salem in that dreary Thursday night environment at BB&T field. This every other trip has produced a mixed bag for Clemson from the Gaines Adams improbable blocked kick, scoop and score to the rain drenched loss that proved to be Tommy Bowden's last game as Clemson's coach.
Last year Wake Forest sat back in zone coverage and made Tajh Boyd throw in to tight windows. The less athletic Demon Deacons gave Clemson fits causing a narrow escape in overtime.
This year Clemson will come off a battle with Virginia Tech with a 5 day turn around for this game. This game Clemson will get all it wants against Wake Forest. This sets up as a perfect storm for an upset. I'm going to play the Brent Venables card here. His experience and leadership will lead an inspired Clemson defense. Mark it down; Clemson grows up in this game. Clemson won't pull a Clemson.
Duke in Durham
Another dreary environment Clemson will travel to. This is a game that should never be in doubt. Too much Clemson speed and athleticism.
Maryland in Death Valley
Do you smell that? It's smoke billowing out of College Park, Md. It's the active dumpster fire and 24 transfers that is the Randy Edsall era. With starting quarterback CJ Brown out for the season for the outlook is even more grim.
Sammy Watkins has another huge game. Clemson wins this in a game that's never close.
NC State in Death Valley
Last year the Wolfpack thumped Clemson. It's was NC State coach Tom O'brien's only win versus a top 10 opponent.
Clemson will have it's hands full in this game. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon is a good one and I think will blossom this year. NC State plays solid on both lines. The NC State defense is just the kind that gave Tajh Boyd fits; rush 4-5 and make him throw in to tight spaces.
This is a game Clemson can lose and will need to be working on all cylinders to win. I think the Tigers struggle early and often in this game and give the home crowd a scare. This has the makings of an "oops' game for Clemson. NC State pulls this out in a close one.
NC State wins
South Carolina in Death Valley
Three years and 1095 days. Clemson hasn't beat the Gamecocks since November 29th 2008. This is a must win for head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson and this team. No Clemson fan wants to consider the implications of a fourth loss in a row to the Gamecocks.
This game has been thoroughly dominated by South Carolina by brute force on both lines of scrimmage. Head coach Steve Spurrier has done an excellent job in the arena of toughness. His team is big, fast and physical on the lines of scrimmage. This has made up for the lack of toys for Spurrier to play with on offense.
Clemson's attention is perked. The staff is tired of hearing about this, the players are tired of hearing about this. This game will start much the same way the last three have with the difference being this time Clemson will punch back. I think the Tigers have learned they can't win this game from their backs.
An inspired performance to break the 3 game losing streak and little brother will be little brother again.
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