Tigers By A Tail

Boston College went a long way toward locking up the ACC Atlantic Division with its dramatic come-from-behind win at Virginia Tech Thursday night, meaning that unless both Clemson and Maryland upset the Eagles next month, it's likely that this Saturday's contest between the Tigers and Terps is for second place.

But that's okay. Each of these over-.500 ACC teams is destined for a bowl game; the tilt between them in College Park this week probably goes a long way toward determining who gets the better bowl.

This is a contest between schools who haven't been good in recent games under current scenarios. Clemson is 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games as a favorite, 1-5 ATS against teams with a winning record and 2-5 ATS in conference games. Maryland is 5-11 ATS in their last 16 home games, 1-5 ATS in conference games, and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 overall. Ick. But this is a revenge game for Clemson, which is where my analysis begins.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global  have made Clemson -3.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 48 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Clemson -3.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Last year, the Terps came to Death Valley and shocked the 18.5-point-favored Tigers, holding James Davis and C.J. Spiller to "just" 131 yards rushing and stunning the home crowd with a two-minute drive and a field goal as the gun went off to win 13-12. Clemson played like a ticked-off team last week against what may be the MAC's best team, Central Michigan, winning 70-14 after dropping consecutive ACC games to Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Maryland lost a one-point game filled with ineptitude to Virginia, and their lone quality win, a 10-point victory at Rutgers, is looking less "quality" by the minute, as the Big East proves to be singularly overrated. For this one, I think Clemson's still mad, and Maryland's still mediocre.

The Terps' offensive line is perhaps the biggest single story on the field in this game. Guard Andrew Crummey broke his leg against Georgia Tech, and guard Jaime Thomas did the same against Virginia last week. That means the interior of Maryland's offensive line will be stretched razor-thin, and Keon Lattimore, who's third in the ACC in rushing, will find running in the interior difficult Saturday. That bodes well for Clemson, who boasts the third-best pass defense in terms of yards per game in the country. Spiller hasn't been great this year, but I still love James Davis, and QB Cullen Harper has 19 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. Maryland's Erin Henderson is a very good linebacker, someone for whom the Tigers will need to account every time they run. And I know laying road chalk with a Tommy Bowden team evokes thoughts of self-immolation, because Bowden doesn't always seem to be able to get his troops appropriately motivated on the road. But the pieces fit together well for Clemson this week: create a lot of pressure up the middle, get a lead, then unleash the hounds on a potentially shaky O-line. Take Clemson (-3.5) on the road at Maryland.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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