What will be big upset of rivalry weekend?

November 25, 2011

Clemson carries day

Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel

When looking for an upset this rivalry weekend, look no further than Columbia, S.C.

That's where No. 17 Clemson will try to continue its road dominance over rival No. 12 South Carolina. The Tigers have won nine of their last 11 meetings in Columbia.

Clemson is coming off a horrific 37-13 loss to North Carolina State last week and has lost two of its last three games, but the Tigers are looking to finish the season strong as they head into the ACC championship game.

South Carolina's only losses this season have come to SEC opponents — Auburn and Arkansas — but the Gamecocks have had their struggles after losing star running back Marcus Lattimore.

mmurschel@tribune.com

Yes, Virginia will win

Brian Hamilton

Chicago Tribune

No 10-win team seems more vulnerable than Virginia Tech, which has slipped into the top 5 of the BCS standings basically by staying out of its own way.

When there is a legitimate argument to be made that Arkansas State is your second-best win, it means your accomplishments are thinner than freezer wrap. So expect the Hokies to tumble at Virginia on Saturday, because the streaking Cavaliers have won four in a row and have beaten both ranked teams on their slate: Then-No. 15 Georgia Tech on Oct. 15, and then-No. 25 Florida State last weekend.

An ACC title game berth is at stake for both squads, and a wash in the motivation department is bad for Virginia Tech. Virginia won't be impressed by its visitors, and it won't lose, either.

bhamilton@tribune.com

Tide will get rolled

Mike Hiserman

Los Angeles Times

Auburn will beat second-ranked Alabama in the 76th Iron Bowl not because it is anywhere as good of a team as the Crimson Tide, but because that's just the way college football happens.

Think about it. Every time the Bowl Championship Series picture looks like it's about to clear up, storm clouds gather and a bolt of lightning hits. Here's this weekend's lightning strike.

Alabama should win this game easily. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense. Alabama also is motivated — not only by its renewed chance of earning a rematch with LSU in the BSC title game, but also by the opportunity to avenge last year's collapse in this rivalry game.

mhiserman@tribune.com

Eye the Hurricane

David Teel

Daily Press

Undefeated Houston leads the nation in scoring and passing and is two wins shy of crashing the BCS. The Cougars have won their last six games by an average of 46 points and their quarterback, Case Keenum, owns myriad NCAA records.

But Houston (11-0) faces its most challenging test Friday at Conference USA rival Tulsa (8-3). The Golden Hurricane's losses are to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State, and its tailback tandem of Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts has produced 1,617 rushing yards, just the ball-control offense needed to Super Glue Keenum to the bench.

The last time Keenum faced Tulsa, in 2009, he threw for 522 yards as Houston won 46-45 on a final-play, 51-yard field goal. Expect more pyrotechnics Friday, with Tulsa prevailing.

dteel@tribune.com

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