CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS (4-3) AT CLEMSON TIGERS (4-2), 12 P.M.
• TV: ESPNU (Digital cable channel 206 in Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)
• Series record: First meeting
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• Last week: Central Michigan beat Army 47-23; Clemson was idle
• Rankings: Clemson received votes in each poll
• Tickets: Available at 1-800-CLEMSON
TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Turn it loose: Central Michigan gives up almost 35 points a game, the perfect tonic for a sickly offense. The running game should get back on track today, and Cullen Harper should have time to pick and choose downfield routes.
• Wake up: The Chippewas are a dangerous passing team but their weak defense almost negates it. Wait until the Tigers have a comfortable lead before relaxing, D.
• Focus: Nothing is completely gone here. Not a conference title, not a national splash, not coach Tommy Bowden's job. If Clemson can get its mind right today, who's to say it doesn't run the table?
After a week off and again seeing those ominous storm clouds bearing Bowden's future begin to gather, the Tigers will roar out of the gate today and begin taking care of business. There's simply too much at stake to lay down. The Chippewas might make it interesting early, but Clemson has far too much talent to give CMU an upset hope for too long. Clemson gives everyone the ball and cruises home before next week's stiff test.
TIGERS 42, CHIPPEWAS 20
VANDERBILT COMMODORES (3-3, 1-3 SEC) AT NO. 6 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (6-1, 3-1), 12:30 P.M.
• TV: Pay-per-view
• Radio: WRHM-FM (94.3)
• Series record: 14-2 USC
• Last game: USC 31, Vanderbilt 13, Oct. 21, 2006, in Nashville, Tenn.
• Last week: Georgia beat Vanderbilt 20-17; USC beat North Carolina 21-15
• Rankings: USC is sixth in the AP poll, eighth in the USA Today/coaches poll and sixth in the BCS standings
• Tickets: Sold out
GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Push: The Gamecocks' woeful offensive line is charged with getting better against one of the toughest defenses in the conference. Give Chris Smelley -- or Blake Mitchell -- enough time to throw and open up enough holes for Mike Davis and Cory Boyd.
• Pressure: Vandy's going through its own quarterback switch, playing Mackenzi Adams a lot last week after starter Chris Nickson was deemed insufficient. Whoever's back there has got to feel some heat from the Gamecocks, which is where pass-rush specialist Eric Norwood comes in.
• Look ahead: That's right, look ahead. Win this one and USC's right where it hoped to be. Since the final four games have the potential to be letdowns, don't slip in a game that should be a comfortable win.
This is the last game before a brutal end-of-year stretch and is the final chance to work out any problems. The Gamecocks have heard all week how they laid down against North Carolina in the second half and with another quarterback switch looming, can't afford another shoddy showing, lest they anger Steve Spurrier for perhaps the final time. Vandy's a solid team but is still Vandy -- the program's at the bottom of the football superiority charts for a reason. USC will take a big lead -- whether it will evolve into a rout or slip into a cliffhanger is anybody's guess.
GAMECOCKS 24, COMMODORES 14