See page 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks and Tigers, including notes, statistics, key matchups and more.
NO. 25 CLEMSON TIGERS (6-2, 3-2 ACC) AT DUKE BLUE DEVILS (1-7, 0-5), NOON
• TV: Pay-per-view
• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)
• Series record: 33-16-1 Clemson
• Last game: Clemson 49, Duke 20, Nov. 5, 2005, in Clemson
• Last week: Clemson beat Maryland 30-17; Florida State beat Duke 25-6
• Rankings: Clemson is 25th in The Associated Press poll, 24th in the USA Today/coaches poll and 25th in the BCS standings.
• Tickets: Available at 1-800-CLEMSON
TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Wake up: Noon kickoffs come awful early but it's not anything the Tigers aren't used to. Those 6 a.m. wake-up calls for weight-lifting aren't pleasant, either.
• Throw: Cullen Harper's in a groove right now and needs to try out the returning Rendrick Taylor. Chuck it deep a few times and let receivers run under it.
• DO look ahead: Usually not good advice, but the Tigers' next two games are against a surging Wake Forest team and undefeated Boston College. Clemson has to win both of those to have a chance at the ACC title but the Tigers need some help from BC's opponents to leap over the Eagles in the standings.
We all remember what happened the last time Clemson went to Duke and the Blue Devils doubtless remember it as a program hallmark, considering they've lost 22 straight ACC games since. The Tigers, most of whom weren't around that day, will still wipe out the memory. Clemson's too strong, too fast and too big, even with several injuries to account for, to let the Blue Devils think they've got much of a chance.
TIGERS 55, BLUE DEVILS 15
NO. 23 USC GAMECOCKS (6-3, 3-3 SEC) AT ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (5-3, 1-3), 8 P.M.
• TV: ESPN2 (cable channel 28 in Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHM-FM (107.1)
• Series record: 9-6 Arkansas
• Last game: Arkansas 26, USC 20, Nov. 4, 2006, in Columbia
• Last week: Tennessee beat USC 27-24 (OT); Arkansas beat Florida International 58-10
• Rankings: USC is 23rd in the AP poll and 25th in the USA Today/coaches poll.
• Tickets: Sold out
GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Hit: It's no secret -- Arkansas will turn to running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to win today. McFadden is fighting a set of bruised ribs -- not advising USC's defense to concentrate on his ribs, but hey, it's a lot easier than trying to wrap the shifty back's legs.
• Blake: Blake Mitchell nearly rallied the Gamecocks to a win last week and has been given the starting job today and the rest of the year -- if he performs. It was at this point last year where Mitchell played the best football of his career, and with a rejuvenated offense seeking another strong day, he's got his chance.
• Don't worry: USC's not out of the SEC race but the road's a lot more difficult, requiring some scoreboard-watching for Tennessee's results. The Vols are playing a non-conference game today and even if they weren't, what UT does is irrelevant if USC doesn't win.
USC's run defense has improved each week but it hasn't faced a tailback the caliber of McFadden yet. The junior has had two huge games against the Gamecocks -- 187 yards in a 2005 loss and 219, his career-best, last year -- and is doubtless wanting to improve his totals. The Gamecocks will keep it close but won't be able to wrap up McFadden for long. Even if they do, Arkansas will have one more big play in the bag.
RAZORBACKS 21, GAMECOCKS 17