Clemson University

College football today

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper passes against Duke during the first half.
Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper passes against Duke during the first half.

See pages 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks and Tigers, including notes, statistics, key matchups and more.

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS (6-3, 4-2 ACC) AT NO. 20 CLEMSON TIGERS (7-2, 4-2), NOON

• TV: ESPN2 (cable channel 28 in Rock Hill)

• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)

• Series record: 55-16-1 Clemson

• Last game: Clemson 27, Wake Forest 17, Oct. 7, 2007, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

• Last week: Virginia beat Wake Forest 17-16; Clemson beat Duke 47-10

• Rankings: Clemson is 20th in each poll and 21st in the BCS standings. Wake Forest received votes in each poll.

• Tickets: Sold out

TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY

• Intense: The Tigers are in great position to make a run at the ACC title and know Wake Forest will throw everything it's got at them. If they come out firing and score some quick points, it may be all they need to cruise to the win.

• Aggressive: Wake Forest prides itself on a good defense, but it's not unbeatable. If Rob Spence can shed his sideline-to-sideline passing game and get Aaron Kelly and Rendrick Taylor some early streak routes, Cullen Harper can burn the Deacons deep right away.

• Replace Gaines: Gaines Adams almost single-handedly won the game last year with his epic fumble return and somebody's got to replace that spark. C.J. Spiller, another hero of last year's game, finally broke a big kick return last week so maybe it'll be up to him.

PREDICTION

This game's always intriguing, whether by determining job status or championship aspirations. Wake has shaken a sluggish start to once again be in the thick of the race but like Clemson, needs a win to stay alive. Clemson is just getting into the groove and received a boost last week when division-leading Boston College lost. Keeping an eye on the Eagles coming to town next week and knowing how important this game is, Clemson won't disappoint today.

TIGERS 28, DEMON DEACONS 21

NO. 17 FLORIDA GATORS (6-3, 4-3 SEC) AT SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (6-4, 3-4), 7:45 p.m.

• TV: ESPN (cable channel 25 in Rock Hill)

• Radio: WRHM-FM (107.1)

• Series record: 20-4-3 Florida

• Last game: Florida 17, USC 16, Nov. 11, 2006, in Gainesville, Fla.

• Last week: Florida beat Vanderbilt 49-22, Arkansas beat USC 48-36

• Rankings: Florida is 17th in The Associated Press poll, 18th in the USA Today/coaches poll and 15th in the BCS poll. USC received votes in each poll.

• Tickets: Sold out

GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY

• Stack the line: It doesn't make a difference if USC's defense is expecting a pass or not. The first play has got to be a blitz on Tim Tebow or a jump into the backfield to stop Percy Harvin. Not for the play, but for showing the Gamecocks can actually stop a runner after the debacle last week.

• Don't sweat it: USC is still mathematically in the SEC race but having Tennessee and Georgia lose won't do USC any good unless it beats Florida. Quit watching the scoreboard and win the game today.

• Spy: That guy wearing No. 15 in Florida's backfield will cut a defense to pieces if he's allowed to. Get in his face on the throws and bring him down hard on the runs. Tebow's good but he's not invincible.

PREDICTION

The past three weeks have been so frustrating it's almost unfair to ask the Gamecocks to snap their funk against Florida, a team stocked with talent that USC has never been successful against. The past two years against the Gators have been close games and a split result, and if USC's defense was healthy today, it would be a different story. The Gamecocks' secondary is hobbled and the entire unit's mindset is fragile, stemming from The Darren McFadden Show last week, and that's all the room Tebow will need. Another close game, but ultimately, coach Steve Spurrier's first four-game losing streak since 1987.

GATORS 28, GAMECOCKS 24

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