• TV: ESPN (cable channel 25 in Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)
• Series record: 32-11-2 Auburn
• Last time: Auburn 21, Clemson 17, at Atlanta (Peach Bowl)
• Last game: Clemson beat South Carolina 23-21; Auburn beat Alabama 17-10
• Rankings: Clemson is 15th in The Associated Press poll and 16th in the USA Today/coaches poll. Auburn is 22nd in the AP poll and 22nd in the USA Today/coaches poll.
• Tickets: Sold out
CLEMSON'S KEYS TO VICTORY
• Pass -- Cullen Harper's Christmas present came after the holiday, when offensive coordinator Rob Spence announced he'd be staying with Clemson after interviewing at Tennessee. Harper said he'd be tempted to look at his NFL options should Spence leave, but with his coach's system still in place, Harper can look forward to airing it out one more time. Auburn was the SEC's stingiest scoring defense but was 10th against the pass, allowing 173.7 yards per game. Harper can have a field day flinging to Aaron Kelly or Tyler Grisham, something Spence loves to do even on short-yardage situations.
• Grow up fast -- Put it this way, Scotty Cooper and Co. have known for a while that Tramaine Billie and Nick Watkins were struggling with grades and it was a very real possibility they'd be ineligible for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. When it became official, Cooper already had two weeks of practice as a starter under his belt. Auburn's got good, but not great, running backs, preferring to give the ball to quarterback Brandon Cox and let him cast downfield. Cooper might not have too many chances to prove he can handle the starting assignment, but when they pop up, he's got to hit and hit hard.
• Look out -- One of the biggest reasons Auburn's been so consistently successful over the past decade is its coach, Tommy Tuberville. Known as "The Riverboat Gambler" for rolling the dice in crucial situations and almost always coming up a winner, Tuberville's won 10 of his past 13 games against Top 10 opponents. While that's impressive, Clemson has to remember two things -- one, it's not in the Top 10. Two, Auburn's last two games against the Top 10 -- LSU and Georgia earlier this year -- were losses. The Tigers can't overlook Tuberville's penchant for pulling out trick plays.
• Prediction: Clemson's offense is capable of producing massive points against a defense that collapsed as the season ended, but the Tigers have seemed to be hesitant to use it lately. Who knows if that's healed after a month off, but if Clemson is going to win today, it's going to have to score early and often. Auburn's one of those teams that just keeps hanging around, losing the entire game before winning at the end. A lot of that's the coaching style of Tuberville and a lot of it's that Auburn simply isn't as dominating as it's been in the last few years, although it still won eight games. Clemson will control throughout but Auburn, toughened from a season in the SEC trenches, will have the big play at the end.
AUBURN 31, CLEMSON 30