Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 1

Weekend of August 30 - September 1, 2012

Clemson vs. Auburn
(Clemson is favored by 3.5 points)


Sometime later this week Clemson will take a familiar route down I-85 to Atlanta's Georgia Dome.  Between games against the 10th Street Trade School and Peach Bowls, Clemson has plenty of experience playing in the Big City.  However, familiarity has not bred success as they have not won a game in Atlanta since dual wins in 2003, including a 39-3 thrashing of said Trade School and a 27-14 thumping of Tennessee in the Peach Bowl.  In that span, they have lost a Peach Bowl, kick-off game to Bama, and four games to some players who aren't even able to sing their own fight song.

How will that effect Saturday night's game against Auburn?  Ultimately, it won’t.  It may feel that way early on as I expect Auburn to come out fired up, ready to show the world last year was a blip on the radar.  Meanwhile, Clemson starts the game still trying to shake the Orange Bowl, feeling like they need to score 71 to win.  Additionally, Clemson’s young offensive line has trouble getting their calls while the Auburn defensive line shows their potential.  The result, Auburn jumps out to an early double digit lead.  Following the initial onslaught, Clemson exhales, begins to find a rhythm, and starts putting points on the board.  The defense plays their scheme and has some success rattling Auburn’s young quarterback.  Both teams go into the half within three of each other.

Clemson comes out in the third quarter and begins to establish themselves as they take the lead.  The defensive success continues and they stretch it to two touchdowns.  Auburn makes a late charge and has the ball with a chance to win or tie, but the defense holds and the offense is able to bleed the clock.  The result?  Clemson starts the year 1-0 and has a few weeks to prepare for a huge match-up in Tallahassee.

TigerSwag’s prediction?  Take Clemson and their experienced playmakers against a young, but talented Auburn team.

Clemson 27, Auburn 20


In my 40+ years on this earth, I can always tell when Clemson has themselves ripe to be knocked down.  This weekend “should” be one of those situations.  The upstate cats are very thin on both lines of scrimmage but have the luxury of ignoring that due to some very impressive skill position talent and the presence of some dangerous playmakers.   The Pickens fan base is completely delusional and has yet to understand that being the best team in the ACC is equivalent to being the sexiest man at Comic-Con.

A Clemson chum of mine and I were discussing this matchup recently and he talked about how much this game reminded him of the Clemson-Alabama game at the dome a few years ago in Atlanta.  I agree with that assessment for the most part, although I don’t think this Auburn team is nearly as good as that Alabama team was.  Auburn is going to focus on running the ball and controlling the line while Clemson is going to try and “big-play” their way to a win.  My instinct says most of the time who controls the trenches wins games.  So despite some gaping holes in War Eagle country too, I give them the edge to pull this one out.

Auburn 27, Clemson 23
South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
(South Carolina is Favored by 7 Points)


Many factors are workings against UCS for their season opener.  The pressure, the injuries, the unknown, and an upstart Vandy program.  But when things all appear lined up for a major upset, you run.  Run away from the upset and put your money on the favorite.  And in this case, I REALLY want to proclaim a Vandy win.  But I can’t.  UCS is good and Vandy is not quite there yet.

I expect a close game.  UCS finds a way to get on the board first and use their defense to put Vandy in a choke hold.  They eventually wear them down and leave town with a victory.

TigerSwag’s prediction?  Vegas has this game right with a 7 number, which means you could play either side and have a chance.  In this case, with all signs pointing toward the upset, you run to UCS and pray they are ready to play.

UCS 21, Vandy 13


If the Gamecocks had not already gone through this scenario before in Nashville, I would be likely to call for the upset on Thursday night.  South Carolina and Spurrier got plucked a few years ago in Music City and are wide awake this time.  James Franklin will have the Commodores ready and the atmosphere will be one of the best ever witnessed at Vanderbilt.  I tip my cap to him and know they will come out and hit the Gamecocks square in the mouth. 

If you’re Vandy, you have to harness that early explosion of energy and momentum and build a lead.  If Carolina survives the initial frenzy and keeps their heads about them, then we will win the game.  I would say Vandy needs to be up by at least a touchdown at halftime.  The Gamecocks and Lattimore will get better as the night goes along.  USC’s talent and depth should be the determining factor in the 4th quarter and I think they will.  Vandy will impress everyone coast to coast, make a great show of it, and give Carolina everything it wants and more.  Then we will survive and earn a very tough opening SEC win.
USC 21, Clemson 13

Read more from the Cock-a-Booster at (www.cockabooster.com)
and The TigerSwag at (www.thetigerswag.com).


  1. "However, familiarity has not bred success as they have not won a game in Atlanta since a 39-3 thrashing of said Trade School in 2003."

    We beat Tennessee in December 2004 in the Peach bowl.

    1. Nice catch. I saw that in the main prediction, but forgot to grab it here too.

      Go Tigers!


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