Syracuse Orange (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. No. 3 Clemson Tigers (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 5th, 2016. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Memorial Stadium Clemson, S.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SYR +27/CLEM -27
Over/Under Total: 61.5
The Clemson Tigers survived the biggest test that was remaining on their schedule last week with a nail biting and perhaps controversial 37-34 victory on the road at no. 12 Florida State. The victory nearly sealed the Tigers into the ACC Championship Game and possibly the College Football Playoffs if they can simply avoid any upsets over the next several weeks. This Saturday Clemsons chances towards a 2nd straight undefeated regular season will be put to the test by a huge underdog in the Syracuse Orange when the two teams tangle inside Memorial Stadium in Death Valley.
Syracuse will enter this Saturdays contest as pretty heavy 27 point underdogs. However, the Orange has proven that they can overcome such odds this season just as they did in their 31-17 upset over no. 17 Virginia Tech as 22 point underdogs. With an extra week of preparation for this weekends battle with Clemson, perhaps the Orange could do the unthinkable. However, it is going to be extremely tough considering how extremely talented Clemson is on both sides of the ball. The Tigers have proven themselves in multiple facets this season. We saw the defense dominate against Auburn, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina State. Then we saw the offense deliver in their biggest games of the season against Louisville and last week against Florida State.
Last week, the Tigers knew they were going to get Florida States best effort in a heavily hyped primetime game in Tallahassee. Even after a fast start, Clemsons offense remained in attack mode as quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 378 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 picks to lead an offense that gained 511 total yards. It has been those types of offensive performances that have won Clemson the big games this year. I am not saying that this weeks game against Syracuse qualifies for that scenario but the offense has been effective when they needed it the most.
It will be interesting to see how the pace of this game unfolds on Saturday mainly because Syracuse is notorious for moving the football through the air through a quick tempo attack. We all know that Clemson is dangerous in all aspects on offense but Syracuse is pretty solid as well. In fact, the Oranges ranked 5th in the FBS averaging 357 passing yards per game. Quarterback Eric Dungey has been very solid completing 65% of his passes for 2,631 yards with 15 scores and 6 picks through the first 8 games. More importantly, the offense has some skill players that could potentially challenge Clemsons physical defense on the outside to make this match-up worth watching.
Senior WR Amba Etta-Tawo leads the ACC and ranks 4th in the FBS with 1,074 receiving yards on the year. Additionally, junior WR Ervin Phillips has been big as well with 60 catches for 574 yards and 5 scores. Phillips has been one of the key components over the last several weeks especially in the win against Virginia Tech where he caught 11 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. If Syracuse can get Dungey some time to throw the football, I think these wide receivers can win some battles on the outside to keep the chains moving. However, protection will be a must for that to happen.
Clemson has been really good against the pass giving up just 180 yards per game (17th in FBS). One of the big reasons for that success is that they typically get a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Tigers defensive front is one of the best in college football and they are currently tied for 2nd in the FBS averaging 3.88 sacks per game. I am not so concerned about the sacks itself in this game but rather the overall pass rush. If Clemson can keep pressure on Syracuses offense, they can keep them off the field and not fall victim to their tempo.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this is a bad spot for Clemson off a really hard fought win against Florida State having to turn around and play an offense that is extremely quick. Any bad start to this game for Clemson could have the defense on their heels late in the game if they wear down. I like my chances with Syracuse and the points.
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