CLEMSON – It’s still cupcake season, when powerhouse programs are paying meager opponents to come to their place and take a whooping (of course, some FCS fodder have been rude guests lately, but we’ll get to that.)
Of all the mismatches this paper, none is judged as more one-sided than South Carolina State vs. Clemson.
The Tigers, fresh off a marquee 38-35 victory over Georgia in a top-ten showdown Saturday, rose from No. 8 to No. 4 in the Associated Press week 2 poll released Tuesday, behind Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon. Clemson received one first-place vote among the 60 voters.
They open as a 52-point favorite by the entertainment venues in Clemson. That’s the widest spread of the weekend as listed Tuesday.
For those who engage in that sort of activity, beware. In 28 games with Chad Morris calling plays for Tajh Boyd, the highly-regarded Clemson offense has surpassed 52 points just four times, and the Tigers have not beaten any opponent by 50-plus points since 2008.
However, that previous occasion was a 54-0 romp over … wait for it … South Carolina State, in the teams’ only meeting.
In his Tuesday press conference to help preview Clemson’s upcoming matchup with the MEAC member Bulldogs, head coach Dabo Swinney released the injured list for the Tigers.
RB Tyshon Dye (back), OL Joe Gore (knee) and DT Scott Pagano (ankle) have been ruled out for the weekend. Swinney said Dye, the true freshman who was expected to compete in a backup role, is shelved for four weeks as doctors insert epidurals to cure lower back pain, and will redshirt 2013 barring a rash of running back injuries in midseason or later.
CB Mackensie Alexander (groin) and TE Jordan Leggett (knee) are expected to make their Clemson debuts after suffering injuries in fall camp, though they’re cautiously listed as questionable.
Tight end Sam Cooper, who tore his ACL in the spring game, also is listed as questionable. So are defensive backs Jayron Kearse and Martin Jenkins, nursing shoulder injuries.
Remarkably, third-string quarterback Chad Kelly, who tore his ACL in the spring game and was listed as probable for last week’s game, is no longer even named on the list. Considering the Tigers are expected to put the game out of reach by halftime, Kelly’s a realistic candidate to play.
Check back to Postandcourier.com and the Tiger Tracks blog later today for full coverage of today’s Clemson interviews.