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Greetings from Death Valley

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson fans know how to tailgate. This is one of the best places in the ACC to watch a game, and it's impossible to get lost on the way to Memorial Stadium -- just follow the tiger tails on the backs of the SUVs, the giant orange paws on the road and the smell of burgers on the grill. It's a beautiful, crisp morning here -- it was about 60 degrees around 9 a.m. -- and the high today is expected to be 77 and there's not a cloud in the sky.

This game has all the ingredients for another classic, and the past three have all gone into overtime and been decided by a combined 15 points. Miami leads the series 5-3. It's also a matchup between two of the youngest coaches in the ACC. Dabo Swinney is the youngest at 40, and Randy Shannon is the second youngest at 44.

Here are three keys to the game:

  • Pressure on quarterback Kyle Parker. Miami will bring it, Clemson has to fend it off. The Hurricanes lead the nation in tackles for loss per ga,e (11.33) and are second in sacks per game (4.67). This game will be won or lost up front in the matchup between Clemson's offensive line and Miami's defensive line.

  • Turnovers. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has thrown six interceptions in the past two games and Clemson is tied for No. 7 in the country in turnover margin (1.75).

  • Field position. Miami's special teams have been a difference-maker. The Hurricanes lead the ACC in kick returns, and rank fourth in punt returns and punting.