ACC: Jamie Harper

'08 Miami class falls flat in recruiting re-rank

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
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They were superstars, a heralded recruiting class carrying high expectations before they even set foot on campus. Miami's Class of 2008 was ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN.com, but after a final review, it shaped up more like the No. 20 class. There were a few standout individuals like Sean Spence, but overall, the Canes fell out of the top 10 of RecruitingNation's re-rank. Clemson didn't receive quite as harsh of a demotion, falling from No. 2 to No. 4.

Here's a look back at how the ESPNU 150 Class of 2008 fared:

Nos. 1-25 (Da'Quan Bowers, Arthur Brown, Jamie Harper, Sean Spence)

Nos. 26-50: (Ryan Williams, Marcus Forston, Brandon Harris, Mike Glennon, Kyle Parker, Terrance Parks, Brandon Thompson, Spencer Adams, Andre Ellington, Jermaine Thomas)

Nos. 51-75: (EJ Manuel, Ramon Buchanan, Nigel Bradham, Aldarius Johnson, Xavier Brewer, Davon Johnson, Nigel Carr)

Nos. 76-100: (Jordan Futch, Antoine McClain, Dwayne Allen, Brandon Barnes, Marcus Robinson)

Nos. 101-125: (C.J. Holton, Taylor Cook, Christian Wilson, Kyle Long)

Nos. 126-150: (Kenny Tate, Kerry Boykins, Travis Benjamin)

Clemson spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
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2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 5, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

WR DeAndre Hopkins, RT Landon Walker, DE Andre Branch, DT Brandon Thompson, P Dawson Zimmerman, RB Andre Ellington, WR Jaron Brown, C Dalton Freeman, OG Antoine McClain, TE Dwayne Allen, MLB Corico Hawkins, S Rashard Hall

Key losses

DE Da’Quan Bowers, DT Jarvis Jenkins, FS DeAndre McDaniel, CB Marcus Gilchrist, RB Jamie Harper, QB Kyle Parker, LT Chris Hairston

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harper (760 yards)

Passing: Kyle Parker (2,213 yds)

Receiving: Hopkins* (637 yds)

Tackles: McDaniel (84)

Sacks: Bowers (15.5)

Interceptions: McDaniel (4)

Spring answers

1. Cole Stoudt is the backup quarterback. Until true freshmen Stoudt and Tony McNeal enrolled in January and arrived on campus, Tajh Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback on the roster. With Boyd the undisputed starter, the main competition was for his backup. Stoudt won the job over McNeal, who also played well and is a good runner, but Stoudt had the stronger arm.

2. Phillip Price will replace Chris Hairston at left tackle. The Tigers have four starters returning on the offensive line but big shoes to fill at left tackle, where Hairston was a three-year starter. Price, who joined the team as a walk-on tight end and moved to offensive line last year, beat Brandon Thomas for the job.

3. Players bought into the system. First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brought an up-tempo offense from Tulsa that is similar to what Auburn runs, and the players not only embraced it, they had fun with it this spring. Whether or not they can execute it on Saturdays? See below …

Fall questions

1. Execution of the offense. With a brand new scheme, a first-year starting quarterback and new offensive coordinator, the entire offense is a question mark heading into the fall. The Tigers also lost their leading rusher in Jamie Harper, who decided to leave early for a shot at the NFL. Can the Tigers get it together quickly enough to be a contender in the Atlantic Division again?

2. Will there be enough pressure on quarterbacks? With the departure of Bowers and his 15.5 sacks -- not to mention and 21 quarterback pressures -- the Tigers will have a lot of ground to make up. Bowers was a big reason Clemson was in top 20 in the nation in both scoring defense and total defense last year. With him gone, who’s going to step up and get after the quarterbacks? Malliciah Goodman and Andre Branch are expected to.

3. Will the Tigers find consistency in the kicking game? Clemson lost five games by a touchdown or less last year, including the overtime loss to Auburn, which slipped away with a missed field goal in overtime. Will Chandler Catanzaro pick up where he left off at the end of last season and show some consistency? He made six of his final seven field goals last year, but he also started slow this spring before finishing strong.

Clemson NFL draft notes

May, 2, 2011
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Clemson had a total of six players drafted, tied for the third-most selections in a draft in Clemson history, and tied for fifth-most in the nation this year. Here are a few notes from Clemson's sports information department:
  • Four of Clemson’s six selections were defensive players. It is tied for the second-most defensive players in one draft from Clemson in school history. Clemson had a school-record six defensive players taken in the 1999 NFL draft.
  • Clemson was the only school in the nation to have three defensive players taken in the top 51 selections of the draft. It was the first time in school history that has happened.
  • Five of the six selections came over the first four rounds and it marks just the second time Clemson has had five players taken in the first four rounds. The only other time was at the 1991 draft.
  • Chris Hairston was taken in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills, the second year in a row the Bills have taken a player from Clemson. Last year, the Bills took C.J. Spiller in the first round with the ninth overall pick. Prior to last season the Bills had not taken a player from Clemson since 1982 (Perry Tuttle).
  • Jamie Harper also went in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans. Harper is just the second Clemson player taken by Tennessee since 1989. Keith Adams (2001) was the only other Tiger taken by the Tigers in the past 22 years.
  • With Harper’s selection, Clemson has had a running back drafted in each of the past three years. James Davis was drafted by Cleveland in 2009 and Spiller was taken by Buffalo last year.
  • Ten members of Clemson’s 2008 defense have now been drafted. Dorell Scott, Mike Hamlin and Chris Clemons were drafted in April of 2009, Ricky Sapp, Crezdon Butler and Kavell Conner were taken in 2010 and Jarvis Jenkins, Marcus Gilchrist, Da'Quan Bowers, and Byron Maxwell were all taken this year. Freshmen on that team could be drafted next year and could add to that total.

NFL draft rewind: ACC basics

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
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ACC Players Taken in the NFL Draft

1 12 Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB Vikings
1 14 Robert Quinn, North Carolina, DE Rams
1 22 Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, T Colts
2 33 Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB Patriots
2 38 Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB Cardinals
2 40 Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB Cowboys
2 41 Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT Redskins
2 46 Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL Broncos
2 50 Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson, CB Chargers
2 51 Da’ Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE Buccaneers
2 52 Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT Giants
2 55 Rodney Hudson, Florida State, C-G Chiefs
2 58 Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR Ravens
2 59 Greg Little, North Carolina, WR Browns
2 60 Brandon Harris, Miami, CB Texans
3 67 Nate Irving, NC State, LB Broncos
3 79 Leonard Hankerson, Miami, WR Redskins
3 81 DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami, CB Raiders
3 86 Allen Bailey, Miami, DE Chiefs
4 100 Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina, S Bills
4 109 Colin McCarthy, Miami, ILB Titans
4 122 Chris Hairston, Clemson, T Bills
4 127 Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech, CB Texans
4 130 Jamie Harper, Clemson, RB Titans
5 133 Johnny White, North Carolina, RB Bills
5 152 T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB Texans
6 171 Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, LB Cardinals
6 173 Byron Maxwell, Clemson, DB Seahawks
6 180 Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, QB Ravens
6 181 Richard Gordon, Miami, TE Raiders
6 192 Matt Bosher, Miami, P-PK Falcons
7 218 Ryan Taylor, North Carolina, TE Cowboys
7 221 Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, RB Giants
7 224 Markus White, Florida State, DE Redskins
7 225 Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech, RB Ravens

ACC Selections by Rounds

First 3
Second 12
Third 4
Fourth 5
Fifth 2
Sixth 5
Seventh 4

ACC Selections by Teams

North Carolina 9
Miami 8
Clemson 6
Florida State 3
Virginia Tech 3
Maryland 2
Boston College 1
Georgia Tech 1
NC State 1
Virginia 1
Earlier this morning I predicted that Miami would not have a 1,000-yard rusher. It’s not because the Canes aren’t good enough, it’s because they’re too good to let one guy do all of the work. Florida State is the same way. Chris Thompson? Stud. Had 841 yards last year, and 6.31 yards per carry. But he, too, is in a crowded backfield. Miami and Florida State probably have the deepest, most-talented groups of running backs, but that usually means it won’t be a one-man show.

So which teams in the ACC are most likely to produce a 1,000-yard rusher this fall? Here are the top five, ranked in order from most to least likely:

1. Georgia Tech – Not even coach Paul Johnson knows who his top B-back will be yet, but you can almost always bank on a 1,000-yard rusher to come out of his spread-option offense. The Jackets led the nation in rushing last year. When you run the ball 753 times, somebody should crack the 1,000-yard mark. Georgia Tech’s question isn’t if, it’s who.

2. Virginia Tech – With only three scholarship runners on the roster, it’s going to be the David Wilson show this year, and he’s blazin’. You won’t see him in the Hokies’ spring game, because he’ll be competing with the track team that day, but there’s no question he’ll take center stage this fall.

3. Boston College – Montel Harris already has 21 career 100-yard games. You don’t think he’ll get a few more his senior season? C’mon. The only reason he wouldn’t reach the 1,000-yard mark is if offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers lightens his load by using Andre Williams, who proved more than capable of leading the running game when Harris was injured last year.

4. Clemson – With Jamie Harper’s early departure for a shot at the NFL, Andre Ellington will be the Tigers’ workhorse. He led the ACC with a whopping 6.6 yards per carry last year despite being limited by a toe injury. He hasn’t practiced this spring because of the injury, but if he can stay healthy, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get a majority of the reps and earn 1,000 yards.

5. Wake Forest – That’s right, the Deacs. Just ask the Hokies, who couldn’t stop Josh Harris from running all over them last year (241 yards -- in Blacksburg!). Harris finished the 2010 season with 720 yards, seven touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry.

Update on Andre Ellington

March, 4, 2011
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Clemson running back Andre Ellington, who will miss spring practices while recovering from a toe injury he suffered against Boston College last year, will be allowed to run again on Monday. Spring practices begin today for Clemson.

"They're going to cut him loose to start running," coach Dabo Swinney said on Friday. "That's exciting. I know he's ready to start picking 'em up and putting them down again. He's been pretty much immobile with that toe for a while. It's not as much a rehab thing as it had to heal. ... It had to stay in a certain spot, at a certain angle and all that kind of stuff. That's the hard part about that type of injury. It's almost like a broken bone.

"He has really healed nicely. The doctors are really pleased with what they've seen and they're going to cut him loose on Monday to start running straight ahead."

With Ellington out and Jamie Harper gone to pursue an NFL career, the spring spotlight will turn to Roderick McDowell, D.J. Howard and Demont Buice. Swinney said Ellington's injury will be a "blessing in disguise" because it will help the staff learn more about those three players and build depth at the position.

"Their tongues will be dragging this spring," Swinney said. "They certainly are going to get a great opportunity to establish themselves and make themselves relevant. It's really up to them to go and prove, 'Hey, don't forget about me.'"

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
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The official list for the NFL combine has been released. A total of 48 players from the ACC have been invited to audition for the NFL from February 23 – March 1. When categorized by school, it's somewhat of a reality check to see how many of the best players in the conference are moving on, and which programs will take the biggest hit. It's impossible not to wonder how good North Carolina could have been had all of the following players remained eligible. The Tar Heels will send the most players to the combine with 11.

Here are the players who will represent the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE (3)
  • Anthony Castonzo
  • Rich Lapham
  • Mark Herzlich
CLEMSON (7)
  • Da'Quan Bowers
  • Marcus Gilchrist
  • Chris Hairston
  • Jamie Harper
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • Byron Maxwell
  • DeAndre McDaniel
FLORIDA STATE (3)
GEORGIA TECH (3)
MARYLAND (3)
MIAMI (9)
NORTH CAROLINA (11)
NC STATE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
  • Danny Aiken
  • Ras-I Dowling
VIRGINIA TECH (5)

Clemson recruiting analysis

February, 3, 2011
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CLEMSON TIGERS

The class

Recruits: 29

Top prospects: Inside linebacker Tony Steward and outside linebacker Stephone Anthony are both ESPNU 150 players and the top-ranked recruits at their respective positions. Five-star receiver Charone Peake is the No. 2 receiver in the country and No. 14 player overall in the ESPNU 150.

Needs met: The Tigers added three quarterbacks to a roster that previously had one scholarship quarterback in projected starter Tajh Boyd. The early departure of running back Jamie Harper to the NFL left a void at the position, but Mike Bellamy will play immediately. The defensive line also had big holes to fill with loss of Jarvis Jenkins and Da’Quan Bowers, but there are five defensive linemen in this class. The transfer of linebacker Brandon Maye from an already-thin position didn't help, but the addition of the top two linebackers in the country did.

Analysis: This was one of the most impressive classes and recruiting efforts in the country, considering the Tigers were coming off a 6-7 season that ended with back-to-back losses to South Carolina and South Florida. Coach Dabo Swinney and his staff exceeded expectations.

ESPN recruiting grade: B+
The loss of Clemson starting linebacker Brandon Maye will hurt the depth of a position that was already limited in its numbers, but the Tigers have enough talent behind him to compensate for his departure. They'll also give the position a boost with this year's signing class -- especially if Stephone Anthony and Tony Steward choose Clemson.

Maye's backup, Jonathan Willard, is expected to be the front-runner to take over the starting job on the weak side heading into the spring, and Quandon Christian, who played a lot in the Tigers' nickel packages over the past seven or eight games of the season, should continue to build upon his 2010 experience as the starting strongside linebacker. Christian actually has better speed than Maye did.

This has been an offseason of change for Clemson, which hired a new offensive coordinator, a new defensive line coach, and lost standout defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and running back Jamie Harper early to the NFL draft. Still, the combination of good hires and incoming talent are reasons for optimism heading into 2011. This year's team can -- and should -- be better than 2010.
It’s time to reload in the ACC. Here’s a look at the position needs for each team in the Atlantic Division for the 2011 signing class:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive linemen: Six players on the final two-deep roster for 2010 were either juniors or seniors, and the Eagles will have to find replacements for Anthony Castonzo, Rich Lapham and Thomas Claiborne. There were two juniors at center in 2011, and the recruiting overall at this position hasn’t been as strong in recent years.

Defensive linemen: The Eagles have been thin at the position to begin with since the departures of Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. The interior line should be a priority, as tackle Damik Scafe will graduate, and Kaleb Ramsey will be a senior. Defensive end Brad Newman will also graduate.

CLEMSON

[+] EnlargeDa'Quan Bowers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesReplacing Da'Quan Bowers is a top priority for Clemson.
Defensive line: The early departure of defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and the loss of Jarvis Jenkins makes this group a priority. Seven of the eight players up front on the final two-deep roster were either juniors or seniors.

Quarterback: Prior to the early enrollees, Clemson only had one scholarship quarterback on the roster -- projected starter Tajh Boyd. The depth needs to be rebuilt after the loss of starter Kyle Parker and transfer of backup Willy Korn.

Running back: The early departure of Jamie Harper to the NFL left a hole in the Tigers’ lineup. It’s not completely empty, as Andre Ellington remains the best back on the roster and Roderick McDowell was a redshirt freshman backup to Harper.

FLORIDA STATE

Offensive lineman – The departures of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon will leave gaping holes up front, and A.J. Ganguzza and Antwane Greenlee aren’t expected to return. Overall, the staff is looking for bigger, better players. With the exception of right guard, this was a veteran group.

Running back: Despite the current depth, the coaching staff still wanted to sign about three more running backs in this class.

Wide receiver: This would be the third priority for the staff. Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling will both be seniors, but the team has lacked some dynamic playmakers at the position.

Linebacker: The Noles lost two starters from last year’s Atlantic Division championship team, and there are several young players on the rise like Jeff Luc and Telvin Smith, but the staff wants more numbers at the position.

Safety: The Noles need an upgrade at this position.

Defensive line: This is a matter of mostly building depth and size and continuing to get better.

MARYLAND

Kicker/ Punter: Nick Ferrara has the ability to do both, but he also struggled at both in 2010. Travis Baltz was a four-year starter at punter who has to be replaced. The kicking game should be a top priority in this class, and a concern if Ferrara doesn’t become more consistent.

Wide receiver: The early departure of standout Torrey Smith to the NFL leaves quarterback Danny O'Brien without a favorite target. Seven of the nine receivers listed on the most current depth chart for 2010 were either juniors or seniors.

Running back: The Terps have to replace starter Da’Rel Scott, and Davin Meggett will be a senior. There is some talent behind Meggett in D.J. Adams, but the position could use more depth.

Secondary: Six of the top 10 players in the secondary were either juniors or seniors in 2010, including safety Antwine Perez, who will graduate. Kenny Tate and Cameron Chism will both be seniors, and the corner position is the biggest need.

Defensive end: Defensive coordinator Don Brown would like to bring in at least one player who can really bring some speed off the edge.

NC STATE

Kickers: The Wolfpack lost their starting punter and place-kicker, easily making kickers the biggest need in this recruiting class.

Defensive linemen: With the exception of sophomore Brian Slay, the entire 2010 line was comprised of juniors and seniors. The Pack have to replace two starters, and two returning starters, Jeff Rieskamp and J.R. Sweezy, will be seniors.

Linebackers: This was another veteran group for NC State, with five of the six players on the two-deep either juniors or seniors. Nate Irving’s graduation will be a big hit and Audie Cole will be a senior.

Quarterback: If Russell Wilson leaves early, the position will be even thinner, but backup Mike Glennon will be a junior, so the staff needs to build more depth.

WAKE FOREST

Offensive linemen: The Deacs will have four redshirt juniors returning up front, and have to replace redshirt senior center Russell Nenon. The staff is looking to increase the depth and talent up front.

Linebackers: The position hasn’t been the same since the 2008 class (Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux). They were both drafted and two of the fastest players the program has ever seen. The staff needs to bring in more talent and speed here.

What are they thinking?!

January, 14, 2011
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Maybe I'm the one who's a little off. I've got plenty of friends, family, colleagues -- and readers -- who can vouch for that. But ...

This has been a curious offseason in the ACC:
  • Two coaches with winning records, clean programs and bowl-bound players were fired. North Carolina's Butch Davis, who is still tangled up in an NCAA investigation that derailed the season for at least half his starting lineup, continues to coach.
  • Maryland AD Kevin Anderson made a "business decision" to fire the ACC's Coach of the Year and replaced him with the Big East Coach of the Year.
  • Clemson coach Dabo Swinney fired his young offensive coordinator and hired one with one year of collegiate experience. He fired a running backs coach and replaced him with a former receivers coach who has never coached running backs.
  • Miami coach Al Golden hired an offensive coordinator -- Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch -- with the same amount of collegiate experience as Clemson's new coordinator, and even most NFL experts don't know a thing about him. (And P.S., that one season Fisch was Minnesota's offensive coordinator? The Gophers ranked No. 111 in rushing offense, No. 109 in total offense, and No. 100 in scoring offense).
  • Wait, Miami hired Temple's coach?
  • Boston College has a chance to inject some life into its offense, but instead it is more likely to promote somebody from within as its offensive coordinator.
  • Three players -- Georgia Tech offensive tackle Nick Claytor, safety Jerrard Tarrant, and Clemson running back Jamie Harper have all decided to leave school early to enter the NFL draft. If you're not a first-round pick, stay in school -- unless you're Darren Evans and have a wife and kid, or some other special circumstance. If any of those guys do, I apologize because I'm not aware of it.

Am I the only one really scratching my head over these moves? Now, I could be wrong and all of these decisions and hires might raise the ACC to unprecedented heights. Two new head coaches, four new offensive coordinators -- maybe they'll be just the spark the conference needs to push it into national relevance. Maybe all of those unheralded NFL hopefuls will go on to have long, lucrative professional careers and donate to my kid's college fund.

Right now, though? One word comes to mind: Gamble.

Clemson's Jamie Harper will enter NFL draft

January, 9, 2011
1/09/11
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Another ACC running back has opted to leave early, as Clemson junior Jamie Harper has signed with an agent and will enter his name in the 2011 NFL draft. Within the past week, Virginia Tech's Darren Evans and Ryan Williams have also announced their decisions to leave early.

Harper is the second Clemson underclassman to announce he will turn professional this year, joining defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

Harper was Clemson’s leading rusher and all-purpose runner this year. He had 197 carries for 760 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 2010. He added 35 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns receiving, giving him 1,088 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns for the season. The reception total was the third-highest total for a running back in Clemson history.

Harper was Clemson’s second leading receiver in terms of receptions and tied for second in reception touchdowns. His 10 total touchdowns were second on the team behind Andre Ellington’s 12.

“I certainly wanted Jamie to remain at Clemson for his senior year,” coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement. “But, I thank him for his contributions to our program the last three years. He represented our school and our program well. He was a fun player to coach because he gave us everything he had in every practice and every game.”

Meineke Car Care Bowl: 3 keys

December, 30, 2010
12/30/10
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Here are three keys for Clemson heading into the Meineke Car Care Bowl against South Florida:

1. Smart quarterback play. Not only from Kyle Parker and Tajh Boyd, but from the coaching staff. There has to be good communication between everyone, regardless of who is on the bench or why. Parker will be starting it off, and it’s up to him to make good decisions. In the past six games, he has completed 108-173 passes (62.4 percent). He has passed for 1,107 yards (184.5 per game) during that stretch, but it’s the interception against South Carolina that many remember.

2. Win the battle up front. Defensively, Clemson should have the edge against South Florida’s offensive line with defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, but the Bulls’ front seven could present some challenges for the Clemson’s interior offensive line. Jamie Harper is going to have to work for his yards, but the Tigers should be able to get to B.J. Daniels if he returns from a bruised quad.

3. Win the one-on-one matchups in the secondary. South Florida’s secondary has been underrated but effective. The Bulls are No. 21 in the country in pass defense, and Clemson is No. 84 in passing offense. The receivers will have to get open and help Parker out.

ACC: Week 13 predictions

November, 24, 2010
11/24/10
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Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Well, it was a 4-2 record last week, bringing my grand total to 61-24 (71.7 percent) heading into the final week of the regular season. It’s a passing grade, but I feel like Randy Shannon – not in championship form. Speaking of championships, the Atlantic Division title is on the line this week and so are some bragging rights. Here’s a look at who will come out on top in Week 13:

Syracuse 13, Boston College 10: Without leading rusher Montel Harris (knee), Syracuse will win this game. True freshman Andre Williams is good, but there is no relief behind him, and Syracuse has a better defense than Virginia does. It has the No. 34 rushing defense in the country, and is No. 6 in total defense. Regardless, expect a low-scoring game.

South Carolina 24, Clemson 21 – The Gamecocks are No. 7 in the country in rushing defense and holding opponents to under 100 rushing yards per game. It’s going to be a tough day for Jamie Harper, and this defense will get pressure on quarterback Kyle Parker and force him into a key mistake or two.

Florida 28, Florida State 24 – The Seminoles are the ranked team for a reason, and they’ve got the momentum and home field advantage in their favor. But Florida’s defense and special teams will be the difference. The Gators have also done a better job of protecting the football this year.

NC State 35, Maryland 21: Russell Wilson is that good. Danny O’Brien is smart, and he has been poised in big games, but he’s more of a facilitator right now while Wilson is a game-changer. You also have to wonder how motivated Maryland will be now that the Terps know they’re out of the Atlantic Division race.

Vanderbilt 24, Wake Forest 21: This is how it goes for the Deacs, even against a similarly bad team; They’ll lose on the last play of the game, probably a field goal, and finish the season on a 10-game losing streak. Ouch.

UNC 28, Duke 17: Regardless of who’s on the field for the Tar Heels, they’re still too good on defense to lose this game. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates is coming off a record-setting performance in the loss to NC State and won’t want to close his career with a loss at Duke. He and his team are good enough that they shouldn’t have to.

Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 21: The Jackets are going to score some points, but Georgia has bowl eligibility on the line and will play like it. The rushing defense is one of the best in the SEC and country, and they’re No. 18 in the country in turnover margin.

Miami 28, South Florida 27: South Florida has been playing pretty well down the stretch, and won three of its past four, but the Cane have the better athletes and as long as they don’t turn it over should win. South Florida has one of the worst offenses in the country and Miami will have the edge up front.

Hokies 42, Virginia 10: This one could get ugly. Don’t expect the Hokies to roll over just because they’ve already got the Coastal Division locked up. There’s still plenty on the line, including the Commonwealth Cup, bragging rights, and the chance to become the ACC’s first undefeated team in conference play since Florida State in 2000.

Final: Clemson 30, Wake Forest 10

November, 20, 2010
11/20/10
5:04
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No big surprise here.

In the most lackluster game of the day, Clemson became bowl eligible, and much like Georgia Tech, avoided needing to get that sixth win against its SEC rival in the final week of the regular season. It's come to this for the defending division champs -- beating Duke and Wake Forest for bowl eligibility.

Kyle Parker completed all but two passes against the Deacs and threw for 194 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was another great day for Jamie Harper, who finished with 142 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, but it's hard to measure the progress of Clemson's offense against a Wake Forest defense that entered the game ranked No. 100 in the country in rushing defense, No. 114 in scoring defense and No. 110 in pass efficiency defense.

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