Week 9 - Clemson at Maryland

Posted Oct 23, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Clemson at Maryland

- Wake Forest at Miami | Georgia Tech at Virginia
- Pitt at Navy | NC State at Florida State
- Clemson at Maryland | Boston College at North Carolina
- Duke at Virginia Tech

Clemson (6-1) at Maryland (5-2) Oct. 26, 3:30, ABC/ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Whatever juice that might have existed for this game a few weeks back has now been drained out of it.

Clemson is no longer the lead dog in the ACC after getting smoked at home by Florida State, 51-14, in last Saturday's marquee showdown. The Tigers will now spend the next five games attempting to improve their ranking while posturing for a second BCS bowl berth in the last three years. This is still a top 10-caliber program, but it'll be up to Clemson to not allow last week to beat it more than once. Poor Maryland. The record doesn't look so bad, but the wheels are on the verge of coming off the 2013 Terps. They've dropped two of the last three, and in an eerie repeat of 2012, have begun being besieged by season-ending injuries. Head coach Randy Edsall has to somehow keep things from completely unraveling.

Why Clemson Might Win: Unlike this week's host, the Tigers are generally healthy, which means they can win on Saturday in any number of different ways. After two subpar games, the Clemson offense will look to get back on track against a Maryland team that just allowed feeble Wake Forest to score 34 points. Once QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins begin moving the chains and connecting for big plays, the Terps will no longer have the firepower to answer on offense.

Why Maryland Might Win: After suffering its worst home loss since 1976, and essentially falling from the ACC race, how can Clemson possibly get back up for a trip to College Park? The Tigers couldn't be blamed for going through the motions in this one. The Terrapins must turn to their veterans, like QB C.J. Brown and linebackers Marcus Whitfield, Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree, to stabilize a squad that's still just a win away from bowl eligibility.

Who To Watch Out For: The Florida State loss afforded Clemson an opportunity to reevaluate every area of the roster, especially a defense that got schooled. The Tigers ought to get a much-needed opportunity to build back confidence against the depleted Maryland offense.

- Now that top wide receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs are out with broken legs, Maryland will be digging deep into the depth chart. Redshirt freshman Amba Etta-Tawo and Levern Jacobs have been promoted to the starting lineup, and will get a crash course in being critical cogs of the passing game.

- What's going on with Boyd? The one-time Heisman candidate has thrown just one touchdown pass in each of the last two games, slipping to No. 18 nationally in passing efficiency.

What Will Happen: Clemson will either come out angry or sleepy this week on the road. Either way, it shouldn't cost the Tigers since Maryland is in such bad shape. Boyd will help lead Clemson out of its two-week funk, accounting for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in a comfortable win.

Prediction: Clemson 42 … Maryland 13
Line: Clemson -14 – O/U: 57.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 2.5
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