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College football: Can Clemson upset LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl?

Clemson's bowl record is spotty, but this time could be different. Clemson's defense, better but still shaky in Brent Venables' first season as coordinator, is not a bad match for LSU.
Oklahoman Published: December 25, 2012
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photo - FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2012, file photo, LSU head coach Les Miles leads his team out onto the field before their NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Baton Rouge, La. LSU returns to practice as the Tigers prepare to meet Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl later this month. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) ORG XMIT: NY158
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2012, file photo, LSU head coach Les Miles leads his team out onto the field before their NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Baton Rouge, La. LSU returns to practice as the Tigers prepare to meet Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl later this month. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) ORG XMIT: NY158

The funky BCS bowl assignments — Northern Illinois cracking the club, the Big East mandated a spot, five-loss Wisconsin — spread the wealth elsewhere. Notably the Cotton (9th-ranked Texas A&M vs. No. 11 OU) and the Chick-fil-A (No. 8 LSU vs. No. 14 Clemson).

Clemson has become nationally relevant the last couple of years. The 2011 ACC title gave Clemson its first major bowl berth in 30 years. Now Clemson has posted their first back-to-back double-digit-win seasons since 1990.

Clemson's bowl record is spotty. Clemson has won just one of its last six bowls, including a 70-33 thrashing by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and a loss to South Florida in the 2010 Charlotte bowl.

But this time could be different. Clemson's defense, better but still shaky in Brent Venables' first season as coordinator, is not a bad match for LSU.

Les Miles' offense is not high-powered. LSU scored 24 points or fewer in six of its eight SEC games, including outputs of 12 against Auburn and 20 against Arkansas.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd made first-team All-American on some lists, so Clemson figures to score some on LSU. LSU is a 4 1/2-point favorite, but let's go with Clemson in the upset.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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