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What does Clemson have to do to beat Alabama?


What does Clemson have to do to beat Alabama? Well, first we must acknowledge that everything written henceforth is mere theory, not fact. Right now, there is no blueprint to beat this Alabama team. They’ve been too fast, too strong, too explosive, too well-coached to experience the same sting of defeat that visited every other Division I squad this season.

But that doesn’t mean the Tide can’t be beaten.

The path to beating Alabama, a path populated by overgrown cactus and alligators and swarms of African killer bees, leading to same holy grail Clemson narrowly missed last season, starts with the quarterbacks. Deshaun Watson must repeat the same effort he posted in last season’s title game, when he hit 30-of-47 passes for 405 yards with four touchdowns against one interception, plus 20 carries for 73 yards. The Tigers can not and will not win without a similar game from their best player.

While Clemson has to have Watson at its best, it also must get Jalen Hurts at his worst. Hurts only threw the ball 14 times against Washington and many, up to and including Nick Saban, thought that was too much. Hurts has shown a penchant for giving the ball away, and Clemson must take advantage of that.

Pursuant to that, to beat Alabama, Clemson must grab an early lead and hold on to it.

We don’t know what Steve Sarkisian will be like as a play-caller on Monday night, and neither does he. If Clemson can secure a touchdown or greater lead beyond the first quarter, Sarkisian may start to feel that glare — the glare of dozens of ESPN cameras, the glare of his new boss. Alabama hasn’t trailed much this season — they haven’t trailed in the second half since a 33-14 win over Texas A&M on Oct. 22 — and forcing the Tide into that uncomfortable position, against a team that has a better quarterback than they do and a defensive line equal to theirs, could pull the full weight of the Tide’s 26-game winning streak on Sarkisian and Hurts’s shoulders.

Because while the path to an Alabama defeat is treacherous and untouched, the path to an Alabama victory is wide open and well-worn. If Watson has a bad game, Alabama will win. If Alabama has a second-half lead, allowing Bo Scarborough to start his oversized-bowling-ball-rolling-downhill routine, Alabama will win.

And there you have it. Either Watson will lead Clemson past the alligators and around the killer bees, or the Tigers will be flattened by a weaponized bowling ball. Sounds simple, right?

Iowa struggling to sellout game vs. Penn State

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The Iowa Hawkeyes are about to host a top-four team at Kinnick Stadium this Saturday night, and it seems there is slightly more trouble trying to sell out the game than anticipated. According to Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen (and not the NCAA president by the same name), Iowa still had 4,000 tickets for this week’s game against No. 4 Penn State sitting in the box office as of earlier today.

Price concerns for the game coupled with a delay in knowing the kickoff time apparently had some influence on the unexpected ticket availability this close to the game.

Schools are becoming more and more commonly known for having higher-priced tickets for the more marquee games on their home schedule, and Iowa is no exception. Iowa has tiered ticket pricing for their home games, and Penn State being the defending conference champion with a decent traveling fanbase made this week’s matchup an ideal fit for being priced in the higher tier. Later this year, Iowa’s home game against Ohio State will also be priced at $95. $95, for some, is not worth the effort to go to a game and tailgate all day. It may be fine for a good number of fans, but it’s not for everybody.

Having to wait to know what time a game will kickoff can be a nuisance for those football fans who like to plan ahead. And while a primetime game may be great for exposure, it can be a cumbersome chore for some fans who would much rather stay home and not have to deal with a late-night drive home.

So if you are looking to get a ticket to the game this weekend in Iowa City, you may have a good chance to pick up a ticket.

Indiana will wear uniforms honoring the late Terry Hoeppner this weekend

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This weekend when Indiana takes the field, the Hoosiers will be honoring former head coach Terry Hoeppner. To do that on the 10th anniversary of the former coach’s passing, Indiana’s uniforms will have a slight modification to the numbering. Rather than a traditional white block numbering on the front and back, Indiana’s uniform numbers will feature a pattern mimicking Hep’s Rock, which was introduced to the program by the former head coach and remains a fixture within the program.

Hoeppner passed away at the age of 59 in the summer of June 2007. Hoeppner had planned to step away from coaching to focus on a battle with brain cancer that summer, but he fell victim to the disease on June 19, 2007. Though he may have only coached for Indiana for two seasons, his impact on the program was noticeable in helping the program build a foundation. The Hoosiers won four and five games in the two seasons coached by Hoeppner, but the 2007 team carried on his mission to “Play 13” by advancing to the Insight Bowl (now known as the Cactus Bowl). Members of the 2007 bowl team (Indiana lost to Oklahoma State in that bowl game) will be in Bloomington to celebrate the life of Hoeppner, who remains an inspiration for the program to this day.

Houston expects WR D’Eriq King to be available for Texas Tech game

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As Houston prepares for a game that could quickly become a shootout of sorts with Texas Tech, the Cougars could have one more wide receiver good to go this weekend. D’Eriq King is expected to make his season debut for the Cougars this week after missing the past two games coming off an offseason knee injury.

Houston head coach Major Applewhite announced on the radio he feels his young wide receiver option is finally ready to get back at it, and it could come at no better time.

As a freshman in 2016, King caught 20 passes in 10 games for 228 yards and a touchdown. King was expected to be a contributor to the offense this season. Having a healthy receiver is going to be key against a Texas Tech offense that will not shy away from the pass.

Derrius Guice ‘very questionable’ for LSU vs. Syracuse

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LSU could very well be without its most potent offensive weapon when it looks to bounce back from an embarrassing Week 3 loss.

Late in the third quarter of Saturday’s 37-7 loss to Mississippi State, Derrius Guice sustained an injury to his left knee.  The star running back hasn’t practiced at all this week, even as Ed Orgeron downplayed the severity of the injury.

On the SEC teleconference Wednesday, however, the head coach acknowledged that it could be much worse than he’d been letting on, so much so that the Guice could miss the Week 4 game against Syracuse.

“I don’t know if Derrius is going to play,” Orgeron said. “He didn’t dress out yesterday in pads. He’s very questionable right now.”

Through three games, Guice leads the Tigers with 300 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with four rushing touchdowns.  His rushing yards are currently fourth in the SEC; last season, his 1,387 yards were tops in the conference.

Should Guice be unable to go, Darrel Williams (28-159-4) would likely be next in line to shoulder the running-game load.