Meineke Car Care Bowl Predictions: South Florida vs. Clemson Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 12/29/2010
This year’s version of the Meineke Car Care Bowl -- which features South Florida (7-5) and Clemson (6-6) in Charlotte on Friday, Dec. 31 at noon EST -- will be the last under this not particularly long serving or prestigious name. Meineke has moved on, and starting next year the game will have a new and less awkward name - the Belk Bowl. Clemson is making their debut in the game, while South Florida lost to North Carolina State in 2005. The programs have never met on any field.
Clemson is nearing the end of a frustrating season. Last year they played in the ACC Championship Game, so barely scraping into bowl contention was not part of the plan this year. A good portion of the blame for this season seems to rest on QB Kyle Parker. After an uninspiring year -- and a heated sideline argument with his head coach -- he was replaced by redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd in the season’s last game. Parker will be starting the bowl game, but you have to imagine he’s on a short leash, and Boyd could see action here. Parker is unimpressive, and Boyd is talented but very raw. In short -- you can’t expect a huge offensive game from the Tigers.
The Bulls aren’t likely to have a big day, either. QB B.J. Daniels has struggled with injuries and may not be at complete health in this game. Even if he is, he pilots an offense that was just 103rd in the country in total offense. That would be bad news against even an average defense, but Clemson’s is far from average. In fact, it is pretty solid, and that’s all thanks to one player. Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was just named the top defensive player in the country, and he is a likely top five pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Bowers has a shot to set the school record for sacks in a season -- he is currently tied atop the list -- and he has a last chance to inspire scouts. He’ll be fired up, and it’s hard to see how South Florida will handle it. New Coach Skip Holtz is building a good program in South Florida, but this game could easily be a bump on his road.
Meineke Car Care Bowl Odds - South Florida vs. Clemson
Clemson opened as four point favorites, according to college bowl odds, and the line has since moved up to 5.5. Nearly 70 percent of bets have been on the Tigers, so the movement is not a surprise, and it could keep moving. The totals line opened at 40 and has crept up to 40.5.
South Florida vs. Clemson Betting Trends
Clemson’s last eight games have all gone ‘under’ the total. They have gone ‘under’ in 21 of their last 28 games as favorite. Clemson has gone ‘under’ in eight of their last nine nonconference games.
South Florida is 5-1 ATS in their last six against the ACC, but just 1-4 ATS in their last five on grass.
Clemson is 1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games, and 0-4 ATS in their last four against the Big East.
Meineke Car Care Bowl Predictions and Betting Picks
Let me say up front that I don’t like this game at all. Both teams are uncertain at quarterback. They both have coaches who are in the midst of serious rebuilding jobs. They were both inconsistent -- at best -- throughout the season. It’s hard to be optimistic about either team here.
I have to make a pick, though, so all I can do is look at the matchups to see where the biggest edge lies. That is clearly with Clemson and their defensive line. That will shut down South Florida, and give the Tigers a good chance at winning. I’d like the line a lot better at three than five, but I just can’t justify taking the Bulls.
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