Raise your hand if you thought at the beginning of the season that a game between the Clemson Tigers and the Duke Blue Devils would have huge ACC title implications for both teams.
OK, put your hand down Nostradamus, no one saw this coming.
The Clemson Tigers were fully expected to compete for the ACC championship, but the Blue Devils are right in the thick of things in the Coastal division.
Duke leads its division while Clemson is only a half a game behind Florida State for first place in the Atlantic. A win for either team will put it in a great position to win its division and earn a berth in the conference championship game.
Here's all the info you need to know about this pivotal ACC clash.
When: Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Watch: ESPN2 (check local listings)
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 65, Line: Duke (+13.5)
Despite Duke's 3-2 record in the ACC, it is still getting 13.5 points at home against Clemson.
Not to take anything away from what the Blue Devils have accomplished this season, but Clemson deserves to be the favorite here as Duke was manhandled by Florida State last week, 48-7.
The over looks like a pretty good bet here as both offenses are explosive, and Clemson's passing attack has been particularly dangerous recently.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Questionable
Darius Robinson, CB, Out for Season
Justin Parker, LB, Out for Season
Tony McNeal, QB, Out for Season
Martin Jenkins, CB, Out for Season
Brandon Braxton, S, Questionable
Chris Tavarez, S, Questionable
Kelby Brown, LB, Questionable
Anthony Young-Wiseman, S, Out Indefinitely
Corbin McCarthy, S, Out for Season
Allen Jackson, DE, Out for Season
Jared Boyd, CB, Out Indefinitely
Jack Farrell, TE, Out for Season
Taylor Sewell, S, Out for Season
Blair Holliday, WR, Out for Season
Braxton Deaver, TE, Out for Season
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Surprisingly, this game holds big implications for both teams.
Clemson needs to continue to win and hope for Florida State to stumble one more time to get into the ACC title game and play for an Orange Bowl berth. The Blue Devils are in the driver's seat in the Coastal division but will lose that control if they cant find a way to upset the Tigers.
Clemson is currently in the Top 25 at No. 13 in the BCS rankings but could jump into the Top 10 with a win if the right teams ahead of them lose.
Duke isn't in the Top 25 right now, but a win over Clemson would give them a compelling case to make a rare appearance next week.
Clemson Player to Watch: Andre Ellington, RB
Much has been made of the quarterback-receiver duo of Tajh Boyd and DeAndre Hopkins, but it's really Andre Ellington that determines the effectiveness of the Clemson offense.
Ellington is a great back that has a good combination of power and speed.
When he is able to get to the second level, he generally makes someone miss or runs them over for a good gain. The key for the Tigers is establishing the run game so that Boyd has more time to get the ball to Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
If Ellington is able to average more than five yards per carry, the Blue Devils defense will be in trouble.
Duke Player to Watch: Conner Vernon, WR
The Blue Devils are having their best season in recent memory and a lot of it can be chalked up to an explosive passing game.
Duke is averaging 271 passing yards per game and a lot of that can be attributed to Vernon's 84 yards per game. Sean Renfree will distribute the ball to plenty of options for the Blue Devils, but getting Vernon going will be pivotal for the Devils.
In Duke's three losses, Vernon was held to 40, 70 and 12 yards; when he doesn't get his numbers, this offense is much less effective.
Prediction: Clemson 45, Duke 24
These are two teams that can give up points to their opponents while hoping to outscore them. The Clemson Tigers are one of the best shootout teams in the country.
When Boyd is playing well, Clemson's passing game has the tools to overwhelm its opponent, and that's something they'll try to do Saturday.
Duke looked like a real contender in the ACC after its 33-30 win over North Carolina, but this game could look more like last week's 48-7 loss to Florida State.
Considering Clemson has more concerns on defense than the 'Noles, they will most likely surrender some more points but should put up plenty of points in a win.
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