Originally written on College Football Zealots  |  Last updated 8/30/12

Why is Clemson favored on a neutral field against a more talented SEC school? I have no idea but I’ll take the “free” 3.5 points all day (or night in this case) long. Last year a far more experienced Clemson team was a 3 point favorite in Death Valley over a young Auburn team playing their first away game of the year. So again I ask, why is Clemson a 3.5 point favorite in this game?

Auburn has 16 starters returning, including 10 on what should be a vastly improved defense. Clemson has 13 and will be without their top offensive playmaker, WR Sammy Watkins. Auburn’s composite recruiting rank over the last 4 years is #10 in the country, Clemson is #18. So why is the less talented and less experienced team favored?

Perhaps Clemson is favored because Tajh Boyd is a more proven QB option than Kiehl Frazier. But Auburn’s passing game ranked 10th in the SEC last year anyway (ahead of only Ole Miss and Kentucky), and the offense overall ranked 11th in the conference. So it’s not like a more experienced Auburn offense is going to regress, and in fact they are probably only going to get better.

Can we say the same thing about Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense? I doubt it. Not after losing three multi-year starters on the OL who combined for 3,363 plays over the past 4 years. In addition, last year after a strong start, Boyd and the Clemson offense in fact did regress, substantially. After averaging  40.63 ppg and over 480 ypg in the first 8 games, Clemson dropped off to 24.17 ppg and 385 ypg. Boyd’s fall was even more severe, he went from throwing 24 TD vs 3 INT in those first 8 games to tossing 9 TD vs 9 INT in the final 6.

Word out of Auburn is that the DL has been dominating. I doubt Clemson’s rebuilt OL will be able to handle it and give Boyd much time to pass. I also suspect that after such poor QB play from Auburn last year, Frazier and his dual-threat skills will prove a better fit in new OC Scott Loeffler’s pro-style offense.

 

The Pick: Auburn 27 Clemson 17

 

Make sure to check out The Saturday Edge website. It's a great new site where college football handicapping enthusiasts can exchange useful betting strategies, tips, ideas and information. They have great football analysis and are also a great place to go if you want to read up on betting or get some advice. You can also sign up for their newsletter at their site.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

ESPYs golf classic moving from Trump course

Report: Pierre-Paul could miss training camp, start of season

Report: Spurs sign David West

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies

Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Tony Romo on Dez Bryant's contract: 'I think it will work out'

Dwayne Bowe: I’m here to fill Josh Gordon’s shoes

Report: DeAndre Jordan was tired of Chris Paul's antics

Marcus Smart eager to show full skill set with injury behind him

Geno Smith: Brandon Marshall is 'a quarterback's best friend'

Carli Lloyd needs help to carry all her World Cup awards

Russell Wilson abstaining from sex with girlfriend Ciara

Coach K on meeting Beyonce for first time: 'I felt like 13'

Three-star TE Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Miami

Bryce Harper skipping HR Derby because of dad's injury

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Is James Harden dating Khloe Kardashian?

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Dwyane Wade: I'll retire 'when I can no longer play'

How Matt Ryan became “Matty Ice”

The long road of an NBA second-round pick

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.