After an impressive and validating season-opening win over Georgia, Clemson gets a break in the form of South Carolina State, which will serve as cannon fodder for the Tigers this week. The Bulldogs lost a pair of games against FBS teams (Arizona, Texas A&M) last season by a combined score of 126-14.
Even if the Tigers have their attention on the Thursday night game at N.C. State that follows this tune-up, they aren't going to be challenged. South Carolina State will take its pounding and its pay day, thank you very much, and return to the safer waters of the FCS.
Rankings and records: These two teams have met once before, a 54-0 blowout by Clemson. The Tigers are ranked in the top 10 in both polls, but not much is expected of an S.C. State team that went 5-6 last year.
Vegas: Clemson opened as a 52-point favorite, and the initial over/under was set at 63.
Weather: Partly cloudy skies and a slight chance of rain are expected. The high will reach about 86 degrees.
Three names to know
Tajh Boyd -- Boyd and the rest of the starters probably won't play the full four quarters, but expect the Heisman candidate to put up a nice stat-padding performance anyway. Against UGA, Boyd threw for 270 yards and ran for 42 more; he can match that production if he's given enough time.
Sammy Watkins -- These sorts of games are made more interesting by the increased possibility of big plays from guys like Watkins, with whom a team like South Carolina State cannot hope to match up. It might be a punt or kickoff return, or it could be a big touchdown reception or two. Watkins can make even the nation's best look silly at times, and the Bulldogs should be very, very afraid.
Richard Cue -- The Bulldogs do have an experienced quarterback in Cue, at least, but he did throw more interceptions than touchdowns a season ago. If he's turning the ball over early on Saturday, the game is going to get away from S.C. State in a hurry.
Two things at stake
Well, uh, let's see here. Clemson wants to get out of this game without suffering injuries to any key contributors, and of course a win is necessary for the Tigers to entertain any thoughts of contending for a spot in the BCS national championship game. The Tigers do have some things to tighten up defensively, as well. Georgia exposed that unit a week ago, averaging 7.8 yards per snap.
South Carolina State can gain a little confidence by hanging around for a bit, or maybe just not losing by 60.
How to witness
TV: Regional Sports Network (12:30 p.m. ET). Affiliates are listed here.
Radio: Clemson's radio affiliates can be found here.
For more on this game, check out Clemson blog Shakin The Southland.