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Louisville vs. Clemson 2016: Start time, live stream, TV schedule and 3 things to know

Louisville and Clemson meet with an ACC inside track on the line.

One of college football's games of the year unfolds Saturday, when No. 5 Clemson hosts No. 3 Louisville at Memorial Stadium. What's at stake is control of the ACC Atlantic and an inside track on a College Football Playoff berth.

Our staff is relatively split on how this will go, and why not? Louisville has the Heisman Trophy frontrunner in sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who's set fire to every opponent he's faced with a mix of efficient passing and unstoppable running. Clemson has one of the country's most athletic defensive fronts and its own quarterback, Deshaun Watson, who could morph at any second into the superstar he's at turns looked like in the past.

The Tigers' offense hasn't been as good as its talent so far. To beat Louisville, the Tigers basically have two choices. One is to start scoring, and the other is to be the first team to solve the Jackson riddle on defense. One seems a whole lot more doable than the other, but the Tigers need to find an answer in short order.

How to watch, stream and listen

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. The broadcasters are Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Sam Ponder and Tom Rinaldi.

Radio: Louisville and Clemson

Online streaming: WatchESPN

Spread: Louisville opened as a 3.5-point road favorite, but that spread has generally gotten smaller.

Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog chats for this game at Card Chronicle (for UL fans) and Shakin The Southland (for Clemson fans).

Three big things to know

1. Both teams are genuine Playoff contenders, but they're coming into Saturday from different vantage points. Louisville wasn't close to the Playoff discussion before the year, but a month of Jackson brilliance and a blowout win against Florida State have the Cardinals on the inside looking out. Clemson's 4-0 but hasn't looked like its preseason No. 2 ranking, and the Tigers need a big win to get themselves back to the billing they'd prefer.

2. Louisville runs deeper than its QB. Jackson is forever the headliner, but UL also has the following things going for it on offense: a starting running back averaging 9 yards per rush, four receivers doing better than 40 yards per game, and, on defense, a unit that's allowing 3.9 yards per play with pressure coming from everywhere. This is a deep team, and Louisville could win even if Jackson's not great.

3. Clemson needs turnovers, or else it's hard to see how the Tigers win. Here's a pretty remarkable stat: Louisville, in four games, has given up 90 points. Of those, 70 have come off Louisville giveaways. As good as the Cards' offense has been – and it's been brilliant – it's committed 10 turnovers in four games. When Louisville isn't giving the ball away, it's giving up a total of five points per game. Obviously, Clemson had better get after it.


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