8-4 (5-3), 2nd Atlantic Coast - Atlantic
7-5 (4-4), 3rd Southeastern - East
Clemson seemed to have the ACC by the throat after they beat Georgia Tech 31-7, but after that game they proceeded to lose 3 of their next 4 games to finish tied for 2nd in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Tigers rely on a rushing attack that nets them 225 yards per game on the ground. They also use a two headed running back, where the freshman backup might be better than the starter.
James Davis leads the way in the backfield with 1134 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns and his counterpart is CJ Spiller who has rushed for 914 yards in his freshman season and 10 touchdowns. Under center Will Proctor has had an up and down season. The Tigers will need him to produce to keep the pressure off of their running game. On defense the Tigers only give up 15 points per game but will be without starting cornerback Duane Coleman. Coleman failed a drug test and will miss the bowl game.
Kentucky Head Coach, Rich Brooks, was under some heavy fire before the season started but he has responded as well as his team to make their first bowl appearance since 1999. Brooks was rewarded with a contract extension. The Wildcats are a big surprise in the bowl picture because many did not give them a chance. The marquee win for them this year was a 24-20 win over Georgia.
Just like the Kentucky team of a few years ago, they rely heavily on the pass. Averaging over 274 yards in the air and only 98 on the ground. Andre' Woodson is the man under center throwing for over 3200 yards with 28 touchdowns and only 7 picks. WR Keenan Burton and his 1000 plus yards receiving is Woodson's favorite target in the air. Burton is also a threat in the kicking game averaging over 24 yards per kickoff return with 1 touchdown.
When this Clemson team gels, they are a top 15 team. Kentucky on the other hand has had a lot of trouble when it has played quality teams. They almost beat Tennessee at the end of the year but that was without Ainge. The Wildcats average giving up 189.0 yards on the ground and expect Clemson to make that number well over 200 with Davis and Spiller. Clemson will use those two to control the clock and coast to an easy victory. Clemson 35-10
Brian from CFR