After having arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder on Dec. 1, Tigers QB Charlie Whitehurst, is expected to make his 40th and final career start.
The Tigers finished with a flourish, ending on a three-game winning streak. The defense, led by All-America cornerback Tye Hill and linebacker Anthony Waters, did not allow an offensive touchdown against Florida State or South Carolina in the final two games. Clemson is ranked 13th nationally in points allowed (18.3 a game).
Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns) is expected to start after having arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder on Dec. 1. First-year offensive coordinator Rob Spence has brought balance to Clemson's pass-happy attack, increasing the Tigers' total rushing yards from 1,183 a year ago to 1,676 this season by using 30 different formations.
Breaking down Colorado
The Buffalos have issues. Coach Gary Barnett resigned, starting offensive lineman Clint O'Neal was suspended for allegedly sending a racist e-mail, and they've given up 100 points the last two games, allowing an average of 491.5 yards. But Colorado still has the nation's No. 9 rush defense, allowing 95.3 yards a game behind linebacker Thaddaeus Washington.
Colorado uses Hugh Charles and its power rush to set up the pass. But a big question is, who's wil take snaps under center? Interim coach Mike Hankwitz is preparing as if quarterback Joel Klatt will not play after suffering a concussion in the Big 12 title game. Backup James Cox appeared in seven games, throwing for 93 yards, 47 of which came in a blowout of New Mexico State.
After the way Colorado played in its last two games, this could get ugly. Expect Whitehurst to exploit a Buffaloes pass defense that's among the worst in the nation. This game features two of game's best kickers in Clemson's Jad Dean and Colorado's Mason Crosby. But it won't come down to their legs.