This should be a two-column fixed-width design targeting 1024-width screens.
Since the purpose of the site is very date-oriented (people return every day to see today's deals, and older deals are less likely to still be available), the dates should stand out in some way, and probably only be shown once above/beside/near the set of posts for that date.
Like Slickdeals, by default the home page will only show the headline of each post, and clicking the headline will slide down the full post with the details of the deal and product image. In your design, please show one of the posts expanded, so that you can reveal these UI elements as well:
- Product/deal image
- Comment count
- Rate this deal (positive only, so some type of plus or thumbs up icon is probably best)
- Share this deal (Facebook, Twitter, Email icons)
- Tags for the post
One last note: I have coded a custom WordPress plugin/UI to manage the deals on this site, and may polish it up to sell to others in the future. Since copyright is transferred as part of a 99designs contest, I may choose to include this theme with the plugin, so you should be OK with that. I will definitely give you permission to use the design in your portfolio as well.