Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he's glad to have the extra time to prepare for Maryland on Oct. 4, the beginning of an important three-game stretch that sees the Tigers play the Terps, Virginia and N.C. State. Bowden also says he's pleased by the improved play on the offensive line.
Meanwhile, the mood in Clemson is one of excitement tempered with a dose of realism:
"People are excited," defensive end J.J. Howard says. "There are a lot of smiles, but in the backs of people's minds, they know what we know."
And that's this -- despite strong starts the past two seasons, Clemson struggled during the meat of its schedule and needed to win its final games both years to make the postseason.
The Tigers were 4-1 in 2001 yet lost four of their next five contests. A 3-1 start of a year ago fell apart with losses against Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina State.
So very true. Hopefully the team won't get overconfident, like Georgia Tech did.
NO ACC TITLE GAME? According to the Anderson Independent-Mail, the NCAA has informally rejected a football championship game for the expanded 11-team conference. All the more reason to add a 12th team, and all the more reason to make it West Virginia. Yeah, I know. It's probably not the most attractive TV market, and the Tar Heel wine-and-cheese crowd would be suitably horrified. But it's a near-perfect geographical fit, and imagine the atmosphere for big football games.
A.D. LIKES THE EFFORT: Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips says he was pleased with the players' intensity in last Saturday's 39-3 victory against Georgia Tech. He's been critical of the players' effort in other games.