Monday, October 31, 2011

All is not lost, Clemson

Clemson's devastating loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday certainly knocked the Tigers out of national-championship contention. But is the season now ruined?

• Dabo Swinney says Clemson "must flush" the loss to the Yellow Jackets as the team heads into a bye week.

• Clemson has had a great season, and an ACC title and BCS bowl berth are still well within reach, says CBS Sports.

• Saturday's win was great for Georgia Tech but bad for the ACC, says ESPN.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 17: Perfect season evaporates

Our ancient nemesis from Atlanta did it again -- thwarted our chances for a perfect season. Here's the reaction to the loss.

• Game stories: Post and Courier; Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Dabo Swinney: "They just flat-out whipped us." 

• Georgia Tech simply out-physicaled Clemson, says Orange and White.

• With the defeat, Clemson slipped to 12th in the USA TODAY Coaches poll.

Sammy Watkins had another big night -- 10 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Andre Ellington won't start against Georgia Tech

Some news and notes on the eve of Clemson's critical game against Georgia Tech:

• Clemson's top running back, Andre Ellington, won't start on Saturday night against the Yellow Jackets. (DJ Howard gets the nod.) Georgia Tech center Jay Finch won't play at all.

Georgia Tech's special teams have struggled this season.

• The Clemson-Georgia Tech rivalry has long been a roller coaster. It's also rich in history.

• Here's a good profile of Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How can Clemson play for the national championship?

The big game with Georgia Tech is just two days away. Here's the news leading up to the showdown.

Orange and White lays out the various scenarios that could propel Clemson to a national championship. (As you might have guessed, a lot of other teams have to lose.) My old colleague Keith Jarrett of the Asheville Citizen-Times also explores some scenarios. (Hi, Keith.)

• Georgia Tech fears the Tiger, especially on offense.

• Speaking of the offense, it converts third-and-long situations at one of the best rates in the ACC.

• ESPN says Clemson has something to prove against the Yellow Jackets.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dwayne Allen battles turf toe

Some of Clemson's key players are nursing injuries as the Tigers head into a key ACC game on Saturday at Georgia Tech:

• Tight end Dwayne Allen, who has had a stellar season so far, is coping with turf toe, and running back Andre Ellington has a sore ankle.

The Post and Courier's Gene Sapakoff has a good column on the fiercely contested Clemson-Georgia Tech rivalry.

• Georgia Tech's offense throws a lot at you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Georgia Tech: Dangerous despite setbacks

The much-anticipated game with Georgia Tech has lost some luster, but it's still a big game. Here's what people are saying about it and other things Clemson-related:

Dabo Swinney says the Yellow Jackets are still "talented, dangerous."

• The key to offensive coordinator Chad Morris' success? Communication.

• Clemson fans are snapping up tickets for the Dec. 3 ACC title game in Charlotte.

• How can the Tigers defeat Georgia Tech? The answer is right here.

• Clemson has a real shot at the national title, says The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tiger rise to fifth in new BCS poll

Clemson has now reached its highest ranking ever in the BCS poll. The Tigers are up to No. 5 following upset losses by Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

• BCS mania: Orange and White (and more here on how the computer is helping) and another story on how they got there;  Post and Courier.

• There's not much difference in the talent level between Clemson's best young players, and that includes superstar Sammy Watkins.

Orange and White has a nice feature on DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins, who had a huge game against the Tar Heels on Saturday.

• USA TODAY says Clemson's Nov. 12 game with Wake Forest, and not this week's showdown with Georgia Tech, now looms as the Tigers' most important game.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Clemson 59, UNC 38: Tigers jump in polls

Clemson defeated North Carolina 59-38 on a picture-perfect Saturday in Death Valley (I know, because I was there for the first time in several years). Here's a quick look at reactions to the game and its aftermath:

• With Wisconsin and Oklahoma losing on Saturday, Clemson moved up to No. 6 in the USA TODAY coaches poll.

• Game story: The Charlotte Observer.

Ron Green Jr. says Clemson is daring to dream the dream.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Clemson vs. UNC features efficient quarterbacks

We're one day away from squaring off with the  Tar Heels for the first time in a couple of years. Here's what's news out there:

Tajh Boyd and UNC's Bryn Renner rank as two of the most efficient passing quarterbacks in the country, according to NCAA statistics.

• Speaking of Boyd, his quick release when throwing the ball makes him an attractive target for the NFL.

• Saturday's game is a must-win for North Carolina, says ESPN.

The dreaded noon kickoff for Saturday's game won't be a problem for Clemson's players.

The Tigers' 7-0 start helps out on the recruiting trail.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Clemson's offensive line is shaping up

A quick look at what's shaking out there on the Internet today:

• Clemson's offensive line is making great progress as the season moves along.

• Freshman linebacker Tony Steward tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.

• Can the Tigers put all the pieces together for a stellar run through the remainder of the season?

Tajh Boyd has been added to the Manning Award watch list.

Sports Illustrated names Sammy Watkins a midseason All American, and Heismanpundit names him the player of the week.

• CBS Sports has a video preview of Saturday's game with UNC:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everybody's talking about Sammy Watkins

As Clemson climbs in the national rankings, its players are soaring into the national spotlight, and none more so than freshman Sammy Watkins.

• ESPN says Watkins plays above his age. Bleacher Report calls him a "human highlight reel." (Watkins is also a supportive roommate to running back Mike Bellamy, who is not happy with his lack of playing time.)

• Running back Andrew Ellington, who rushed for more than 200 yards against Maryland, is revving up the Tigers' offense.

Orange and White examines which players are getting the most snaps this season.

• There were 14 "sickening" plays Maryland ran against Clemson on Saturday. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele describes them.

• Pre-Snap Read, a fine college football blog that I just discovered, looks at Clemson's season so far.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heels' defense faces huge challenge in Tigers

Here's what's happening now as the Tigers prepare for Saturday's game with North Carolina:

• The Tar Heels' defense has lost starting linebacker Ebele Okakpu for disciplinary reasons.

• ESPN's Heather Dinich says the Tigers should get a shot at the national championship. I hope she's right.

• Offensive coordinator Chad Morris says Clemson's offense is only going to get better.

Clemson's top Heisman candidates? Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are outsiders right now, says ESPN. Watkins is also on ESPN's Heisman watch list.

• Running back Mike Bellamy has been frustrated by his lack of playing time.

The Post and Courier has an interesting story about long snappers.

• Recruiting news: Clemson has received another high-profile commitment  -- defensive tackle Josh Brown of Aiken, S.C.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seven may not be lucky for Tigers

The first BCS poll of the season is the big news in college football, and Clemson comes in at No. 7 in the first poll.

• ESPN says Clemson may face a tough climb to No. 1 from No. 7. And here's Clemson's BCS history.

• Some computer models have ranked the Tigers as high as No. 3 in the BCS.

Orange and White examines this season's parallels with the national championship season of 1981. 

Is Sammy Watkins human? The Charlotte Observer investigates. Also, Watkins wins the Paul Hornung Award for his superhuman efforts against Maryland. (More on Watkins here.)

Dabo Swinney sees lots of lessons from the big comeback against Maryland.

• USA TODAY says Clemson showed some vulnerability on Saturday, as did Georgia Tech.

O&W takes a quick look-ahead to North Carolina.

Clemson-Georgia Tech will kick off at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29, possibly as the big national game on ABC.

• And finally, Deadspin notes that an unidentified Clemson assistant coach may be keeping vital game notes inside a Michelle Obama commemorative trapper-keeper. Is somebody taking the first lady's Let's Move! campaign a little too seriously?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Clemson seventh in first BCS poll

The Tigers are ranked seventh in the initial BCS poll. Who's No. 1? LSU. (NOTE: Corrects earlier erroneous post.)

That's all for now. There'll be much more tomorrow.

Clemson 56, Maryland 45: The postmortems

Here's all the news that's fit to link in the aftermath of Clemson's thrilling 56-45 win over Maryland. Coming later tonight: The season's first BCS poll. I'll post an update when it comes out.

• Here are the game stories: Baltimore Sun, The State, Orange and White, The Washington Post, Post and Courier

• Clemson stays at No. 8 in the USA TODAY coaches poll. They also remained at No. 8 in the AP poll.

What worked for the Tigers on Saturday night? And what didn't?

• ESPN says Sammy Watkins, who racked up 345 all-purposes yards, is the new C.J. Spiller.

• Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele takes the blame for Clemson's defensive problems against the Terps.

• Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants the Tigers to enjoy their impressive outing -- 576 yards and 56 points.

The State looks ahead to this weekend's 30th reunion for the 1981 national championship team.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clemson 56, Maryland 45: Wild win

What a game. Clemson's 56-45 victory over Maryland on Saturday night has to rank as one of the wildest wins in Tiger history. Down 18 points, Clemson outscored the Terps 39-10 to remain undefeated. Receiver Sammy Watkins had a record-breaking night, and quarterback Tajh Boyd overcame a sluggish start to have another impressive outing.

I'll post more news and reactions on Sunday. Right now, I'm going to celebrate.

Clemson vs. Maryland: Game on

The Tigers and Terps kick off at 7 p.m. this evening. The game will be televised on ESPNU (do we get that here?). Quickly:

Dabo Swinney sees danger in Maryland. Also, Swinney details 10 things it'll take to beat the Terps.

Questions and answers regarding today's game.

• A game preview from Maryland's perspective.

• CBS Sports' Tony Barnhart lists the Tigers in his Tony's Top 10 column this week.

• And speaking of CBS, here's a video preview of the game:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Carlos Watkins is Clemson bound

Just in: Defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, a standout at Forest City (N.C.) Chase High School, has chosen to play college football at Clemson instead of Florida, Shakin' the Southland reports. The 6-4, 290-pound Watkins is rated one of the top 100 players in the country.

Clemson to the SEC? Not so fast, Barker says

Lots of Clemson news out there a day before the game with Maryland. Let's hit the highlights.

• Clemson University President James Barker refutes a Boston Globe report earlier this week that Clemson would join the Southeastern Conference as its 14th member. I'd welcome a move to the SEC myself, and I think a lot of Clemson fans would, too.

The Washington Post predicts a narrow victory for the Tigers over the Terps on Saturday. Narrow? Clemson Girl sees a 31-20 win for Clemson.

• The Clemson-Maryland series has been a streaky one through the years.

• Here's an injury update for both Clemson and Maryland heading into Saturday's game in College Park. The big news: Maryland's leading tackler, Demetrius Hartsfield, will miss the contest.

• The Terps could play two quarterbacks on Saturday -- Danny O'Brien and the speedy C.J. Brown.

It's down to the wire in the recruiting battle for North Carolina prep star Carlos Watkins. Will he choose Clemson or Florida? We'll find out later today.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tajh Boyd's hip injury? Blame 'swag reasons'

Here's what people are talking about this morning as the Tigers zero in on the Terps:

• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is catching a lot of grief for admitting that he wasn't wearing hip pads for "swag reasons" when he went down with a hip injury against Boston College. (How long until #swagreasons is trending on Twitter?) I'm going to go out on a limb and say he'll be wearing them Saturday against Maryland, and the "swag" factor won't have anything to do with it.

The Charleston Post and Courier examines the trend of flashy, gaudy, ever-changing college football uniforms. Maryland figures prominently, of course.

• Here's video of Tony Barnhart interviewing Dabo Swinney for CBS Sports.

Orange and White discusses Clemson's youth movement -- 29 freshmen have played for the Tigers so far this season.

O&W also has a couple of pieces on receiver Sammy Watkins, who is tearing it up this year.

• Who will start at quarterback for Maryland on Saturday?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For Clemson, speed kills

Here's what's shaking out there on the Interwebs today:

• Clemson may have the fastest group of players assembled on one team since the Miami squads of the early 2000s.

• CBS Sports previews Saturday's game at Maryland.

• Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says the Terps have a dangerous offense.

• Recruiting news: The Tigers are looking to land top prospect Carlos Watkins of Forest City (N.C.) Chase High School, and they're looking forward to welcoming Clemson Daniel product Shaq Lawson, a defensive end whose prep team has shut out five straight opponents.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tigers rate well in mock BCS poll

It's Tuesday. What's going on with Clemson football? Let's check it out:

The Tigers are seventh in a mock BCS poll conducted by ESPN.

The Washington Post examines the personnel issues for both Maryland and Clemson ahead of Saturday's game.

• Offensive coordinator Chad Morris is still fine-tuning the Tigers' offense.

• ESPN hands out its midseason report cards. Here's Clemson's.

• Backup quarterback Cole Stoudt comes from a football background -- his dad, Cliff Stoudt, played in the NFL for eight seasons.

• Quarterback Tajh Boyd is on the Maxwell Award watch list. Other players are on the awards-season radar, too.

• Redshirt freshman running back Demont Buice will transfer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

For Clemson, a long October has barely begun

Football, football and more football. That's all we get around here, 24 hours a day:

• Clemson has enjoyed possibly its greatest string of football success ever since late September, but there are many more road blocks ahead in this rare, five-Saturday October.

•  Tajh Boyd will likely play against Maryland. Maybe they should rest him? Cole Stoudt did a great job filling in Saturday against Boston College.

• ESPN ranks Clemson No. 1 in the ACC power rankings.

Orange and White has a nice profile of young receiver Charone Peake.

Orange and White also examines the stellar play of defensive ends Malliciah Goodman and Andre Branch.

Anderson Independent-Mail columnist Greg Wallace says Clemson's greatest enemy at this point could be itself.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tajh Boyd's MRI negative; QB questionable for next game

Clemson's star quarterback Tajh Boyd's hip injury doesn't appear to be too serious, though there's a chance he could sit out or see limited action in next week's ACC game at Maryland. However, Tigernet reports that Boyd could practice on Tuesday, and Travis Sawchik, the Clemson beat writer for the Charleston Post and Courier, tweeted that Boyd's father told him that Tajh "should be fine for next week at Maryland." Fingers crossed.

Here's a roundup of coverage from Saturday's 36-14 victory over Boston College.

• Game stories from Saturday's victory: The State, Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

• Backup quarterback Cole Stoudt did a fine job filling in for Boyd on Saturday.

• Here's a great lineup of postgame coverage from Orange and White: A breakdown of what worked for the Tigers and what could have worked better; offensive coordinator Chad Morris' thoughts on his squad's execution; defensive coordinator Kevin Steele sees progress on his side of the ball; and a player-by-player look at who stepped up on Saturday.

• The Tigers didn't get much bounce from Saturday's victory -- they're still No. 8 in both polls.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Clemson 36, BC 14: Solid win, but Tajh Boyd injured

Clemson looked good in nearly every facet of Saturday's 36-14 victory over Boston College. However, star quarterback Tajh Boyd went down with a hip injury. As of this writing, his status is uncertain, but message-board chatter indicated that the injury wasn't a season ender.

The win improves the Tigers to 6-0, their best start since 2000. Clemson travels to Maryland next Saturday.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Struggling BC faces a tough stretch

A little over 24 hours to kickoff against Boston College? Check. Time for some Clemson football news? Check.

• Boston College, which enters Saturday's game with a 1-4 record, begins a strech of three straight road games Saturday at Clemson.

• Buried in this notebook is an interesting item: Clemson is currently second in the computerized BCS rankings

Dabo Swinney says now is not the time for the Tigers to lose their focus.

Tajh Boyd is still perfecting the offense's tempo.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

BC running back Marcel Harris won't play Saturday

Getting ready for some football? Here's some news that'll help you out.

• Boston College's top running back, Marcel Harris, won't even dress for Saturday's game at Clemson.

• Meet the six players who've made a big difference in the Tigers' season so far.

• Can Clemson defeat "the Clemson stereotype"? Let's hope.

• ESPN has a nice profile of Clemson center Jay Guillermo.

• Former coach Danny Ford talks Tiger football at his dentist's office.

• More from the Clemson wayback machine: Here's an interview with William "Refrigerator" Perry, a star from the 1981 national championship team.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tigers toughen up, shift perceptions

Here's what folks are writing about Clemson football this morning:

• The Tigers aren't going to be perceived a soft, unphysical team anymore, says the Orange and White.

•  Also, Orange and White profiles defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, whose squad turned in an impressive performance against Virginia Tech.

•  Too early? Clemson's current odds of winning the national championship are now 12-1. (They were 100-1 at the start of the season.) But the Tigers have a lot of elements of past national champs.

• The Clemson-Georgia Tech game on Oct. 29 is shaping up to be one of the biggest games in ACC history.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The whole country -- even Hawaii -- hyped about Clemson

Here's some news about the Tigers from around the Web:

• A radio station in Hawaii (!) contacted the Charleston Post and Courier to talk about Clemson's surprising season.

• ESPN says Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is now a serious Heisman contender.

• Defensive end Andre Branch and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele have received national awards from

• Vital special-teams player Spencer Benton will miss six to eight weeks after suffering a shoulder injury against Virginia Tech.

• The hype machine leading up to the Nov. 26 game with South Carolina is already running at full speed.

The Boston Globe looks ahead to Saturday's game against Boston College in Clemson.

•  The Clemson-Maryland game on Oct. 15 in College Park will kick off at 7 p.m. It'll be televised on ESPNU.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tiger Nation is getting pumped, and deservedly so

Enthusiasm is overflowing among Clemson fans following Saturday's 23-3 victory over Virginia Tech. The Tigers are 5-0 and ranked No. 8 in both major polls. Here's some news and notes in the aftermath of the win.

About 1,000 fans greeted the Tigers when the team returned to Clemson around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Clemson's physical style of play on Saturday greatly pleased coach Dabo Swinney. I'm sure it greatly pleased a great number of people.

Orange and White hopes Clemson's fast start doesn't set fans up for a big fall.

• Orange and White also looks ahead to Boston College here, here and here.

• ESPN wonders if Clemson can stay undefeated until the Oct. 29 showdown with Georgia Tech.

•  USA Today says Clemson looks like the class of the ACC this season.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Tigers hit the top 10 after win

Clemson's 23-3 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday night propelled the Tigers into the top 10 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. They're also in the top 10 in the AP poll.

• Game stories from Saturday: Orange and White, The State, Spartanburg Herald Journal, The Roanoke Times, Charlotte Observer.

• ESPN says Dabo Swinney has the Tigers believing. He's got me believing, too.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Clemson 23, Virginia Tech 3: Landmark victory

Clemson's 23-3 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday night could be a program-defining victory for the school. It was the Tigers' third victory in a row over a ranked opponent, which the ESPN announcers said was something that no ACC school has ever done.

It was also Clemson's first victory over Virginia Tech since 1989.

The win puts the Tigers in the hunt for the national championship. They should be ranked in the top 10 when the polls come out on Sunday.

I'll post more links tomorrow, but tonight I'll be savoring this one.