Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Peach Bowl smack-talk dials it up a notch

This is interesting. At pregame press conferences Tuesday in Atlanta, there were verbal jabs both overt and subtle flying back and forth between Clemson and Tennessee. Kevin Burnett, a junior starting linebacker for the Vols, generated the kind of bulletin-board material coaches dream of:

''Clemson has been doing a lot of talking, and I think they are going to be in for a shock when they see what kind of team they're going to play,'' Burnett fumed. ''I know we're going to play a very (ticked) off football game.''

Burnett, one of the Vols' team captains, didn't stop there.

''I don't think they really believe they can win,'' Burnett said. ''They are talking themselves up and maybe they are talking themselves into a win. As of right now, I don't think they believe they can win.''

He also called out Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill, an All-America candidate, after Hill said he'd never heard of Burnett (more on Burnett's comments here):

''They have another linebacker that came out of high school with us, Kevin Simon,'' said Hill, when asked about Burnett. ''I've heard more about him. We'll just have to go into the game and see who plays better.''

Responded Burnett: ''Who is that guy? Who is he? You tell him to put on some pads and we can go out in the middle of the Falcons' stadium. We can hit, run, jump � whatever you want to do.''

There's a lot more. Just read the whole thing. And for more subtler smack-talking about recruiting, read this.

TALL ORDER FOR DEFENSE: The defensive squad played a huge role in Clemson's three-game win streak to close out the season. They'll really have to step it up against No. 6 Tennessee.

OFFENSIVE LINE MAKES IT HAPPEN: It was a question mark going into the season, and it struggled at times early on, but the Tigers' O-line has managed to get the job done.

NEW FACILITIES FASTER? Clemson is considering a joint venture with a private company to build the West End Zone project. If it comes to fruition, it could be construted two or three years sooner than previous plans.

That's awesome. I hope it comes to pass. We needed these facilities five years ago.

CLEMSON'S 'RUDY': The State has a nice profile of Tommy Sharpe, Clemson's undersized yet overperforming center who gained fame early in the season for puking on the football during the Georgia game, which resulted in a fumble. Sharpe caught a lot of grief for that, including from me. Sorry, Tommy.

WASHINGTON COMES AROUND: The State also has a good story on defensive tackle Donnell Washington, a player who came to Clemson with great credentials but only recently has begun to play to his potential.

RECRUITING EDGE? A Peach Bowl victory could help Clemson gain some ground in the recruiting wars against teams in the SEC. Right now, Tennessee has many more star recruits than Clemson does.

THAT POLLACK PLAY: Tennessee, still whining about not going to a better bowl, can't shake the nightmare play instigated by Georgia's David Pollack at the end of the first half of the Vols' 41-14 loss to the Dawgs.

Pollack killed us, too. So what? Boo-frickin'-hoo. Get ready for Friday's game.

NOTEBOOKS: Here and here.

NEW ACC BOWLS? Expansion could make it possible.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Vols' secondary will test the Tigers

Tennessee's tough defensive backs will provide a challenge for Clemson's tall, speedy receivers, according to the Anderson Independent-Mail. (More here.) Tennessee's pass defense ranks second in the SEC and 15th nationally.

PRACTICE PROBLEMS: Monday was not a good day for the Tigers on the practice field in Atlanta. (More here and here.)

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Clemson's players say preparations for this year's bowl game are much more focused than they were for last year's Tangerine Bowl fiasco.

HANG IT UP: Columnist Ron Morris of The State examines how a player-imposed cellphone ban helped the Tigers stay focused when difficulties arose during the season.

COACHES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a nice story on the struggles faced this season by Clemson coach Tommy Bowden and Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer.

CURRIE AIMS TO DODGE VOLS AGAIN: All-star receiver Airese Currie could have signed with Tennessee, but decided to go to Clemson. Thank goodness.

ALABAMA WAS THE TURNING POINT: A five-overtime, 51-43 victory over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa was when Tennessee's defense really grew up.

CONSIDERING CLAUSEN: The Knoxville News-Sentinel has a long piece on Tennessee senior quarterback Casey Clausen, who has compiled an excellent record without winning a championship.

VOLS' WORKOUTS: Stories are here and here.

Monday, December 29, 2003

This Clemson is not like previous Peach Bowl Tigers

For one thing, the receivers are much faster, and the offense is more diverse. Tennessee seems to recognize this.

I've been to four Peach Bowls, including three in a row from 1996 to 1999, and I feel more confident about this year's outing than any of those.

TRANSFER TALKS: Former Tennessee receiver Michael Collins now plays at Clemson, and he shares his views on the game.

LEAKE GETS HONOR: Clemson linebacker John Leake will play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 10.

MILESTONE LOOMS: Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is poised to join Phillip Rivers as the only ACC quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in their first two seasons.

TOO MANY QBs? Clemson will have six signal-callers on the squad when fall practice begins in 2004.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I'm back -- and I'm stunned

I return from a nice holiday trip to the Carolinas to discover that Bart Wright hasn't just jumped on the Clemson bandwagon; he's pretty much driving the damn thing now.

Wow. Isn't a plague of locusts next?

FAITH AND FOOTBALL: The State weighs in with its Tommy Bowden profile.

THE PUNCH: The State also has a nice story on Charlie Bauman, the Clemson noseguard who made college football history for getting slugged by thuggish Ohio State coaching legend Woody Hayes at the end of the 1978 Gator Bowl.

I'll post more on Monday. Must rest now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003


Regular posting will resume in a couple of days. In the meantime, ESPN will be airing a Peach Bowl preview show at 2 p.m. today. Check it out, and have a wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Tigers take it easy before heading to Atlanta

Clemson's coaches and players will take a short break before reconvening in Atlanta on Friday to begin final preparations for the Peach Bowl. (More here.)

GAME PREVIEW: Sports Illustrated has a short Peach Bowl preview posted on its Web site. Check it out.

WOLFPACK ROLLS: N.C. State demolished Kansas 59-26 Monday night in the Tangerine Bowl. Quarterback Phillip Rivers threw for a career-high 475 yards and five touchdowns in the win. Thank God he's gone after this season.

Monday, December 22, 2003

(UPDATED at 2:01 p.m.)

For Hill, Peach Bowl could be the capper

Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill, who has had an All-American-caliber season, hopes to put an exclamation point on his year with a win in the Peach Bowl.

PEACH BOWL MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights from the 1993 Peach Bowl, a 14-13 victory against Kentucky. Check it out.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

God and goalposts top Bowden's agenda

The Anderson Independent-Mail has a nice story on coach Tommy Bowden's faith and how it helped him get through a difficult, yet ultimately rewarding, football season.

LOVETT KNOWS THE VOLS: Clemson defensive coordinator John Lovett, who has worked at a couple of schools in the SEC, is familiar with Tennessee.

PLENTY OF TICKETS...NOW: The Peach Bowl will be able to accommodate all the Clemson fans who wanted to go to the game.

NOTEBOOK: Clemson will study game film of Tennessee today.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The State revisits stories it has written about four South Carolina athletes who have overcome tremendous personal obstacles. One of the stories includes a visit with former Clemson running back Javis Austin, blinded by a suicide attempt, who just graduated from college. Another is about former Clemson golfer John Engler, who was severely injured in a car crash that killed a West Columbia couple.

GOOD SESSIONS: Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says he was pleased with his team's effort in pre-Christmas workouts for the Peach Bowl.

LEAK GETS HIS SHOT: Tennessee backup quarterback C.J. Leak, who faced Clemson a time or two when he was at Wake Forest, hopes he can secure an extra year of eligibility so he can be Tennessee's starting signal-caller next season.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Stockstill's hiring is the talk of the town

Everybody's got something to say about South Carolina hiring former Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill. (More here and here.)

Friday, December 19, 2003

Hamilton will return to Clemson in 2004

All-star receiver Derrick Hamilton has decided not to test the NFL waters and will return for his senior season.

Whew. That's good news.

STOCK GOES TO THE COCKS: Popular former Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill, who had a miserable season as East Carolina's offensive coordinator (NOT head coach; thanks, Jason) in 2003, has bolted from the Pirates and will be a receivers coach for the hated Gamecocks.

A lot of Tigernet posters seem to be really upset about this. I think that's silly. When you get down to it, coaching is a profession much like any other, and the competition for jobs is fierce. I don't really see how Stockstill could have come back to Clemson; his job has been filled by Dabo Swinney. So let's be happy for Rick, wish him the best -- and beat his players on the field. We'll shake hands and hug after the game.

BAD MEMORIES LINGER: Clemson's horrible 55-15 loss to Texas Tech in last year's Tangerine Bowl is serving as motivation for the upcoming Peach Bowl game against Tennessee. (More here.)

NOTEBOOK: Five players graduated this week.

FLYING TIGERS: Tennessee's defensive backs will have their hands full with Clemson's tall, speedy receivers. (I posted a different version of this story the other day, but Blogger ate it.)

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: The Knoxville News has a story on Tennessee defensive end Tony McDaniel, who nearly signed with Clemson.

SMOKEY VIII AILING: Smokey VIII, the bluetick coonhound that patrols the Vols' sidelines, will retire following the Peach Bowl. The 9-year-old dog has cancer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Where'd today's post go?

This is dicked up. I posted several items early this morning, hit publish, then logged off. No sign of any problem. However, when I checked my page later in the day, nothing I'd posted had published.

%&@# Blogger.


Anyway, here are a few items I've gleaned. I'm going to be very busy on Thursday, so this will have to tide you over until Friday.

BAD PRACTICE: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said Wednesday's session was the worst so far in the preparations for the Peach Bowl.

JUCO SIGNINGS: Clemson has added defensive lineman Corey Groover to the lineup. He sounds like a good one.

ROCKET MAN: The Greenville News' Bart Wright compares Clemson's football season to a big, sparkly firecracker! Yay!

If Bart Wright be for us, who can be against us?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

(UPDATED at 2:42 p.m.)

All-America candidate Hill misses practice

Linebacker Leroy Hill has a bruised sternum, but he should be OK. Speaking of Hill, ESPN says he'll be a player to watch in 2004. Meanwhile, coach Tommy Bowden says the early practice sessions for the Peach Bowl have been going well.

VOLS SEEK RESPECT: The State examines Tennessee's quest to regain its prominent spot in the college football firmament.

THE FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT: Clemson linebacker John Leake says the Tigers could have a breakout season in 2004. With 16 starters returning, I'd say that's a pretty good bet.

NOTEBOOK: No practice today; the coaches are going to the Shrine Bowl banquet.

SHEDDING BAD MEMORIES: That's what Tennessee hopes to do in the Peach Bowl. And they're still ticked off that they are going to Atlanta instead of, say, Tempe or Dallas.

FULMER GETS RAISE: It must not have been that much of a disappointment for the Tennessee athletic department. Football coach Phillip Fulmer has been given a raise and a contract extension. He's now the highest-paid coach in the SEC.

BOWL GUIDE ONLINE: You can print out a copy of the official Clemson Peach Bowl media guide here.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Tiger offense, Vol defense: A perfect matchup?

This season, Clemson prospered by moving the ball, while Tennessee did best when it shut down the other team's offense. That could make for an interesting game in Atlanta on Jan. 2.

PLAYER DISMISSED: Clemson redshirt freshman cornerback Buddy Williams has been dismissed from the team. (More here and here.)

TENNESSEE UPDATE: Here's an item on the Vols' early practice sessions for the Peach Bowl.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Tigers practice for bowl, and, oh yeah, something else happened...

Wow. I fire up the computer this morning to learn about the snow storm that dumped about 4 inches on Northern Virginia and find out that U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein overnight! That's unbelievably great news -- the Saddam part, not the snow part. The snow part is gonna suck, because I've got to go to work today.

PRACTICE REPORT: The Tigers had a good practice session Saturday, according to coach Tommy Bowden. And here's a notebook.

DANGEROUS TIGERS: Tennessee is acknowledging that Clemson may be a pretty decent team, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

THE PAST & THE FUTURE: The Greenville News' Bart Wright has a column on the hiring of Sylvester Croom as head coach at Mississippi State. Croom is the first black head coach in the SEC, and Wright interviews Tommy Bowden about the landmark.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Happy days return to Tiger Town

The contract extension that coach Tommy Bowden signed in November has made both him and his players happier. (More here.)

PRACTICE UPDATE: Tigernet has a short report on Clemson's first pre-Peach Bowl practice session. Give it a look.

TENNESSEE SNAPS OUT OF IT: Well, it looks like the Vols are going to quit pouting about not going to a better bowl and start getting ready to play Clemson. Dang. I wanted them to keep crying into their coonskin caps right up until game time.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Fulmer: We wuz robbed by the BCS

Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer and Clemson coach Tommy Bowden met with the media in Atlanta on Thursday to promote the Jan. 2 Peach Bowl matchup between the two schools. Fulmer made the accurate point that the sixth-ranked Vols got the shaft from the BCS. (Stories here, here, here and here.

The State's Doug Nye, a television writer, also blames ESPN, which has played a hand in the proliferation of postseason bowl games.

VOLS SELL OUT: Tennessee has sold its allotment of tickets for the Peach Bowl, the first time that's happened since the 1998 national championship game.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Peach Bowl ticket fiasco drags on

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a story on the snafus at the Peach Bowl ticket office. Man, this is a big old mess.

ACC GOES BOWLING: The official ACC site has some good stuff about the league's upcoming bowl games. Go here and here for details.

WHITEHURST RANKED: According to CBS Sportsline, Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is the No. 11 signal-caller in the nation. With the departure of N.C. State's Phillip Rivers (No. 2), Whitehurst should be the league's top returning quarterback next season.

CBS Sportsline also ranks Derrick Hamilton as the No. 20 receiver in the country.

And in more late-breaking player-ranking news, linebacker Leroy Hill, an All-America candidate, has been selected as one of the 100 top players in college football for the season that has just ended. (He's ranked 88th by College Football News.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Peach Bowl ticket woes continue

Thousands of Clemson fans who ordered tickets for the Peach Bowl are going to be disappointed. The Atlanta-based bowl way oversold tickets, and many people are going to be getting refunds. (More here.)

SAFER GOAL POSTS: Clemson will install collapsible goal posts in Death Valley. (More here.) The move was taken after thousands of fans rushed the field to tear down the goal posts following the victory against Florida State on Nov. 8. There were several injuries, and ESPN gave the incident national coverage in a piece on crowd safety at college football games.

HILL FOR ALL-AMERICAN: The SID's office has launched an All-America publicity campaign for linebacker Leroy Hill, who had a massive season. Check it out (it's in PDF).

PEACH BOWL CENTRAL: The official Clemson site has a nice page on the Peach Bowl. Give it a look.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Peach Bowl is a hot ticket for Tiger fans

Clemson fans are swarming ticket outlets in an attempt to land a seat at the Peach Bowl. (More here.)

IT'S A BIG GAME: The Greenville News says the Peach Bowl presents an opportunity for Clemson to beat one of college football's top programs. (As you can see from this list, the Vols own the eighth-best winning percentage in history.) And Tommy Bowden says his team will be motivated.

BREATHING EASIER: Speaking of Bowden, Clemson's coach says his new contract extension has made his job a little easier.

EVERYONE'S ON BOARD: All of Clemson's assistant football coaches should be with the team for the Peach Bowl.

A NEW ANSWER MAN: Jon Solomon, the former Clemson beat writer for the Anderson Independent-Mail, now covers the Tigers for The State. He has started answering questions from fans. Check them out.

Monday, December 08, 2003

It'll be an all-orange Peach Bowl in Atlanta

The Tigers (8-4) face the Volunteers (10-2) on Jan. 2. Here's what the media has to say.

CLEMSON COVERAGE: The State; The Greenville News; Anderson Independent-Mail.

TENNESSEE COVERAGE: The Knoxville News; The Tennessean; Maryville Daily Times.

PEACH PICKING: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a couple of interesting stories on the process the Peach Bowl uses to pick its participants. The shorter story is fairly straightforward. The longer one gets into detail about the selection process. It' includes this passage about Clemson fans:

And just like any other political process, there is a lot of lobbying on the eve of the big vote. In fact, as Peach Bowl executives find out, the Clemson fan base may have one of the strongest lobbies in the South.

Someone in the Tigers' camp got hold of the main fax number in the Peach Bowl office, and the machine hasn't stopped spitting out pages since 3 p.m., when the Gator Bowl officially selected Maryland and the Peach Bowl went "on the clock" to make its choice. So by now there are hundreds of faxes from Clemson fans piled up.

Most of the the faxes are quite simple -- just big, black paw prints on single pages. Some are open pleas to the selection committee to "do the right thing" by choosing the Tigers. Others are more cryptic, such as the ones with copies of $2 bills printed on them followed by the message, "Choose Clemson and These are Yours."

It's not really a bribe. Clemson has a unique tradition in which fans accompanying the team to a bowl destination use $2 bills -- often with big orange paw prints stamped on them -- to pay for everything they buy while in the host city. That way, it is reasoned, local establishments will know that it was Clemson money being spent in their town.

Clever constituents, these Clemson folks. Someone acquired the e-mail address of David Epps, the Peach Bowl's vice president for marketing and sales -- the "Ticket Guy" -- and they posted it with a link on, a Web site/chatroom devoted to Clemson football. From 4 to 8 p.m., Epps received 2,300 e-mails from the Clemson faithful. Under headings such as "Go Tigers!" "Underachievers vs. Overachievers" and "Tigers Love Peaches," Epps reads why the Peach should pick Clemson over N.C. State.

Direct phone numbers of Peach Bowl employees also were posted. Executive assistant Patti Young, who has worked for the Peach Bowl in various capacities for 33 years, returns to her desk after a brief dinner break to find 99 phone messages in her voicemail box. When the automated voice informs her of this, she simply hangs up and walks away.

A plug for Tigernet and a glimpse at our great fan support. All in all, not a bad story.

PEACH NOTES: The official Clemson site has posted some notes about the upcoming matchup with Tennessee. Check 'em out.

BOWL CENTRAL: Fanblogs has a comprehensive list of links for all of the upcoming bowl games. Give it a look.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Tigers to face Tennessee in Peach Bowl

It's official. Tennessee has accepted an invitation to play Clemson in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 2. The Vols (10-2) were in consideration for a BCS slot.

I'll post more on this tomorrow after the media reaction has set in. Until then, check out the official Tennessee Web site, here's a Tennessee blog, and here's the Vols' rankings in various NCAA statistical categories.

I think this will be a heck of a matchup and a great game.


Saturday, December 06, 2003

Once again, who will Clemson face in the Peach Bowl?

Today's SEC championship game between Georgia and LSU will sort it all out, but it's looking more and more like it will be Tennessee.

The Volunteers are fighting that bowl assignment with everything they've got. (More here.)

Friday, December 05, 2003

Columnist says Clemson coulda been a contenda

Check this out. The Greenville News' Bart Wright, one of Tommy Bowden's most relentless critics during the football season, writes something he would have ripped Bowden to shreds for doing at a press conference: pointing out how a couple of breaks against Maryland or N.C. State would have given the Tigers wins in those games and propelled them into the BCS.

Check out what Wright wrote after Clemson lost to N.C. State. He basically blames Bowden for the loss and insinuates that he really doesn't care, though today's column says you could blame the players for that loss. And here's Wright after the loss to Maryland. Note this line:

With all that on the table, the Tigers, who haven't been able to locate a consistent identity for a few years now, underachieved once again in a 21-7 loss to Maryland that didn't feel as close as the scoreboard suggested.

And what did Wright write today about the Maryland game?

If you were there for the game Clemson lost at Maryland 21-7, you know it was a game full of couldas and shouldas, a game that was surely not a blowout.

The most generous thing I can say is that Wright is inconsistent in his analysis. I'll leave it to readers to come up with an alternative explanation.

Welcome to the bandwagon, Bart.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Peach Bowl opponent is up in the air

Who will the Tigers play? It looks like Clemson won't be facing Florida in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 2. The Gators accepted a bid to the Outback Bowl, which carries a bigger payout. Tennessee is being mentioned as a potential opponent, though the Vols could be playing in a BCS bowl because of their No. 7 national ranking. (More here.)

Everything will be sorted out after Saturday's SEC championship game between LSU and Georgia.

LOOKING BACK: Here's a story about Walter Merritt Riggs, the man who brought football to Clemson in 1896. (Riggs Field, where the soccer teams play, is named for him. It was the home of Clemson football in the early days.) It's an interesting read.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Bowden didn't seek more money in new contract

He just wanted to make sure he would be here to stay for a while. In light of the abuse that's been heaped on him by the fans and the media, I'd say that's pretty remarkable.

Though there's no pay increase, the contract Bowden signed shows a mutual commitment.

If either side terminates the contract with five, six or seven years remaining, the other is owed $4 million in semi-annual payments over six years. The amount owed drops to $3 million with four years left, $2.5 million at three years, $500,000 at two years, and whatever is due at one year or less.

Under Bowden�s previous buyout provision, he would have owed Clemson approximately $2 million had he left this year with four seasons remaining on his contract. Clemson would have been responsible for $750,000 if it had fired Bowden.

There's more coverage of the contract here, here and here.

Here are the details of the contract, a comparison of the deal with the one USC coach Lou Holtz just signed, and a timeline.

HAPPY ENDINGS: Columnist Ron Morris of The State says Bowden's contract extension marks the end of a wild rollercoaster ride for the coach.

HAPPY FEELINGS: The Greenville News chronicles the reaction of Clemson players and fans to Bowden's contract extension.

RECRUITING BOOST: The Anderson Independent-Mail makes an important point in this story: signing Bowden will help recruiting dramatically.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

(UPDATED at 2:41 p.m.)

Bowden gets three-year contract extension

Tommy Bowden, recently named ACC coach of the year for the second time in his five-year tenure (see below), has been given a three-year contract extension that will keep him at Clemson through 2010. The extension comes with a steep buyout clause.

That's great news. I'll post more on this tomorrow.

ACC COACH OF THE YEAR: Coach Tommy Bowden is the third Clemson coach to win the honor twice. (More here, here and here.) The voting was close.

Monday, December 01, 2003

(UPDATED at 5:31 p.m.)

Bowden named ACC coach of the year

Congratulations, coach. You've earned it after a tough, rollercoaster season. Here's to many more. I'll post more on this on Tuesday.

CONTRACTS AND BOWL GAMES: Negotiations are continuing between coach Tommy Bowden and athletic director Terry Don Phillips. No word on when a deal might be reached.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Tigers will most likely be playing Florida in the Peach Bowl. According to some commenters at Tigernet, posters on the Gator message boards feel we're a subpar opponent. Well, here's Clemson's history, and here's Florida's history. Granted, Florida has enjoyed tremendous success over the past decade, but historically, the programs are fairly comparable. And, as Kevin of Fanblogs pointed out in a comment to this post, Clemson handily defeated Florida State; the Gators just lost to the 'Noles.

RIVERS HONORED: As expected, N.C. State quarterback Phillip Rivers was named ACC Player of the Year.

ACC BOWL WATCH: Besides Clemson, Maryland will play West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, Virginia will play Pittsburgh in the Continental Tire Bowl, N.C. State will play Kansas in the Tangerine Bowl, and Georgia Tech will play in the Humanitarian Bowl. As league champs, FSU is in the BCS, and could end up in the Rose Bowl.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll resume regular posting next week. In the meantime, enjoy this essay by Andrew Sullivan on the meaning of Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:06 p.m.)

Bowden contract negotiations continue

Clemson is still working out the details of a contract extension for coach Tommy Bowden. (More here and here.) I hope they can sew this thing up quickly. It's time to move on and get ready for the Peach Bowl.

CONFIDENCE GAME: Clemson's players view the Peach Bowl as a chance to build for the future.

STRONG WORDS: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart takes Clemson fans to the woodshed for clamoring to fire Tommy Bowden. He makes some good points about the unreasonable expectations of a lot of the fan base, but he loses it by suggesting that a lot of Tiger fans are OK with cheating. All in all, though, I agree with his sentiments. And here, Barnhart says an Ole Miss-Clemson game would be interesting.

D'ANDREA STAYING PUT: Clemson associate athletic director Bill D'Andrea won't be pursuing the athletic director's job at East Carolina.

STEP INTO THE DEN: Jim Brown has updated his Tiger Den Web site with his personal take on the Clemson-South Carolina game. Check it out.

YEAR IN REVIEW: College Football News, which is not always a reliable source of information, nonetheless has a nice game-by-game rundown of Clemson's season. Give it a look.

STATS WATCH: We're still No. 2 in kickoff returns. We're also 17th in passing offense and 20th in pass defense. Charlie Whitehurst is 14th in the country in total offense.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:31 p.m.)

I go away for a few days, and the whole world changes

Wow! I thought we'd beat the Gamecocks, but I didn't know we'd destroy them. Coach Tommy Bowden is now a fan favorite, and he's currently in the process of negotiating a contract extension with athletic director Terry Don Phillips. (More here.) And, we are going to the Peach Bowl.

I'm very happy. We are set to have a great season next year. We've got 57 lettermen returning, the most in school history. Eighteen of those lettermen are starters, which, if it's not the most in school history, has got to be close. (And again, I think we can thank Bowden for that. He's been redshirting players since 1999.)

On a personal note, the trip to Dallas was great. Unfortunately, the Panthers lost, but we had a good time. All the Dallas fans we encountered were very friendly, and let me just say this: I love Shiner Bock (I'd never drank it before).

Texas Stadium is a bit schizophrenic. The concession areas are really crappy, reminiscent of the dying days of old Fulton County Stadium. But the seated area is really nice. There are literally no bad seats anywhere, and the semi-dome cut down a very cold wind that was blowing outside. The old stadium may not be around for long, though. The Cowboys want to move to a new state-of-the-art stadium in a few years.

We also took in a Dallas Mavericks game at the new American Airlines Center. What a space!

ALL-ACC PICKS: Here's one I'm just now catching up on. Clemson had four All-ACC performers: Leroy Hill on the first team, and Donnell Washington, Derrick Hamilton and Gregory Walker on the second team.

And quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was an honorable mention All-ACC pick, was named the league's offensive back of the week for his outstanding performance against South Carolina.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Tigernet has posted some video from the defeathering of the Gamecocks. Check it out.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:12 p.m.)

Bobby Bowden sticks up for son; paper says Tommy's staying

Florida State's coach says that Clemson is hurting recruiting by dragging their feet about Tommy Bowden's future. (More here.) And this story reminds us that Bowden will get a $25,000 bonus if he beats USC Saturday. It also features Bowden denying his lower lip was quivering during Tuesday's press conference.

Early Friday afternoon, Tigerpundit reader Jason alerted me to a story from the Jacksonville Times-Union stating that Bowden will be back for a sixth season...if he wants to come back. SID Tim Bourret and former Auburn coach Terry Bowden are quoted.

And if you love Tommy, you can let him know at this Web site.

UP AND RUNNING: The State takes a look at Clemson's big improvement in the rushing attack over the course of the season. The story includes a chart that marks the team's progress.

THE D IS DOING IT: The Anderson Independent-Mail examines Clemson's defense, which has not fallen apart in the late stages of the season.

DOMINATING DERRICK: The Greenville News has a couple of stories about receiver Derrick Hamilton. The first is a straight-ahead profile; the second examines how Hamilton was recruited.

ELLIOTT PROFILE: The AP has its version of the life story of receiver Tony Elliott. The Greenville News did their own version last month.

FACTUALLY CHALLENGED: Someone on the Tigernet message board has posted a column from Ron Green Jr. of the Charlotte Observer. It urges Clemson to retain Tommy Bowden, but it also bungles some simple facts. Plus, it's absolutely dripping with condescension, both toward Clemson and the state of South Carolina.

ALL DRESSED UP: The Greenville News looks at the Clemson-South Carolina game from the perspective of what folks will wear to the game.

WHAT A DEAL: The folks behind Bragging Rites, the documentary about the Clemson-USC football rivalry, have produced playing cards featuring the athletes who have graced the series over the past 100 years.

CU-USC MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights of the 1989 Clemson-South Carolina game, a 45-0 victory for the Tigers in Williams-Brice Stadium. Check it out.

SITE NEWS: I regret to inform my readers that I will be out of town this weekend, and this will probably be the Tigerpundit's last update until Tuesday. Me and three buddies are flying out to Dallas to see the Panthers play the Cowboys. It's shaping up to be a huge game, and it should be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I will be unable to blog about the South Carolina game.

Until then.......GOOOOOO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAT THE CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

(UPDATED at 6:47 p.m.)

Speculation about Bowden's future runs rampant

There was a remarkable moment at Tommy Bowden's weekly press conference on Tuesday. Responding to something like the 249th question about his job future in a half-hour, Bowden reacted emotionally. (You can see a video clip of it here.) That prompted a statement of support from athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

We all know Bowden has been under pressure to win for the past two seasons, but weren't a lot of those doubts put to rest two weeks ago after he scored one of the biggest victories in school history? I hate to blame the media, because I'm not one of those people who measures column inches to compare which team gets more coverage. But I listened to the entire press conference, and the tone was unrelenting.

Please, media and fans; give the man a break. We've got a solid chance for a nine-win season with the second-youngest team in the ACC. We've got 18 starters returning next season in an expanded league that will truly be among the nation's best.

Let's see what happens.

Here's the media coverage of Tuesday's incident: The State (here, here, here and here); The Anderson Independent-Mail (here and here); The Greenville News (here); the Associated Press (here).

Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel, everyone's favorite sports columnist, urges Clemson to hang on to Bowden. He writes this while still managing to denigrate Clemson's past football accomplishments (i.e. the Tigers' success from the late 1970s through the 1980s doesn't count because Charlie Pell and Danny Ford were "cheaters.") By that standard, one could revoke any clams to greatness of a great many sports programs that have gotten into trouble with the NCAA. And here's Caulton Tudor, who I believe writes for the Raleigh News and Observer, saying essentially the same thing.

ROTATING RUNNERS: The State examines Clemson's rotating running backs.

FIRED UP: Clemson's players are ready to play the Gamecocks. Well, that's good to know.

HAT TRICK: USC's Syvelle Newton explains why a hat-switching trick he pulled when he announced which college he would attend was really a tribute to former Clemson assistant Rick Stockstill.

BANGED-UP RECEIVERS: The Tigers will lack depth at the receiver position this week. Airese Currie and Kelvin Grant are doubtful.

TIGERDEN IS BACK: After a few technical difficulties, Jim Brown of the Tiger Den is up and running again. Check out his commentary on the Wake Forest loss and the Florida State win.

CU-USC MEMORIES: I'm a little late catching up with this, but the official Clemson site is posting video highlights of great Clemson performances in USC's Williams-Brice Stadium. Here's Part I, Part II and Part III.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Where will Clemson go bowling this year?

The Gator and the Peach look like the most likely candidates, according to this and this. Either one would be fine with me.

IT'S FOR THE FANS: Clemson's players say the rivalry game with USC is more important for the fans. A bowl game is what matters most to the guys who play every week.

BEATING LOU: Clemson's players are also looking forward to another triumph over coaching legend Lou Holtz. Speaking of Holtz, he says the CU-USC rivalry, uh, rivals any other he's been involved with.

CLEMSON VS. USC -- THE CAMPUSES: The State takes a look at what each campus has to offer in the way of scenic amenities. I think Clemson wins this one hands down.

Monday, November 17, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:03 p.m.)

We could keep the Gamecocks out of a bowl with win

Well, it's Chicken Kickin' Week, and for the second year in a row, a Clemson victory over South Carolina would keep the Gamecocks out of a bowl game.


In a similar vein, the Greenville News examines the importance of the game to both programs.

SHOW HIM THE MONEY: If Clemson wins Saturday against South Carolina, coach Tommy Bowden will get a $25,000 bonus for reaching the eight-win plateau.

COMPARE & CONTRAST: Clemson-South Carolina is similar to Auburn-Alabama, says Bowden.

COACH TALK: This AP story says the focus of this year's game is the coaches.

CU-USC NOTES: The voluminous pregame notes for the Clemson-South Carolina game have been released.

STATS WATCH: We're still No. 2 in kickoff returns. We're also 18th in passing offense. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is 14th in total offense.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

(UPDATED at 2:04 p.m.)

Clemson 40, Duke 7: We're no worse than third in the ACC

Clemson's big win assures that the Tigers will finish no worse than third in the league. That's a little better than most preseason predictions for this team, and it means we're still in contention for the Gator or Peach bowls.

On to the coverage of Saturday's game.

GAME STORIES: "Seniors inspire Tigers," says The State; "Tigers maul Duke, 40-7," says the Greenville News; "Clemson gets big win over Blue Devils," says the Anderson Independent-Mail.

THE STATS: Here's a complete statistical summary of the game.

OTHER STORIES: The Anderson Independent-Mail explains how the bowl picture is shaping up for Clemson. Short version: We need Maryland to lose at least once more in its final two games, which are against N.C. State and Wake Forest. (Virginia beating Georgia Tech would also help a little bit.)

Regarding the bowl scenario, a dedicated Tigernet poster has worked out all the scenarios for Clemson. Here goes:

Right now, this is what the race looks like:

1 Loss: FSU Done
2 Losses: MD vs. NC State, Wake
3 Losses: NC State vs. MD
3 Losses: GT vs. UVA
3 Losses: Clemson Done

With the remaining ACC games left of interest to Clemson, there are 8 possible scenarios. Some seem improbable, but they are all possible. Here they are...

SCENARIO 1: Clemson finishes tied with MD for 2nd
MD beats NC State
UVA beats GT
Wake beats MD

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: MD
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 2: Clemson finishes tied with NC State for 2nd
NC State beats MD
UVA beats GT
Wake beats MD

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: NC State
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 3: Clemson finishes tied with MD and NC State for 2nd
NC State beats MD
UVA beats GT
MD beats Wake

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: MD
3 Losses: NC State
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 4: Clemson finishes tied with MD and GT for 2nd
MD beats NC State
GT beats UVA
Wake beats MD

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: MD
3 Losses: GT
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 5: Clemson finishes tied with NC State and GT for 2nd
NC State beats MD
GT beats UVA
Wake beats MD

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: NC State
3 Losses: GT
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 6: Clemson finishes tied with MD, NC State, and GT for 2nd
NC State beats MD
GT beats UVA
MD beats Wake

1 Loss: FSU
3 Losses: MD
3 Losses: NC State
3 Losses: GT
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 7: Clemson finishes 3rd
MD beats NC State
UVA beats GT
MD beats Wake

1 Loss: FSU
2 Losses: MD
3 Losses: Clemson

SCENARIO 8: Clemson tied with GT for 3rd
MD beats NC State
GT beats UVA
MD beats Wake

1 Loss: FSU
2 Losses: MD
3 Losses: GT
3 Losses: Clemson

The Greenville News celebrates Clemson's great defensive effort against Duke. (There's also a notebook here.)

The State also praises Clemson's defensive effort, and offers up its usual post-game package; grading the keys to victory, the quarter-by-quarter highlights, a notebook, and the high five thingee.

The SID's office released some post-game notes after the win against Duke.

Finally, the Anderson Independent-Mail chronicles the fan reaction to Saturday's victory.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: It was tough, but Florida State held off N.C. State in overtime to claim the ACC title, the Seminoles' 11th league championship in 12 years. (Fanblogs has more.) Georgia Tech defeated North Carolina, and Connecticut whipped Wake Forest.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

(UPDATED at 5:41 p.m.)

Tigers pummel Duke, 40-7

That was a big win for Clemson. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst had a great day, as did receiver Derrick Hamilton, and the defense shut down Duke's powerful rushing attack.

And how about those purple jerseys with orange pants?

Next up: The Chickens, who put a real scare into Florida before losing.

I'll post more tomorrow. I'm going to enjoy tonight's win with the obligatory Bass Ale or three.

Go Tigers!!


We've gotta win today against Duke

I know, I know. We've gotta win ALL of our games. But our bowl hopes hinge on defeating Duke.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. There is no television. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Greenville News looks back at last year's Clemson-Duke game, as does quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. (There's also a game capsule.) The Anderson Independent-Mail wonders which Clemson team will show up today. The Durham Herald-Sun examines the long-term relationship between Tommy Bowden and Blue Devil interim coach Ted Roof.

The State has its usual pregame package, including the keys to victory, the top matchups, a look at how Clemson will stop Duke tailback Chris Douglas, and a Q&A with defensive tackle DeJuan Polk.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's a capsule look at today's other ACC games, and here's a preview story.

Friday, November 14, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:42 p.m.)

Hamilton endangers Clemson record book

Receiver Derrick Hamilton is on pace to break a lot of the school's offensive records. Not only that, but he amazes teammates and fans alike with his athleticism.

TED ROOF, TED ROOF, TED ROOF IS ON FIRE: I love this headline on a story about Ted Roof, Duke's interim head coach who has found a way to win. (More here.)

TIGER FRIENDS FOREVER: The official Clemson site has a nice story up about former Clemson players Chuck O'Brien and Stacy Long, who do a lot of work for cystic fibrosis. Give it a read.

ELLIOTT HONORED: Clemson receiver Tony Elliott is a candidate for Academic All-American honors. Congratulations, Tony.

COSTLY GOAL POSTS: The removal of the goal posts at Death Valley following Clemson's huge upset of Florida State cost the school $6,200.

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL: The official Clemson site has a profile of former Clemson linebacker Keith Adams, who is busting heads on special teams for the Philadelphia Eagles.

THE NOTEBOOK: From The Greenville News.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Well, we didn't get the help we needed from the Cavaliers Thursday night. Maryland defeated Virginia 27-17, so now we have to hope that N.C. State and Wake Forest can beat the Terps, and hope for FSU to beat N.C. State. Also, Georgia Tech needs to lose to UNC or Virginia. No matter what, we'll only be able to tie for second place.

Of course, all of this is based on the assumption that we beat Duke this week.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:32 p.m.)

For Tigers, Duke is eerily reminiscent of Wake Forest

The Blue Devils run a similar misdirection-type offense, and that has Clemson worried. Here's another reason I'm worried: 1989. We went down to Tallahassee and kicked FSU around the field, then lost to Duke two weeks later.

WHITEHURST MEMORIES: Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst looks back at his first start. It was last season against Duke.

BOWLS COME CALLING: The Gator and the Peach are interested in Clemson. Goodie.

NOTEBOOK: From the Greenville News.

HISTORY BOOK: The Greenville News' Dan Foster looks back at some of Clemson's greatest wins.

NOTRE DAME TO THE ACC? That's kooky talk. The ACC has already expanded to 12 teams; how would a 13-team league work? Would we pull in another team for a monster 14-team league? (I know. I spent most of the summer advocating a 16-team ACC. I now see the error of my ways.) The Irish should now do what they didn't do in 1999; join the Big Ten (actually 11) and make it a 12-team league.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:01 p.m.)

All eyes on Bowden in wake of FSU victory

Everybody's talking about Clemson coach Tommy Bowden today. Ron Morris of The State says Bowden now holds all the trump cards for any career decisions that may be made at the end of the season. Bart Wright of the Greenville News says the pummeling that Bowden has taken in the media from people like Bart Wright will help make him a better coach. No, really, that's the thrust of his column. This from a guy who just a couple of weeks ago was writing that Bowden didn't take his job seriously.

The Greenville News has another story about Bowden that says he's not sure last Saturday's huge win -- his biggest ever -- validates his career. And here's an AP story from Bowden's weekly press conference.

'USA TODAY' ON CLEMSON: Alert reader Jason turned me on to this piece from USA Today on Clemson's big win against Florida State.

NOTEBOOKS: The Greenville News; The State.

CU-DUKE MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights of the 1999 Clemson-Duke game, a 58-7 victory for the Tigers. Check 'em out.

MORE NOTES: Two days later, the SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for the Duke game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:26 p.m.)

Don't discount the Dookies, Clemson

I started saying that right after I saw that the Blue Devils had ripped Georgia Tech last Saturday, and there are a couple of stories out there that say the same thing. We're all excited about the big win over FSU, but this is NOT the time for a letdown. Then again, there really isn't a good time for a letdown, is there?

WHERE THE TIGERS MIGHT BOWL: The Gator or the Peach are looking likelier. And here's the breakdown:

How Clemson can secure a spot in the New Year�s Day bowl as the ACC�s No. 2 team:
-Clemson beats Duke on Saturday

-N.C. State loses one of its two remaining ACC games (vs. Florida State, Saturday; vs. Maryland, Nov. 22)

-Maryland loses two of its three remaining ACC games (vs. Virginia, Thursday; vs. N.C. State, Nov. 22; vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 29)

Note: Under this scenario, Clemson and N.C. State would be tied for second-place with a 5-3 ACC mark, possibly along with Georgia Tech or Virginia. Clemson would own tiebreakers against the Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers; ultimately, the selection committee has the upper hand � it can choose N.C. State even if the Wolfpack win one less conference game than the Tigers.

That's a little more concise than yesterday.

HAMILTON LEAVING? Receiver Derrick Hamilton is considering declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft after this season. God, I hope he reconsiders. He would be an important part of our offense next season.

HILLS HONORED: Clemson defensive players Tye Hill and Leroy Hill were among those named ACC players of the week.

NOTEBOOK TIME: From the Greenville News.

TERRY DON PHILLIPS SPEAKS: The Greenville News covers a speaking appearance by Clemson's athletic director.

REMEMBERING COOPER: Tigernet has a nice story about former Clemson receiver Gary Cooper, who was paralyzed in a tragic car accident several years ago.

DULY UNNOTED: For whatever reason, the voluminous pregame notes for the Duke game haven't been posted. Until they are, here are the post-game notes from the victory against FSU.

STOP SPREADIN' THOSE RUMORS AROUND: Frequent Tigerpundit commentor Jason has noticed a story that smells like a steaming pile of bullshit: A certain Richard Cirminiello writes the following in his "Quick Hits" column at College Football News:

Are we to believe that a single Clemson victory against Florida State miraculously makes Tommy Bowden a head football coach that should be retained? That somehow Florida State laying an egg washes Bowden�s string of mediocrity and seven-win seasons? Gimme a break. It was a great victory for the Tiger program, but many Clemson fans�and more important AD Terry Don Phillips�are still skeptical. Phillips has his eye on former Clemson coaching icon Danny Ford. The Clemson board voted 9-3 on Friday to can Bowden at season�s end. Whether Saturday�s win changes sentiment at the university remains to be seen.

WTF? How in the hell did he get his information? This guy doesn't even credit any "anonymous sources" for this blockbuster. He just kind of slips it in halfway through his collection of notes WITH ABSOLUTELY NO ATTRIBUTION AT ALL, and pretends it's a "fact." That's damn shoddy journalism. Thanks for pointing that out, Jason.

STATS WATCH: We've slipped to No. 2 in kickoff returns, but we're 20th in passing offense. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is 20th in the nation in total offense.

Monday, November 10, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:17 p.m.)

At Clemson, confidence is high, repeat, confidence is high

And why shouldn't it be after Saturday's huge win over No. 3 Florida State? Besides being the Tigers' first big win in many, many years, it also gives them a chance to finish second in the conference (they are already guaranteed no worse than a tie for third). Second place would mean a better bowl game, possibly the Gator or Peach. A Tigernet commenter has already worked out the scenarios we need, including the teams we need to pull for:

Right now here's what we have in the ACC:

1 Loss: FSU vs. NC State
2 Losses: MD vs. UVA, NC State, Wake
2 Losses: NC State vs. FSU, MD
3 Losses: GT vs. UNC, UVA
3 Losses: UVA vs. MD, GT
3 Losses: Clemson vs. Duke

Take it one weekend at a time. First let�s look at who can be put away (4 losses).

* Clemson must beat Duke to secure a 3-loss season and we�re done.
* If UNC can beat GT, GT goes to 4 losses and are out. If not, UVA needs to beat them the next week for them to be gone.
* For MD to be gone (4 losses), they have to loose 2 of 3 vs. UVA, NCS, and Wake. My guess is they stay at 2 or move to 3 losses on the season.
* For NC State to be gone, they need to go 0-2 vs. FSU and MD. So if FSU beats NCS, FSU stays at 1 loss and NCS goes to 3.
* This leaves UVA. I think we want UNC to beat GT and UVA to beat MD. If so, UVA goes to 4 losses, MD goes to 3, GT is out.

It�s confusing, so take it one week at a time. Recap:

Pull for Clemson to beat Duke (duh...we're done at 3)
Pull for UNC to beat GT (GT out)
Pull for UVA to beat MD (UVA stays at 3 losses, MD joins us at 3)
Pull for FSU to beat NCS (NCS joins us at 3 losses)

If these happened, it would look like this:

1 Loss: FSU done
3 Losses: MD vs. NC State, Wake
3 Losses: NC State vs. MD
3 Losses: UVA vs. GT
3 Losses: Clemson done
4 Losses: GT vs. UVA

If this is what it looks like next Sunday, then it goes:

Pull for MD to beat NCS (MD has another shot at a loss with Wake, NCS out)
Pull for GT to beat UVA (UVA out, GT already out)

That would make it look like this:

1 Loss: FSU done
3 Losses: MD vs. Wake
3 Losses: Clemson done
4 Losses: NC State done
4 Losses: UVA done
4 Losses: GT done

If this is what it looks like in two weeks, we pull for Wake to beat MD and we are sole 2nd place in the ACC!

Yeah, it�s a dream, but that�s the order to get there.

At least that�s what I think I think about the ACC race.

I think you're about right.

DOMINATING DEFENSE: The Greenville News takes a look at Clemson's outstanding defensive performance Saturday against Florida State.

RECRUITING BOOST: Clemson had nearly 100 potential signees in the house Saturday night, and many of them liked what they saw.

GAME BALL FOR BOWDEN: Clemson's players awarded the game ball to embattled coach Tommy Bowden after the win against FSU. That's a classy gesture.

CLEMSON/USC GAME TIME SET: The Nov. 22 contest will air on ESPN2, and it will kick off at 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

(UPDATED at 6:41 p.m.)

Clemson 26, Florida State 10: Who are these guys?

I still can't believe we defeated No. 3 Florida State a week after getting creamed by a Wake Forest team that lost to North Carolina yesterday. Obviously, it's a great win for the program and embattled coach Tommy Bowden, but what a schizophrenic team we are. At least we got a big win on national TV, as opposed to our usual routine of getting slaughtered.

Anyway, on to the coverage.

GAME STORIES: "Son knows best," says The State; "Tigers take down FSU," says the Greenville News; "FSU left son-burned," says the Miami Herald; "Down goes Dad," says the Tallahassee Democrat.

The Anderson Independent-Mail has nothing posted on the game, and it's almost noon on Sunday. Hmm.....

Ah, here we go. A game story, a column, a sidebar and a notebook.

THE STATS: Here's a complete statistical summary of the game.

OTHER STORIES: The State says this was a "must win" for the Tigers, and columnist Ron Morris says the victory saved Tommy Bowden's job -- for a week, anyway. The Greenville News writes about the great day quarterback Charlie Whitehurst had. And lookie: Bart Wright likes us again! (There's also a notebook.)

Columnist Bob Spear of The State interviews Ann Bowden, Tommy's mom and Bobby's wife. The State also has a notebook, grades the keys to victory, provides the quarter-by-quarter highlights, and posts that high five thingee.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: To paraphrase Robert E. Lee, God bless the Tar Heel boys. UNC's surprise victory over Wake Forest helps Clemson in the ACC standings. And thank you, Duke, for beating Georgia Tech. That helps us as well.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Clemson 26, Florida State 10: Biggest win in school history!

Holy cow. I can't believe we beat Florida State! It's the highest-ranked team the Tigers have ever defeated in football, and it's the first time we've beaten the Seminoles since a memorable smackdown we laid on them in 1989 in Tallahassee -- the year after the "puntrooskie" defeat in Death Valley. I'm busting. I'm absolutely busting. I'll post more on the game tomorrow. In the meantime, Bass Ale for everybody!!!!! GO TIGERS!!!


The Bowden Bowl is today -- yawn

It's hard for me to get excited about the game after last week's debacle. Sure, I want the Tigers to beat Florida State, but I don't see it happening.

Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN2. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Greenville News calls tonight's game a "gala spectacle." Huh? (Here's a game capsule.) Meanwhile, Greenville News columnist Bart Wright reminds fans that they shouldn't pin their hopes on a victory against Florida State, because Florida State is so much better than every team in the ACC.

The Anderson Independent-Mail says Clemson will have to shut down FSU's rushing attack, and also says the Tigers' chances to win aren't as bad as many think.

The State has its usual preview package, including the keys to victory, a look at how Clemson will try to stop Seminoles receiver Craphonso Thorpe, and a Q&A with Clemson fullback Clifford Harrell.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here are quick previews of the other ACC games Saturday.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Trickeration: It's a Bowden family tradition

There is a lot of coverage today of the trick plays which have been a hallmark of the Bowden Bowl since the first game in 1999. (Here's a list of the tricks Tommy Bowden has pulled on his dad.)

RECRUITING WOES: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a very good story on the top-notch recruits Clemson has lost to Florida State, and the impact that has had on the program.

DON'T YOU CARE? DON'T YOU EVEN CARE? The Augusta Chronicle looks at the declining enthusiasm for the Clemson football program in, of all places, the town of Clemson. And here's an AP story that looks ahead to the big game. There's also this story about how the Bowden Bowl ain't as fun as it used to be.

WELL RECEIVED: The Miami Herald says Florida State may have a hard time stopping Clemson's tall receiving corps. I hope they're right.

THANKS FOR SHARING: The State examines shared information among coaches.

McCLEON RULES: Former Clemson defensive back Dexter McCleon is having a great season in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The Bowden Bowl V: This year, a soap opera

The Anderson Independent-Mail has a nice rundown of why this year's Bowden Bowl may not be much fun for either side. In that same vein, former Auburn coach Terry Bowden says his brother Tommy should continue coaching at Clemson. And here's another story about athletic director Terry Don Phillips waiting until the end of the season before making a decision on Bowden's future.

And finally, here's a column from the Anderson Independent-Mail's Jon Brasier that essentially says it's time for Bowden to cut the excuses and produce in the last three games.

COMPARE & CONTRAST: The Rock Hill Herald's Gary McCann compares Tommy Bowden's record in his first years at Clemson with Frank Beamer's record during his first four years at Virginia Tech. Guess what? Bowden's doing a lot better.

FICKLE CLEMSON FANS: The Tallahassee Democrat's Randy Beard has a column about the often unreasonable demands of a vocal segment of Clemson fans.

THAT'S SPECIAL: One bright spot for Clemson's mediocre season has been improved play on special teams.

TURNING THE CORNER: The Greenville News examines the defensive challenges that will face Clemson cornerbacks Tye Hill and Justin Miller in Saturday's game. (More here.)

HAPPY WHERE HE'S AT: The State profiles Florida State linebacker Michael Boulware, one of many South Carolina natives who have chosen to play for the Seminoles.