A Week To Remember…UVA Coming

With the images of the tragedy still very poignant and fresh on our minds, we took time this weekend to shut down our sports world to allow for a proper grieving period. While the tragedies left most putting the sports world in its proper perspective, the world of sports was never too far from the headlines this past week.

With the first reports coming out of New York on Tuesday, all of the major network's web sites began to slow down or crash. Cnn.com, msnbc.com, abcnews.com, and cbsnews.com all had major connection problems, leaving most to look elsewhere for their information.

Where did they look? You guessed it…message boards on sports web sites. Many gravitated back to their online communities and discussed updates and gave opinions in the very places where they normally discuss their favorite football team.

Major applause should be given to the sports sites that allowed their message boards to be overrun with breaking news from New York. In addition, major kudos should also be given for those who posted information from television updates to those at work that had only access to the Internet.

John Swofford and the Atlantic Coast Conference took the bulls by the horns and decided to cancel its games for the weekend of September 15. Those who made the tough decision to pull the plug (well before the NFL decided not to play) should be given a tremendous amount of credit. Playing college football this past Saturday would have been wrong, and the ACC and its members saw that earlier than anybody else on the college or professional level.

No such kudos go to the Southeastern Conference and Roy Kramer, who contemplated playing their games as late as Thursday morning. What changed the SEC's mind on playing we may never know. Maybe it was the National Football League, who Thursday decided to postpone its games this weekend. Whatever the reason for the change of heart, we may never know. But, it should have never come to that. The SEC could take a few notes on class from the ACC in this case.

High Schools from across the state played their games Friday, a National Day of Morning as decreed by President Bush. Greenville County decided late Friday morning that it would postpone its games until Saturday in recognition of the day of morning. High Schools could learn a little bit of dignity from the other major sporting entities and should not have played Friday or Saturday night.

Clemson University decided to hold a memorial at Clemson's Memorial Stadium at the time when the Tigers would have been kicking off against Duke. This was a very touching gesture that gave many the opportunity to remove themselves from their television sets and pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

Next week the sporting world will move forward and begin playing games again. While some did the right thing and cancelled games early, most sporting entities eventually did the respectful thing by postponing or canceling their events.

My "5 Things To Watch" for next week's game versus Virginia…some of which carried over from the list last week that would have been graded versus Duke:

#1-Some Emotion
For once it would be nice to see the team look like they are fired up to play. Thank the athletic department for questionable scheduling and the ACC for scheduling four home games in a row against inferior teams for the problem. With the week off, maybe the batteries were jump-started and Clemson will look excited about playing some football.

#2-Block, For Goodness Sakes
The Tiger offensive line has yet to dominate a defensive line this year. Pass protection has not been great at times, and that needs to change in a hurry. If offensive line blocking is as bad versus Virginia as it was versus Wofford, it could be a long day for the Tigers.

#3-Will They Come?
Instead of worrying about fickle fans who only come to big games in Clemson, I worry a little that some may not feel safe coming to Clemson for a nationally televised game. Clemson should put together a security plan and announce the plan at a news conference this week to help those who may feel a little fidgety.

#4-Make Groh Understand
New Virginia coach Al Groh said this past off season that playing to big crowds in the ACC is no big deal and certainly not as difficult as NFL stadiums. Most of us understand how wrong Groh is, and it will be fun to show him Saturday night in Clemson. Be ready to make some noise and cause a little confusion with Virginia's offense.

#5-Make The Tackles
Missed tackles were an embarrassment two weeks ago, and I would guess Reggie Herring will have the defense going through physical practices this week. Whatever they do, the tackling must improve drastically or Virginia could put a little spanking on the Tigers this Saturday.

Scott can be reached at weekendedition@cs.com

Scott is the host of "The College Football Weekend Preview" on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m. immediately falling Tiger Calls on WCCP 104.9 FM. The show can also be heard via the Internet at www.wccpfm.com.

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