Scouts from the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl were in attendance Saturday to watch the Tigers for the third consecutive game, and by all indications, Clemson headlines their current wish list.
Two things had to happen this weekend to put the Tigers in their current position. One, Clemson had to beat Duke, and two, N.C. State needed to lose to Florida State.
While the Tigers took care of business early in their game, Florida State needed double overtime to sneak past N.C. State, 50-44. The win guarantees FSU the ACC title, and also the first berth into the BCS.
The Seminoles' victory also sends the Wolfpack to a 4-3 record in the conference, with a road game at Maryland still on their schedule.
We've maintained all season long that Maryland appears to be the second best team in the conference behind Florida State, and they'll finally have the opportunity to prove that next weekend when Philip Rivers and company make the trip up to College Park.
Should Maryland win, the Tigers would be locked into third place in the conference, and a Peach Bowl berth with a 5-3 record in the ACC. However, even if N.C. State wins, the Peach Bowl will still have the option to pick between Clemson and N.C. State, who would both stand at 5-3.
And even with N.C. State edging the Tigers 17-15 earlier this season, from what we've been told, Clemson would still stand a good chance of securing the bowl bid.
Clemson is still technically eligible for the Gator Bowl. If N.C. State were to beat Maryland, then the Wolfpack and Tigers would be gauranteed to at least tie for second place in the conference at 5-3. The Gator Bowl would then have it's choice between those two teams.
Maryland has a game the following weekend with Wake Forest, and could also pull even with N.C. State and Clemson. Again, the Gator Bowl would then have it's choice of all three teams.
As confusing as that sounds, when the smoke all clears, Clemson appears to have the best chance at landing just a few miles down I-85 in Atlanta on January 2nd.
The Tigers played in the Peach bowl game four times in the 1990's including 1993, 96, 97, and 1999. The last time Clemson played in the Georgia Dome saw the Tigers lose a 17-7 contest to Mississippi State during Tommy Bowden's first year.
The Peach Bowl has always been a favorite of Clemson fans, and rightfully so. Atlanta is one of the most concentrated areas of Clemson alumni in the country, and it's only 140 miles from upstate South Carolina and a mere three hours from the Midlands.
Furthermore, the Peach Bowl is also a favorite of a majority of players. Of course, no one will really go on record with that statement, because most are just happy to have the opportunity to play in the post season.
"It doesn't matter to me where we play," said wide receiver Curtis Baham. "I'm just happy to have the chance to play another game this year. It could be anywhere and I'd be happy."
While nothing is written in stone just yet, Tiger fans may want to circle January 2nd on their calendars, because that looks like the probable postseason destination for the Clemson Tigers this season.
Peach Bowl Odds Looking Better and Better
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