Random Musings: A New Year's Edition

With a belly full of Christmas food, I sit down for a little Post-Christmas/Pre New Year's banter as we tick closer and closer to the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl this Friday. Need I remind you that the Tigers have the opportunity of a lifetime Friday afternoon in Atlanta?

* Including the Peach Bowl, Clemson has been underdogs in 9 of the 13 games played this year. The Tigers were only favorites going into the Furman, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina, and Duke games. With a win, Clemson can achieve 9 wins on the season. Has there ever been a team in college football that won 9 games in a season while being underdogs in all but 4 of the games?

* Charlie Whitehurst has only started 17 games at Clemson. Philip Rivers started 51 games at North Carolina State. Chuck Amato tells us every day what a great quarterback Rivers is and how much he deserved the Heisman this year. Statistically, however, Rivers is no better than Whitehurst. Over both of their careers, Rivers has a 63.5% completion percentage compared to Charlie's 60.8%. Rivers averaged 274.2 yards per game over his career compared to Charlie's 275.8. The scary thing is that Charlie is still relatively young compared to the experienced and now graduated Rivers. But don't let the numbers fool you; Philip Rivers is the greatest thing college football has ever had…at least according to Chucky.

* The on and off again drama of Cory Groover practicing or not practicing at the Peach Bowl leaves a lot of unanswered questions. The 5 or 6 practices that Groover will miss are not that big a deal. But the confusion surrounding it harkens dark memories of NCAA Clearinghouse issues that we have all come too familiar with. Is it that difficult to determine the eligibility of a student-athlete?

* I'm not one to automatically pull for the ACC in bowl games per se, but the conference is off to a very good start on the bowl season with N.C. State and Virginia getting wins.

* What in the world is going on in Columbia? Needing to hire 4 coaches to his staff, Lou Holtz has hung out in sunny Orlando while he has stumbled and bumbled his way to a coaching staff. He hires a coach that was in charge of the worst defense in the SEC last year at Mississippi State. He promotes a Graduate Assistant with no coaching experience. He hires a former Clemson recruiting coordinator that spent the better part of 14 years telling high school coaches and parents why their kids should not attend USC. And he hires the offensive line coach from Vanderbilt who 3 days later pulls a Bobby Cremins and returns to that bastion of football greatness in Nashville. The soap opera that is South Carolina football under Lou Holtz could not get any more strange…could it?

* There will be a whopping 41 days in between Clemson's last regular season home game against South Carolina and the Peach Bowl. Depending on when spring practices starts this year, the Tigers may only have 55-65 days off between the Peach Bowl and the start of spring practice.

* Airese Currie is now healthy, and that is a good thing for Clemson. Airese was Clemson's best receiver through the first 4 games before getting hurt at Maryland.

* Although my individual game predictions stunk at times this year, my preseason prediction of Clemson going 8-4 was dead on. In August, I picked Clemson to go 8-4 with losses to Maryland, Virginia, N.C. State, and South Carolina. Ok…so I missed on the South Carolina game by a few points…

* Despite Kevin Youngblood's omission from any post-season games such as the East/West game, Kevin will land on his feet in the NFL next year. Bank on it.

* Ever wonder how Eric Young is doing? Arguably the highest rated prospect out of the state of South Carolina last year, Young teased both instate schools before signing with Tennessee. Young redshirted this year and is not listed on Tennessee official depth chart for the Peach Bowl. Although the Volunteers graduate 4 offensive lineman this year (Michael Munoz is a junior and may enter the draft as well), there are still 10 returning offensive lineman on the team that ARE included on the Peach Bowl depth chart.

* Jon Solomon from The State newspaper had a great article about Tommy Bowden in the Sunday edition. Bowden spoke off the cuff at times with Solomon, something he rarely does. Here are a few of the most interesting quotes form the article and you can try to decipher them at your leisure.

  • On how close he was after the Wake Forest game to not being Clemson's coach in 2004…"One of these days I'll talk about it."

  • On how long he plans on coaching… "I plan on coaching for 5 or 6 more years. I might win enough and say that's enough."

  • On being carried off the field after the South Carolina game… "It would be very hard to describe that feeling. I went from the lowest low to the highest high."

  • On letting his emotions show at the Tuesday press conference before the South Carolina game… "I think I was put in an environment that I hadn't been in yet. I responded how I thought was best professionally."
* If you are planning on attending Fan Fest prior to the Peach Bowl at the Georgia World Congress Center, make sure you tear off the coupon on your Peach Bowl game ticket. Fan Fest costs $8 to attend, but there is a $3 off coupon attached to the game ticket you can use to knock your entry fee down to $5.

* A very early look at Atlanta weather for Thursday and Friday call for partly sunny skies with temperatures rising to the lower 60's.

* Stay tuned to CUTigers.com and WCCP 104.9 FM this week as we announce our Peach Bowl broadcast schedule. Tentative plans are to have a live remote on January 1st from 8-11 p.m. at one of the area's Jocks & Jill's. On game day, it looks like we will be broadcasting the Tiger Pregame Show from inside of Fan Fest from 9:00-1:30 (keep in mind that Fan Fest does not open for the public until 11:30. All the WCCP on air folks will be stopping by the pregame show at some point. The Tiger Tailgate Show with Don Munson and crew will broadcast from the same location as we do from 1:30-3:30. We'll give you more details as everything becomes official in the next day or two.

So there are some rambling thoughts on a myriad of topics. All my focus now shifts to the Chic-Fil-A Peach Bowl and breaking down the game. I'm looking forward to it, as I am sure you are as well.

Go Tigers!

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