Rhymer's 5 Best Picks of 2003

Yesterday, I analyzed my 5 Worst picks of the 2003 football season. And as ugly as those picks were, I hopefully redeemed myself and my integrity with a few good picks as well! Today, we look back to the 2003 football season when I hit the nail on the head with my prognostication.

Best Pick #5-Clemson at Maryland
Rhymer's Prediction From October 2nd:
Ralph Friedgen has been borderline genius versus Clemson dating back to his days at Georgia Tech and following through to Maryland.

I feel confidant Clemson can win in College Park.

I feel it but I don't believe it….yet. I have been burnt too many times the last two years to get prematurely suckered into feeling great about this team.

Rhymer's Pick
Maryland 24 Clemson 14

Comments: Clemson had just whipped Georgia Tech in Atlanta and had a week off to play the Terrapins. Many thought the Tigers had turned that proverbial corner and were going to College Park to establish their presence among the ACC elite. It did not happen, mainly because Clemson could simply not make the big plays to win the game. But, more importantly, Ralph Friedgen is a mastermind against Clemson. And I saw it coming from a mile away!

Best Pick #4-North Carolina at Clemson
Rhymer's Prediction From October 23rd:
On paper, one could expect a pretty easy afternoon for Clemson. But, similar to last Thursday, games are not won on paper and North Carolina is more than good enough to win Saturday if Clemson lays an egg. While I don't think the Tar Heels will win Saturday, I would not be shocked if this game is still undecided well into the 4th quarter.

Clemson could sure use a big win to allow some of the younger players to get some playing time (especially Chansi).

However, I don't think we get that luxury Saturday…even though we win.

Rhymer's Prediction
Clemson 27 North Carolina 17

Comments: Unfortunately, my fear this game would be close turned out to be dead on. North Carolina ended up putting a huge scare in the Tigers. Only a fumble into the end zone saved the Tigers from the upset over the Tar Heels. This game ultimately would be an omen for a week later when Wake Forest ran the ball up and down the field on the Tigers. The Wake game forced the Tigers to make some serious adjustments in stopping the run, and in hindsight those cracks were exposed in Death Valley this afternoon.

Best Pick #3-North Carolina at Clemson
Rhymer's Prediction From October 9th:
This game is about seizing a moment at the exact right time, something that Clemson has not been able to do the past 2 years.

But, I also see some cracks in UVA that have not been there the past 2 years…mainly because they don't appear to have a consistent wide receiver. More importantly, they seem to make more mistakes than they have the past 2 years.

I don't expect another bad offensive performance Saturday, especially considering the conservative nature of the Virginia defense. We will pick slowly away at them, all the while gaining more and more confidence.

Our fortunes finally turn Saturday, as the kicking game and defense propels us to a much-needed win.

Rhymer's Pick
Clemson 19 Virginia 17

Comments: We were all down after the Maryland game, and rightfully so. Virginia came into Death Valley with the Tigers reeling just a little bit and on a 2 game winning streak against Clemson. Even though the fans felt like redemption was in order, the odds makers did not as the Cavaliers came in as a 4 point favorite. I really felt this game would come down to making big plays; and the Tiger defense stopping UVA on 3rd and 2 and Kevin Youngblood's reception in overtime were two of the biggest plays of the year.

Best Pick #2-Clemson vs. Tennessee
Rhymer's Prediction From December 31st:
Human nature would tell you that Clemson has more to gain and less to lose and will approach the game in that manner. How much of a difference that will make is yet to be seen.

The biggest concern I have is the layoff and the timing of the offense for the Tigers. We will know very early in the game whether it is a detriment or not.

If the Tigers play even close to the way they played down the stretch, we will have a win under our belts Friday night.

Rhymer's Prediction
Clemson 24 Tennessee 21

Comments: All the whining by Tennessee had settled down by the time this game kicked off in the Georgia Dome. All things equal, I really felt that if Clemson's timing was ok the Tigers would win the game despite being the underdog. And although the Tiger's timing was not as crisp as it was in the final three games leading up to the Peach Bowl, it was crisp enough for the Tigers to dominate the Volunteers for most of the game. This win was very fulfilling for the simple reason that Tennessee felt like they deserved better. Excuse me while I snicker under my breath!

Best Pick #1-Furman at Clemson
Rhymer's Prediction From September 4th:
The problem is, Furman is well coached and will come into Death Valley confident after watching the Tigers play Georgia. If the Paladins can catch a break or two early in the game and grab the lead, the doubts could overcome Clemson in a hurry.

I think the reality of the situation is Furman will play well and keep Clemson from coming away from the game feeling too good about ourselves.

Rhymer's Prediction
Clemson 26 Furman 10

Comments: I took a ton of grief in the preseason as well as the week of this game for insinuation that Furman was going to keep this game close. It was obvious to me. No matter what happened in the Clemson/Georgia game the week before, the Tigers were due a letdown and the Paladins are a good enough coached team to seize on that. And they did. This game was not as close as the score might have indicated, but it was not the blowout that you would expect against a Division I-AA team.

And I knew it all along!

So there is my redemption. 5 picks that were right on the money to offset my eggs I laid in the article published yesterday. As a part time prognosticator, all you can do is keep picking and sometime you will look like a genius and sometimes you look like a bozo!

CUTigers.com Top Stories