TDP: Bowl Possibilities Explained

CLEMSON – Without a lot of news coming out of Tuesday night's practice, it was a perfect opportunity to get some feedback from Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips concerning the future of the South Carolina game, a postseason bowl game and fan reaction to the Duke loss.

There has been some speculation of late that the annual meeting with the Gamecocks might be moved back a week in order to increase the game's chances of being televised nationally.

But after Jefferson-Pilot picked up this year's contest and gave it a noon start for a regional audience, the speculation increased twofold. And if Phillips had his way, the move would happen soon.

"This is a game that doesn't need to be played at 12 o'clock," Phillips said. "This is a game that I liked to see played in the afternoon or in primetime. I think the fact that we're just getting a regional telecast out of it doesn't give credence to the type of rivalry that it is and can be. That's why if you move it to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I'd believe you have an opportunity to be apart of the national inventory. And that would help the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry that's been around 102 years and begin to gain the respect that it deserves. … This is one of the most intense in America, but America really doesn't know about it."

Phillips said in order for something like this to happen, it would have to be approved by a slew of people at both schools and that he hasn't discussed the possibility with South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee any time recently.

"I think it's a great rivalry and I think it needs an opportunity to be showcased consistently on a national basis," Phillips said. "I think it will help both universities and I think it will help our state. I think it could do a lot of good things. …

"If you go outside the region, it's really not given the respect and credibility that it really deserves and that's why I would favor a Saturday game after Thanksgiving."

Phillips said he hasn't spoken to folks at ACC headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., to see what all the bowl scenarios are for the Tigers, assuming they win Saturday.

However, he said he plans to do so by the end of the week and that he should have a better understanding of Clemson's options.

But Phillips did say that if the bowl in Boise, Idaho, invited the football team to play, he said, "We would need to honor our commitment to the conference." Which means the Tigers would accept it because of the bowl's contract with the ACC.

He also stated that, "I think that would be conventional wisdom," that Georgia Tech would likely not play in Boise since it played there last year. That means Clemson's odds of making a return trip out West just increased.

Like Clemson fans everywhere, Phillips was shocked and unhappy with last Saturday's loss to Duke, which had not beaten a Division I-A opponent all season.

"We review our emails and read our letters (from fans) and we respond," he said. "But we all recognize that no one is happy with what happened at Duke, and Coach Bowden is certainly not happy with what happened at Duke, but it happens. Now it's up to us to look to the future and we've got a tremendous opportunity Saturday. …

"There are going to be games like what happened at Wake Forest (last year). There are going to be games like what happened at Duke. What you want to do is spread it real far in between those games. … Those type of games happen and it gets people very upset, and I understand. I respect our people and it's my responsibility to listen to our people. And I do. I have to respectfully disagree with some of the things they say, but some of the things they say you listen to."

Then there's possibility that Clemson could lose Saturday and finish with a 5-6 record after starting the season ranked No. 16 in the nation. It goes without saying that if it should happen, it would breed more disgruntlement from everybody.

"It would be very disappointing," he said. "That's not this program is about and it's not what we're here for."

Tigers football coach Tommy Bowden said wide receiver Kelvin Grant might have a diminished role because of the drop he had a Duke last week. The drops have been an issue for Grant all season. … Linebacker Leroy Hill practice Tuesday in a soft cast over the hand he injured in the late stages of the Duke game. The injury prevented him from being on the field when the Blue Devils scored the game-tying touchdown. …

Long snapper Geoff Rigsby might be replaced if his woes continue. He had some bad snaps against the Blue Devils, including one on a punt that turned into a fumble and was recovered by Duke inside the Clemson 20.

"A couple more in this game and we'll have to make a decision on Geoff Rigsby," Bowden said.

Bowden was asked if he thought the Gamecocks would try and use any defensive schemes that Duke employed last week. He said the Blue Devils might not be the only team they take ideas from and that the South Carolina's biggest problem might be trying to narrow down which plans to use because so many teams have been successful against the Tigers this year.

"They will take bits and pieces of people that have been successful (against us)," Bowden said. "The problem there is who they choose. They've got a lot of options. That's going to be their problem. Who do they pick?" Top Stories