This is Florida State ... Right?

Why are so many fans are already focused on next weekend's game against South Carolina? This is the week Clemson faces off against Florida State ... right?

Are Clemson fans actually overlooking Saturday's game against Florida State?

As crazy as it sounds, many are.

Internet message boards and talk radio shows have been dominated this week with discussion of next week's match up between the Tigers and Gamecocks.

"Why isn't the game on network television?"

"Why is it a night game?"

"Why does South Carolina get all the pay per view revenue?"

"Will Clemson need to win the game to get into the postseason?"

It's there. Turn on the radio or computer and see for yourself. Questions surrounding the South Carolina game, which is to be played not this weekend, but next, have been fired out all week long.

At the same time, the nasty neighbor from the south, led by college football's all-time winningest head coach, Bobby Bowden, awaits to arrive in Death Valley Saturday afternoon ready to deliver the knockout punch to Clemson's 2005 season.

In case you don't remember, this is Florida State.

The same team that has beaten Clemson 15 of the 18 times these two teams have squared off. The same team that pulled off the punt-rooskie play that broke the back of one of the most talented teams in Clemson history in 1988. The same team has won several close games in Death Valley in recent years, including 1999, when the eventual National Champion Seminoles squeaked by Clemson 17-14 in the very first Bowden Bowl.

And you, the average Clemson fan, are wondering about next weekend's game in Columbia?


Next weekend will get here soon enough.

This weekend, it's Clemson - Florida State. It's father vs. son. It's a chance to turn what appears to be an average season on paper, to an above average season by the end of the year.

Beating Florida State should be the focus of everyone involved with Clemson football, including the fans.

Of course the good news is, the players don't seem to be caught up in the same hype.

"I don't think one's any more important than the other one," said Clemson QB Charlie Whitehurst. "I think they're both as important as they can be, and from a motivation standpoint, we're going to be just as motivated for both of them.

"But everybody on this team, right now, is thinking about Florida State."

Maybe it takes the first sounds of Florida State's "warchant" Saturday afternoon in Death Valley to help you realize who's coming to town. Maybe it takes a long pass completion against the Clemson defense to make you realize the Tigers have to execute better than they have all season long to win this game.

Don't be fooled. Don't be tricked into looking ahead to next week.

Believe it or not, South Carolina is still South Carolina, Florida State is still Florida State, and Clemson needs to win both of these games to turn this year into a successful season.

That can't happen unless the Seminoles walk out of Death Valley Saturday with a loss.

It's time to turn the attention where it belongs, on this weekend's game.

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