The last time Clemson played in an Orlando bowl game, the Big 12 team it faced was coming off a 60-15 whipping the previous game. And then Texas Tech promptly went out and smoked the Tigers almost as bad.
This time, Colorado is coming off a 70-3 waxing and Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is doing all he can to make sure his players don't get look at that score and get lulled into a false sense of security.
"Four out of five divisional titles is pretty serious football, because that's a pretty good conference," Bowden said. "We've talked to our team about what Florida State did against Florida and what Florida State did against Virginia Tech. I think that's an excellent indication.
"There's enough recent games where teams have bounced back from significant losses to get my team's attention."
And should Bowden struggle to fully get his team's attention, he'll just remind them what it felt like throughout the entire spring with such a loss hanging over their heads.
"I've only heard Anthony Waters mention the embarrassment of the last game," Bowden said. "I imagine it will be discussed some, more between themselves because most of these guys didn't play that game. But there will be a little bit of discussion because it was the last game. It was a pretty depressing off-season because of that score."
Without putting too much emphasis on a mid-level bowl game, Bowden thinks a win would greatly benefit the Tigers in the future.
"I think there's no doubt that when you win your last one you carry extra momentum into the off-season as opposed to losing it," he said. "We've done both. But I think you do go in (spring practice) with a little bit more positive frame of mind as a player.
"For the underclassmen, you get to live for six or eight months in the top 20. For the seniors, you get to live it for the rest of your life and that's pretty significant. … There's plenty of incentive, not only for the underclassmen but for the seniors."
QUICK HITS: Bowden said he plans on calling recently fired Colorado coach Gary Barnett either Monday or Tuesday. … Other than placekicker Jad Dean's sore legs, there are no new injuries to report. … Bowden said the team that most resembles the Buffs from a defensive standpoint is Boston College. …
With the recent verbal commitment from another top recruit, Bowden said if everything stands pat that this is shaping up to be his best class.
"It's a combination of the T.V. games we've played the last couple of years, (beating) Tennessee, Florida State and Miami and that little $50 million project (to Memorial Stadium) shows we're pretty serious," he said. "I don't think it's a coincidence that our recruiting has elevated since we started that. I think that's a big factor."
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