Tigers Turn Attention to South Carolina

CLEMSON – For some fans, there's the belief that Clemson could go 1-11 and that it would still be a good season if the one win came against South Carolina. Tigers head football coach Tommy Bowden is determined to change that mindset.

To him, winning the Atlantic Division and ultimately the conference title is far more important than beating the Gamecocks.

"I'd rather win the ACC Championship than beat them, myself," Bowden said. "As long as I'd win 50 percent of them (against South Carolina) or close to it, I don't think (fans) would care, because winning the ACC means you've been in the BCS. If you're going to the BCS, then you're probably beating them 50 percent of the time."

Bowden was then reminded that he could lose the next five meetings and that he'd still have an even record against his rival.

"I meant 50-50 from now," he said. "(Fans) would forget those last ones real quick."

Bowden believes that all fans will eventually come around to his way of thinking. But he added there's one sure way to make it happen sooner rather than later.

"If you've got a chance to go to a BCS game, that's the objective," he said. "They would (understand) if we ever got to a BCS game.

"If I had my choice, I'd rather be 11-1 and playing in a New Year's Day bowl. A one-loss team still has a chance to play in the national championship."

Now, if the game were a conference game much like Alabama-Auburn or Michigan-Ohio State, then the game would have a greater meaning. Bowden would prefer that scenario, too, for an entirely different reason.

"I wish it was a conference game so I could get me another ‘W' with those Florida Atlantics or International," he said in reference to scheduling another easy game outside the conference.

Bowden was asked why he thinks he's had so much success against the Gamecocks and he really didn't have a true explanation.

"Sometimes it just gets in that cycle and you can't get out of it," he said. "It ain't going to stay like that forever. I wish it would, it'd make my job a lot easier. … My father lost six in a row to Florida. He then made the statement that, ‘Maybe I'm not the right guy for this job.' Then he got to winning again."

Quick Hits
Bowden refused to comment on his younger brother stepping down as offensive coordinator at Florida State. … Bowden said Tuesday's practice was very similar to what a normal Monday practice is like. Practice was focused in on all kicking phases and a lot of situational teams (goal line and short yardage). …

Bowden said the team is just in the "infant stages" of getting the game plan put together for South Carolina. … Brandon Cannon would have been listed as questionable for this week's game, but he is expected to be fine in time for South Carolina. …

He also expects the Gamecocks to have a higher level of intensity because it's been so long since they've won this game.

"It was like us going to Florida State and winning for the first time (since 1989)," Bowden said. "There was more intensity for us than there was for Florida State." …

Bowden was told that his team's win over Wake Forest could be all that stands in the way of the Demon Deacons playing for the national title.

"I didn't think about that," he said. "I'm glad I didn't think about it. I'd be even more sick than I am."

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