It was learned Sunday evening that the Tigers will face Kentucky in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in Nashville. Game time is set for noon Central, and 1 p.m. Eastern at LP Field, which is home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
It's not what players, coaches or fans had in mind when Clemson was sitting 7-1 and ranked No. 10 in the nation, but things could be worse. There could be another return to Orlando to play against Purdue or a trip to Charlotte to play Navy or a trip 3,000 miles away to either Boise, Idaho, or San Francisco.
"Yes, you'd like to play the highest ranked opponent, but one from the SEC and one who's done pretty well, I think our players will be excited," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said Sunday night. "This is a new venture, a new area, a new location for them. I think they'll be excited about going to Nashville. It's one of the great cities in the South."
Bowden said once the team was eliminated from getting to the BCS that he never really thought much about where the team would play its bowl game because regardless of who the team did, it was beyond his control.
"The way these things have gone from a selection process, they've gotten so far removed from the coaches making the decisions that I haven't really thought about going (to Orlando) so many time or going here or going there," he said. "Location didn't make that much of a difference, or how many times we've been there or our fans had been there back-to-back."
Bowden said he's been to Nashville plenty of times and that he remembers it being an interesting city. He's right in that respect. Though Nashville is known for being the home of country music, it is a very cosmopolitan and cutting edge city, even far more so than Charlotte.
"I'm not a socialite, but I understand it's a pretty good entertainment city as far as fans and things to do," he said. "I know my wife and I are very excited about going. Players like to go where there's a lot of things to do and Nashville is surely a city that has those options."
That's another reason why he doesn't think getting the team motivated to play in the bowl will be that hard of a task.
"With only two seniors on defense, I don't think that'll be a problem," Bowden said. "I think these players still like the opportunity to win nine games. Not everybody has an opportunity to win nine games. We'd be one of them."
As far as the game is concerned, Bowden said he knows very little about Kentucky or head coach Rich Brooks. Bowden said he will meet with his two coordinators and start devising a game plan.
Taylor, Spiller Update
Bowden said he is under the impression that receiver Rendrick Taylor could be back for the bowl game. Taylor broke his arm against Wake Forest back in October. Tailback C.J. Spiller has an ankle sprain, but at this point is expected to play against Kentucky.
The Clemson ticket office will be taking ticket requests for the bowl game through Wednesday, Dec. 6th, from all football season ticket holders and IPTAY donors. The requests can be completed online or by calling 800-CLEMSON.
A limited number of club seats are available. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Dec. 9th.
Bowden Not Worried About Motivation
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