You Gotta Believe

Tonight's contest in Tallahassee might be one of the most important games played by the Clemson Tigers at any point in the last 5 years. If you want to prove you are the king of the neighborhood, you have to beat your rival in his backyard, and that's exactly the opportunity that awaits the Tigers tonight.

"Bowden Bowl IV."

It almost sounds like a clash of the titans doesn't it?

Unfortunately for the last 3 years, and even longer if you consider the Ken Hatfield and Tommy West eras, it's been anything but a highly contested rivalry.

Florida State has beaten Clemson by an average score of 42-2 in the last 5 games played in Doak-Campbell Stadium. The most recent venture for the Tigers into what should be known as the graveyard for ACC football was a 54-7 massacre just two years ago.

The mighty Noles rang up 771 yards of total offense in that contest, including 521 through the air. The Tigers entered the game ranked #10 in the country, but left with their tail between their legs as a potential record breaking season was crushed once again by the Seminoles.

This year, the oddsmakers have listed FSU as a 14-point favorite headed in tonight's 7:45 kickoff. A tough Thursday night loss to Louisville has some experts thinking that this might be the end to the Florida State dynasty.

You know what? Those experts are right- the dynasty is over. How many more losses to the likes of North Carolina, N.C. State, and even the mighty Louisville Cardinals do you need to see to believe it for yourself?

The Tigers matchup better with the Seminoles than any other team in the ACC, and that's why it's up to Clemson to make sure that the rest of the league knows who's ready to step up and claim the throne.

For the first time in almost 10 years, the Clemson defense will be worthy of the challenge that lies within the Sunshine State's capital city.

"We believe we can go in there and win, and we are anxious to show the rest of the country what Clemson football is all about," said linebacker John Leake. "To win the ACC, we have to beat Florida State, which means we have to win this week. I know we can do it."

Those sentiments have been echoed from almost every single player on the Tigers' roster at some point in the last 7 days. And after hearing it over and over again, you yourself start to believe that this could be the year the Tigers reclaim the ACC crown.

The excitement in the eyes of the players, the coaches, and the fans is unparalleled. For the first time in a long time, we all believe the Tigers can bring down the ACC's biggest bully. Now all they have to do is get out there and do it.

"The key for us is execution," said Willie Simmons. "We know now that it's up to us to make the big plays. If we go in there focused on the task at hand, ready to execute, we'll be fine."

Simmons quiet confidence can be summed up in one simply quote that has been used countless number of times by football teams everywhere.

"We believe," said Simmons.

That's right, the team believes they can win in Tallahassee. I believe they can win in Tallahassee, and you should believe they can win in Tallahassee because they can.

It's not going to be the Green Bay Packers out there Thursday night. It's Florida State, and the Tigers have the ability, the talent, and the skill to pull this one off.

You just gotta believe.

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