Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Thursday to talk about No. 15 Clemson's upcoming bowl game with No. 22 Auburn.

Opening Comments
Chic-Fil-A Bowl President Gary Stokan: I'd like to talk about the bowl game itself, and out selection criteria. Why Clemson? Obviously being ranked top 15 in the BCS, second in the Atlantic Division. They won three of their last four and two of their three losses were to top 15 BCS bowl teams. It's always good to have a team playing well at the end of the season and a big win over your arch-rival South Carolina on the road. The Auburn matchup, two top defenses. Georgia players- there are 33 players from Georgia that are playing in this game. We have Harper, Davis and Kelly playing from the metro-Atlanta area. That makes for a unique opportunity. We are a sellout. We are also on one of the most viewed bowls in the country. Over the last three years our TV ratings is a five rating. We have two of the top six football broadcasts ever on ESPN. This game will be seen by over five million people.

Opening Comments
Bowden: Thank You Gary. We are excited about the Chic-Fil-A Bowl. When you look at the city of Atlanta, I don't think you can have a better marriage than the city of Atlanta and Chic-Fil-A Bowl. It's a first-class operation. Clemson University, our fan base, I think we bring that class to the city of Atlanta. We are very excited about the bowl and the image Chic-Fil-A represents.

Do you use the bowl practices as a chance to work out your younger players?
Bowden: I think the bowl stay is a little bit shorter now. It's a more condensed practice so we will practice the players we need to win the game. And that's the exposure. It's right around recruiting. That is important to be in a bowl of that stature. Your time frame with bowl activities is pretty restricted

Can you talk about the importance of winning this game and getting to 10 wins?
Bowden: When I talked to the team after the South Carolina game, it's one of the things we brought up. The potential for a 10-win season, if you want to jump on the radar, it's important. We've got the players returning regardless of whether we win or lose. So we'd like to win the game, go into next season highly ranked and then defend that position.

How does playing in a bowl game like this help your recruiting?
Bowden: I think we are very fortunate, not only to play, in what we think is a big-time bowl- the Chic-Fil-A bowl, it's also right in the middle of our recruiting base. So if you could pick a bowl for us to go to enhance our recruiting opportunities it would be this bowl. From the day the Chic-Fil-A Bowl picked us our name is in the paper. And this is the peak time in recruiting.

Can recruits come to bowl practices?
Bowden: I think they can watch but we can't talk to them. We'll make sure if the do come, it's under NCAA guidelines.

Can you talk about playing Auburn in this game?
Bowden: No. 1 there is going to be a tremendous passion of their fans and ours. Their fans our passionate and intense, like ours. That will elevate the intensity of this game. Auburn is a school much like Clemson. They've won a National Championship, we've won a National Championship. Ours is more recent. Tommy has done a great job recruiting there. They have a great tradition. If you can beat them, it elevates that stature of your program just a little bit.

What about personnel?
Bowden: They've got very good players across the board. Their defense is very good and is nationally ranked. Their quarterback is a three-year starter. Their receivers are good. They have a young offensive line but they are very talented. They have stability with the coaching and they have good players in a school with good tradition.

Can you talk about your relationship with Coach Tuberville
Bowden: I've never coached with him. But I've been on trips (NIKE) with him. When I went to Tulane we played Ole Miss and competed against each other recruiting. We haven't played each other. I know of him. I think it's professional but we've only coached against each other that one time. At the time I interviewed for the Ole Miss job he also interviewed. He's older I believe.

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