Phillips Discusses Schedule In-Depth

In an exclusive interview with, Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips explained how the 2008 football schedule came about, while at the same time clearing up some myths and false perceptions.

The schedule, particularly the seven home games, isn't one that may generate a lot of excitement for fans, who are being asked to pay more than ever for their tickets. Interestingly enough, the 2008 football schedule looks quite different today than it did just a few short months ago.

Gone is a home game against Central Florida, which sports one of the best tailbacks in the country in Kevin Smith, and a road game at Louisiana Tech, which isn't the end of the Earth, but you can see it from there.

In their places are Alabama and S.C. State, respectively, which gives Clemson two Division I-AA opponents this year. The Tigers will open their home schedule against The Citadel on Sept. 6.

Clemson dropping Central Florida was a mutual agreement on both sides. Phillips wanted to drop the game so the Tigers could play Alabama, and Central Florida wanted to drop the game so it could have another home game in its brand new stadium.

It worked out perfectly for both sides, as Clemson will open the season against Alabama at 8 p.m., on Aug. 30, in the Georgia Dome. Each school will get a minimum of 33,000 tickets and Clemson will wear its home orange. The officials will be from the SEC, which was determined by a coin flip.

Clemson will include Alabama ticket information on its season ticket-IPTAY application. Qualified IPTAY Donors will receive the application in late March.

However, first and foremost, Phillips wants it absolutely clear that the last thing he wanted to do was have to schedule to lower division opponents and that the Alabama game and dropping Louisiana Tech were completely separate occurrences.

Phillips said it wasn't done to lighten the schedule on head coach Tommy Bowden's request.

"The thing with Louisiana Tech wasn't even part of the configuration," Phillips said. "That thing just dropped out of the sky. They called and said they would like to opt out of the contract because they had some opportunities that would help their program and asked if we would release them from the contract.

"Of course, that being an away game, we started thinking, heck, that really is a no-brainer. Let's go find a seventh (home) game.

Phillips was eager to get that seventh home game because it had just lost one so it could play the Crimson Tide two hours away on a neutral field. Regaining that lost revenue was very important.

However, Phillips admitted that the game against Alabama will be like an eighth home game from a revenue standpoint from the money the school will receive by those putting on the game.

But Phillips and his assistant Kyle Young ran into major problems in trying to find a team that was "comparable or better than" Louisiana Tech. …

"We got on the horn and Kyle Young worked his rear off making contact with a log of Division I-A schools, and getting leads and following up on leads, but we couldn't find a match," Phillips said. "We contacted every school out there. We put out the wide net. We went through the Division I-A Athletic Directors Clearinghouse.

"We talked to some schools, but they were looking for a home game, so that didn't do us any good. We tried every way we could to try and find a I-A school. We tried our very best and went through a lot of contortions to try and find another I-A school that would come in here."

In the end, Clemson had to settle with S.C. State, which was also looking to add a game. It wound up working for both parties as Clemson gets a home game and S.C. State doesn't have to travel far and will receive a hefty chunk of change for being a sacrificial lamb.

The Tigers will play S.C. State on Sept. 20, which gives them a less than stellar home schedule.

Of the seven home games, six are against teams that are either Division I-AA or finished the regular season with a 6-6 record or worst.

The home other games include South Carolina on Nov. 29, with the dates still to be determined against Duke, Maryland, N.C. State and Georgia Tech.

Alabama makes the seventh team on Clemson's schedule that either had no better than a 6-6 record or is a Division I-AA team.

Of that group, the Yellow Jackets are the only team to have a winning record this year.

But there are still some very interesting games, though nearly all of them are away from Memorial Stadium. Clemson travels to Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia and Boston College, though those dates have yet to be determined.

All four teams were in a bowl this season.

QUICK HITS: Phillips said he had all the newly proposed contracts for each football assistants sitting on his desk. He said Bowden made his recommendations on what each assistant should make.

Phillips also said he is in the process of giving his answer to Bowden on each of the assistants. He also said that Bowden is working under the agreement of the new contract even though it hasn't been signed yet and said that it just needs to be "formalized." Top Stories