Monday Morning QB: Upset Alert?

CLEMSON - A 3-1 start to the regular season would be cause for celebration in some places. At Clemson, it very nearly incited a panic-driven riot amongst the fans.

But with one-third of the season now officially gone, and the Alabama loss getting further and further away in the rear-view mirror, the Tigers have built at least a bit of momentum heading into seven straight conference games.

The engine isn't roaring, by any stretch of the imagination. But at least it does more than just crank when the key is turned.

Saturday's 54-0 win over S.C. State was an example. The Tigers did nothing spectacular, and in fact after the quick first touchdown found themselves sputtering for a short time.

But once Tommy Bowden's team scored again, it was a steady parade of points that lasted throughout the afternoon at Death Valley.

Clemson did precisely what it should have done with a lesser opponent. Nothing more, nothing less.

And now the real fun begins.

Next up is a Maryland team that looks as if it has found the answer on offense, if the last two games are any indication. And it will be a much different look for Clemson to defend.

Alabama lined up in the I-Formation behind that big, physical offensive line and came straight at the Tigers. The Citadel, N.C. State and S.C. State all ran differing versions of the spread offense.

But Maryland, new offensive coordinator in tow, will run more of a West Coast style of offense. And their quarterback, Chris Turner, looks as if he's caught on rather quickly judging by the last two Terrapins' victories. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: Turner's father was the drummer in the 1980's hair band Ratt. Rock on!)

And they'll run that offense behind a big, physical and experienced offensive line, a line which also blocks for a nice running back tandem.

And look ... we all know the problems Maryland has given Clemson in the past. The 13-12 game at Death Valley two years ago stands as a sorry monument to the Tigers' inability to get that one important win each of the last three seasons.

So the challenge this week is much more daunting than it appeared two or three weeks ago.

A Clemson defensive front seven which has had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, and has shown a soft spot stopping the run in the middle, will have its hands full Saturday.

Say what you will about the struggles of the ACC again this year, but inside the conference stumbling blocks remain. And given the 180 Maryland has done in the last couple of weeks, it would be foolish to be thinking about Wake Forest or anyone else this week.

Because if you thought the fallout was bad after Alabama, it's easy to predict the level of meltdown we'd see if the Terps pull a repeat of 2006.

And that wouldn't do anyone any good. Top Stories