Something to Play For

CLEMSON — Believe it or not, as bad as things have gone this season, the Clemson Tigers still have something to play for.

"This has been a very discouraging season for me, and probably for a lot of other players on this team," Clemson running back James Davis said Monday. "I have never been in a situation like this where I'm looking at not going to a bowl game. I know a lot of our goals are out the window, almost every goal is out the window, but me personally I would love to go to a bowl game to end my season."

And that's the reality of where the 2008 season is as the Tigers prep for this Saturday's game at Boston College.

After entering the year as a preseason favorite to win the ACC and as a possible national title contender, Clemson (3-4, 1-3) heads to Chestnut Hill, Mass., still trying to find itself, while wondering what went wrong and what might have caused the Oct. 13 resignation of its head coach, Tommy Bowden.

"This is where we are at and this is reality," tight end Michael Palmer said. "There is nothing we can do about that anymore."

To qualify for a bowl game the Tigers must win four of their final five regular season games. That's not an easy task considering they still have visits to No. 16 Florida State and Coastal Division leader Virginia left when they leave Chestnut Hill Saturday. Clemson also still has to host an improved Duke squad and of course there is the annual end of the year grudge match with archrival South Carolina.

"I know that is going to be tough just looking at these last couple of games," Davis said. "Everyone is playing well. I think we definitely have to do everything it takes to win these games."

It is definitely going to be tough considering the Tigers' five remaining opponents have a combined record of 25-12 (.676), and is either playing for conference supremacy or is positioning to become bowl eligible themselves.

"You want to go to a bowl, and obviously, we are not going to go to a bowl that we wanted to, but there is still a lot on the table and with the ACC looking like it is now we have to win four games to be eligible," center Thomas Austin said. "There are going to be a lot of teams fighting for those six or seven slots or whatever."

To be one of those teams, Austin says the Tigers are going to have to play for one another.

"We know we play for each other ultimately, we play for these coaches and we play for this university," the redshirt junior said. "Our job is to play football, whether we are winning games or losing games."

And that's reality.

"We know exactly what we have to do," Davis said. "You have to invest the time, and leaders have to step up and bring young guys in. You have to have your young guys win for the seniors."

If not, then the Tigers will have nothing else left to play for, except maybe pride.

"It's not going the way we wanted it to go, but for myself and my own pride, I'm not giving up and I don't think anyone on this team is giving up," Palmer said. Top Stories