Don't believe the hype

CLEMSON - It's something that some of the upperclassmen on the team admit could have been a factor in previous seasons. Judging by the results, they are probably right.

Nationally televised ESPN night game or not, C.J. Spiller doesn't care when he plays, or if it's on television.

"We could play at 8 o'clock in the morning if we want to…if we weren't playing on TV, I wouldn't have a let down," he said. "I'd still go out there and play hard."

Last Thursday, Spiller told Coach Dabo Swinney he'd be available to play that Saturday against Coastal Carolina. Fortunately, for Spiller and his ailing toe, he wasn't needed for more than the five carries for 27 yards and a touchdown he had.

His quick work last Saturday has left him feeling much the way he did after the bye week.

Spiller must have a huge day against Florida State if he's to keep his name in running for the Heisman Trophy.

If the numbers come, the favorable result is likely to follow. Spiller just looks forward to what's shaping up to be the biggest game in Death Valley in two years.

He said Clemson fans have been waiting for a game like this: at night, in Death Valley, on national television.

"Now, they've got one. The guys--we're excited to be playing on national television at night," Spiller said. "But, at the same time, we've got to have a great week of preparation.

"The main thing we can't do is get caught up in the hype."

Heading into the Boston College game in 2007, Spiller admitted the Tigers were considering themselves shoes-ins for the ACC Championship game.

"We still had a chance to win that game, but I think this team is different. We're focused on Florida State," he said. "This is the biggest game of the year. After this game, we'll go from there."

Thomas Austin agreed the Boston College game has a similar kind of scenario as Saturday's Florida State game.

What he admitted could be the biggest game of his Clemson career, Austin maintains that he and his teammates can't get "too wrapped up in the excitement of the game. As much hype that surrounds it, he echoed the sentiment that Swinney has been harping on all week--the most excited team won't necessarily come out the winner.

Like Spiller, Austin said they can't get caught up in the hype.

"There's a lot of excitement and build up that goes into it, but once the ball is snapped, that kind of all goes out the window," Austin said.

If Clemson improves to 6-3 overall (4-2 in ACC), the Tigers will be in the driver's seat on the road to Tampa Bay.

"It's almost bitter-sweet as a fifth-year senior, coming down to the last couple of games," Austin said. "Florida State is definitely the most important. Winning this game sets us up to accomplish the goals we want to accomplish."

Of the five goals Clemson set this year, the Tigers have accomplished the first: winning the opener. Up next is winning the division. A win Saturday night makes that goal much more realistic.

Tied at 3-2 with Boston College for the Atlantic Division lead, Clemson owns the tie-breaker because of the Tigers' 25-7 win in the head-to-head matchup.

Florida State and Wake Forest are tied for third with a 2-3 record. Clemson owns the tie breaker against Wake Forest after beating the Demon Deacons 38-3. Maryland is fifth at 1-3 with N.C. State brining up the rear at 0-4.

With a win over the Seminoles Saturday combined with one more loss from Boston College, (the Eagles are off this week before travelling to Virginia next weekend) the Atlantic Division is essentially Clemson's for the taking.

But remember, don't get too far ahead of yourself.

After all, it's been that same thinking that's gotten the Tigers in trouble in previous years. Top Stories