National Champions

National Champions

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Thoughts Following Loss In Atlanta

Sunday Thoughts Following Loss In Atlanta
Scott Rhymer

I have a long standing tradition of not posting much on the Internet for at least 24 hours after we lose a game. Fortunatly, I have not had to implement that policy this year until today. The Tigers fell (again) in Atlanta to an inspired Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket football team on Saturday night.

Thoughts of the BCS National Championship game can now be put to rest, but the Tigers still have control of our destiny in the drive to Charlotte. A win over Wake Forest in two weeks will wrap up the Atlantic Division crown, and the Tigers would be able to flip their focus to winning a State Championship and an ACC Championship in back to back weeks after Thanksgiving.

So instead of putting my thoughts down today I will simply update the picks from the Tiger Pregame Show and avoid talking too much about the game until after I give it some time to soak.

That being said, I thought Bart Wright said it well in the Greenville News this morning. A line from his article reads: "What happens in the next three games may tell us more about this team than the first nine games all added together".

Agree. It is time to win an ACC Championship and that is still very much in reach.

Picks Update

Below is an update of our weekly picks from the Tiger Pregame Show.

Will's ACC Lock Of The Week was Wake Forest covering the 6.5 points against UNC and that did not happen as the Tar Heels rolled. Will is now 5-4 on the year in his lock of the week.

Scott's ACC Lock Of The Week was Georgia over Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The Bulldogs shrug off a slow start and got me another win, which moves me to 7-2 on the season in my lock of the week.

The Clemson/Georgia Tech picks were:
Will picked Clemson 30-24, which is a differential of 20 points.
Scott picked Clemson 35-28, which is a differential of 21 points.

Roy picked Clemson 52-31, which is a differential of 35 points.

Will Vandervort had the closest pick of the week and now moves even with Roy Philpott on the year in wins. The yearly tally is now Roy with 4 wins, Will with 4 wins, and Scott with 1 win. As you can see in the differential standings below, however, any one of us could still win the picks contest. After holding the lead since the beginning of the year, Roy slips to last place after the Georgia Tech picks. Yearly Differential Standings After Week 9:

Scott (-202 points)
Will (-205 points)
Roy (-212 points)


Will won the Bottom Line Segment this week against Roy Philpott by a score of 3-1. Roy now leads the Bottom Line Segment 5 games to 4 over Will.

Broadcast time it two weeks is yet to be determined because the game time has not been announced. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

5 Questions And Broadcasting Info For Weekend

5 Questions And Broadcasting Info For Weekend
Scott Rhymer


Before we get to my 5 questions, an update on broadcasting information for today. I will join Mark Sturgis for the Weekend College Football Kickoff Show on Thursday night from 7-9 on WCCP 104.9 FM. We will be broadcasting live from Smoke On The Water in downtown Greenville, so come by and see us.

I will also be on Mickey Plyler’s Show on Friday morning at 6:20 a.m. as I usually am to break down last week’s win over UNC as well as look forward to the Georgia Tech game. You can listen on 104.9 FM or www.wccpfm.com.

5 Questions I Don’t Have An Answer To:
1. How many post-season watch lists are there? Every time I log onto my computer I see one of our players or coaches on some watch list. My inbox is blown up daily from Tim Bourret and his staff that is in charge of forwarding all of this info to the media. Don’t get me wrong, I like the recognition our team and players are getting, but at some point this watch list thing has got to end. Ridiculous is the only word that comes to mind when I see the quantity of post-season awards and watch lists that exists.


2. Did I miss something with Heather Dinich from ESPN? Every time I turn around I see her linked to jokes/posts about Clemson. I admit that it is very possible that I missed something with her because I don’t read ESPN blogs on a regular basis. But after seeing multiple posts and comments about her on the Internet, I went back and read a few of her blogs. And, unless I am missing something, I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

3. Why do WYFF and WSPA insist on using the same highlights all week during their sports segments? Let me get this straight: WYFF and WSPA have a camera person cover the game on Saturday. They then have a sports segment in the mornings and evenings from Monday-Friday. So why can’t they shoot and air five different highlights with their camera…one for each day? As it stands, I have seen the DeAndre Hopkins touchdown 42 times between the two stations this week. The video editors are either lazy, incompetent, or both. Thank goodness for Youtube for the fact that I can watch highlights of previous Clemson games at any time.

4. How many Clemson fans will be inside Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night? There are rumblings that Clemson fans are eating up tickets that are offered online through various ticket brokers. Clemson always sells a bunch of tickets for this game in Atlanta. Add to that the tickets that have been picked up through various outlets and it equals a bunch of orange in Atlanta Saturday night. Is 20,000 Tigers fans in ATL on Saturday possible? That may be a stretch, but with 55,000 seating capacity at Bobby Dodd if Clemson can surpass 15,000 fans in attendance, it would equate to over 30% of the total number in attendance.

5. Is Kevin Steele starting to like his position as Defensive Coordinator at Clemson with a high powered offense on the other side of the ball? All the talk in the spring in regards to Clemson’s defense was the fact that Steele was not really happy about the thought of the extra number of snaps his defense would have to play with Chad Morris’ new fast paced offense. Steele is a perfectionist, but his mood has seemed to shift a bit over the past few weeks. He knows he has a young defense that at particular positions is not very talented. But, unlike last year, Steele knows he does not have to keep his opponents under 14 points to give Clemson a chance to win the game. The margin of error is much larger for Steele this year, and I think he is beginning to like that role. If and when he can dial up some great defensive performances, this Clemson team is going to explode even more than it has to this point.

One other thought that I did not know where to put in the blog today…so I’ll put it here. Last week on air I said that I could feel the mood of the college football landscape and we were in store for at least 2 major upsets that would shake the BCS standings. As you now know, my gut feeling was correct as Wisconsin and Oklahoma fell.

My gut is telling me that one more will fall this week (and I hope it is not Clemson!). One of these three teams are going to go down Saturday if my hunch is correct (Clemson, Oklahoma State, or Stanford).

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Broadcast time this Saturday from Bobby Dodd Stadium will be from 2:00-5:00 p.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone. You can get a link to these Apps at www.wccpfm.com.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Commentary-Thin Air Better Than Sucking Wind

Thin Air Better Than Sucking Wind
By Scott Rhymer


This summer, my wife and I had the awesome opportunity to travel Europe; visiting Belgium, France, Germany, and Austria. I won’t bore you with the details of the trip, only to say that every one of you should find a way to make that kind of trip in your lifetime.

During our trip, we traveled through southern Germany and crossed into Austria for a visit to the Zugspitz. The Zugspitz is the highest point in Germany and can be accessed from the German side of the Alps or the Austrian side. We elected the Austrian side, riding a gondola that propelled us 2,960 meters to the summit in less than seven minutes in what can best be described as a harrowing experience.

When we arrived at the top, we were in a different world. Even though this was mid July, four inches of fresh snow was on the ground and temperatures were in the mid 30’s. The meaning of a cold day in July was no longer a cliché. In addition to the snow, the air was so thin that as we walked up steps to the various viewing decks, it literally took our breath away.

We were in rarified air, and getting to it was, at times, a harrowing experience that brought us into a different world.

But the view was beyond spectacular and pictures cannot do any justice to what we saw. All the quirks of getting to that peak were well worth the view and we both would not trade the experience for anything.

Just three months later, my beloved Clemson Tigers are in rarified air as well. The ride to this point has been harrowing at times; including two lackluster non-conference wins to start the season, a 21-7 deficit to Auburn, a defensive stand with a tentative 5 point lead vs. FSU, a temporary injury to a Heisman worthy QB, and an 18 point deficit (twice) at College Park. But the ride to this point, as harrowing as it was, offers us a different view of the world at the top of the BCS summit where the air is tough to breath but the view is spectacular.

Some of you are starting to get a little nervous, worrying that the reality of being in such rarified air leads to the possibility that the fall will be that much more difficult to swallow. Some of you dread the moment when this view ends, ignoring the view that is right there before you while we have it. And some of you, deep down, enjoyed the safety of the view from the base of the mountain more than this sometimes scary alternative at the top.

Let’s begin with the facts. Clemson, at some point, will lose another football game. I hope that the loss is not for another 10 years, but the reality is that it will be much sooner. When the day comes that Clemson loses a football game, it is going to hurt. It is going to be a restless night of off and on sleep. And it is going to make your stomach hurt like somebody sucker-punched you without warning.

When that happens, some of you will run straight to a computer and start posting about how this coach or that player blew it for us. And some of you are going to say that you saw this coming and, therefore, never got your hopes up. Some of you, even though this is a great view, refuse to ride this gondola to the top of the mountain because you are afraid of the inevitable fall and all the pain and hurt that comes with it.

We, as Clemson fans, have been so conditioned to mediocrity that there are those of us that prefer the role we played last year and the role we have played for almost 20 years without an ACC Title or for 30 years since we won our only National Title. The role of the chaser instead of the chased. The role of underdog instead of favorite. The role of standing safely at the bottom of the mountain instead of enjoying the view from the top.

Others college football teams take on that role of mediocrity in 2011. Some blogger, fan, coach or player for the Florida State Seminoles is today working through the mathematical calculations of how FSU can still get to Charlotte to play for an ACC Title. Regardless of the overwhelming evidence against such a run, there is indeed someone out there that publically believes it possible and is articulating that scenario as I type this. The same thing is going on in Raleigh. It’s also happening in Miami, Atlanta, Winston Salem, and Chapel Hill.

Don’t laugh. We have been there and done that. I have done similar calculations and writings in the past so I know exactly what is going through the minds of those folks.

But those desperate calculations are not going on in Clemson this year. In Clemson, we are on top of the Zugspitz without worry about what mathematical calculation can get us to Charlotte. That path is very clear. And regardless of what the talking heads say on ESPN, the path will also clear up on the way to the National Championship game over the next few weeks.

We stand today in rarified air while many of those that have slapped us around for 20 years shuffle around at the base of the mountain scrambling for relevance amongst a muck of football teams with more questions than answers. And that, my good Clemson friends, is a wonderful feeling to not be with that group.

Don’t let this reality of success be a noose that seems to tighten around your neck with every win. It is time, right now, to enjoy this ride and this view without biting your fingernails at the prospect that every win means a harder fall when the first loss comes. If you choose to take that route, you will not enjoy this view while we have it. And, as you all know, this view is not guaranteed every single year or even every single decade here at Clemson.

I wish I knew how this football season will play out. When I rode the gondola in Austria I felt pretty sure that I would be safe and the view would be great at the top of the Zugspitz. As Clemson fans, we don’t have the luxury of knowing if a disaster is lurking just around the corner in Atlanta, Clemson, Raleigh, Columbia, or Charlotte. Wisconsin and Oklahoma found their disaster last week. Another team in the BCS Top 10 will find their disaster out this week, and the next, and the next. That is what makes college football great…and horrific…all at the same time.

But having been on both sides of this table, there is no question that the reward of a season like we have right now is worth the risk of seeing it all disappear in front of our eyes. I have been this year’s FSU or NC State or Miami for too many times in the past 20 years.

Trying to work out some wacky logarithm to figure out how I could make our football season relevant in late October is like sucking wind from the exhaust pipe of a diesel car.

Sucking that wind, as nasty and distasteful as it was at first, became not so distressing the more we did it. It became our norm. It became tolerable. And some Clemson fans simply are having a hard time accepting the fact that we do not have to forever suck that wind.

The thin air at the top, as hard as it is to breath and with all the risks that accompany it, is a much more enjoyable reality. That nervousness you feel is not really nervousness at all. It is a bit of satisfaction mixed with exhilaration and a tinge of hope for what could be. Enjoy it.

Thin air is, and will always be, better than sucking wind.

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Broadcast time next week from Bobby Dodd Stadium will be from 2:00-5:00 p.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone. You can get a link to these Apps at www.wccpfm.com.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random Thoughts On Press Confererence Day

Random Thoughts On Press Conference Day
Scott Rhymer

Here are some Random Thoughts as we begin to peek forward to the Georgia Tech game in Atlanta.

Clemson always brings a bunch of fans to Atlanta when the Tigers play Georgia Tech. But with Clemson’s season having gone the way it has, I would not be surprised to see upwards of 15,000 Clemson fans inside of Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night. Keep in mind that Bobby Dodd’s capacity is 55,000, so if 15,000 Clemson fans get inside the stadium, Tiger fans will make up almost 30% of the crowd.

This does not directly impact Clemson, but I am interested to see if The State Columnist Ron Morris attends Steve Spurrier's Press Conference in Columbia today. Morris was shunned two weeks ago by Spurrier and then attended the Clemson Press Conference last week. Evidently, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides has stepped in and told Spurrier he needs to tone down the rhetoric against Morris and allow him at the Press Conference. Stay tuned.

I am also interested in seeing Kevin Steele’s demeanor today at the Press Conference. This is Steele’s element. A defense that is under the gun against an offense this Saturday that is wacky to say the least. The worst outing Clemson had under Steele against Paul Johnson was in the 2009 ACC Championship Game in Tampa. Otherwise, Clemson has held their own against the Georgia Tech offense. I believe this defense will be prepared and hungry on Saturday night.

Clemson has covered the spread in every game this season. That is an incredible stat and an absolute 180 degree change from the Tommy Bowden years.

Andre Ellington has an ankle injury and will be limited in practice this week. Hopefully, Ellington will be healthy on Saturday and can carry the bulk of the load against the Yellow Jackets. If not, DJ Howard seems the best fit to get the bulk of the carries because of his ability to hold on to the football as well as shed tackles. While I would love to see more of Mike Bellamy, his inability to hold onto the football is something that outweighs his big play potential at this point.

Clemson now leads the ACC in scoring (overtaking Georgia Tech this week for the first time). The Tigers are averaging 40.6 points per game. Simply for reference, Clemson was averaging 21 points per game at this point last year. See additional offensive rankings in the ACC below:

Total Offense-1st (482.5 yards per game)
Rushing Offense-4th (178.9 yards per game)…GT, VT, and UVA are ahead of Clemson.
Passing Offense-2nd (303.6 yards per game)….FSU is 1st.

Clemson is now tied for 6th in the ACC in Scoring Defense (25 points per game). Clemson is 7th in total defense, 4th in rushing defense, and 5th in passing defense.

Clemson is tied with NC State in the ACC in turnover margin (+9).

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Broadcast time next week from Bobby Dodd Stadium will be from 2:00-5:00 p.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Thoughts After UNC Win

Monday Morning Thoughts After North Carolina Win
By Scott Rhymer

Clemson took North Carolina to the woodshed Saturday, rolling to a 59-38 win in Death Valley on a sun-splashed day. It was the 2nd straight week the Tigers have broken the 50 point barrier and it was also the 2nd straight week touchdowns were scored by somebody other than the offense (kickoff return at Maryland and two defensive touchdowns vs. UNC).

Here are my news and notes from the weekend and looking forward to the big game next week in Atlanta.

BCS
Clemson moved up to #5 in the BCS with the win over UNC and the losses that were suffered by Oklahoma and Wisconsin. I said on the Tiger Pregame Show Saturday that I thought two major upsets would take place Saturday with teams that were in the top 10 of the BCS. That turned out to be true. For what it is worth, I think one team from the BCS Top 10 will fall this upcoming Saturday, and I hope that one team is not Clemson!

Too much worry and angst is placed on BCS rankings in October than it needs to be. Sitting at #5, if Clemson were to win the rest of our games (including the ACC Championship game) I have absolutely no doubt that the Tigers will play for a National Championship. There are so many games yet to be played and so many twists and turns that will carve the path to the National Championship. The hardest part of this process will not be other teams losing, but Clemson winning out.

The Road To Charlotte
With three conference games remaining, the only legitimate road block to Clemson earning a spot in the ACC Championship game is Wake Forest, who sits at 4-1 in conference play. Florida State (because of the loss to Clemson) would need the Tigers to lose all three remaining games in order to finish ahead of Clemson (and that is assuming that FSU runs the table). NC State is still mathematically in the race for the Atlantic, although they pose no serious threat at this point. If the Wolfpack beat FSU next Saturday in Doak Campbell, they would still have an outside chance to get to Charlotte. A loss by the Wolfpack next week at FSU will basically eliminate the Wolfpack from contention. Maryland and Boston College have already been eliminated from the Atlantic Division race.

If Clemson can defeat Wake Forest, the Atlantic Division Title goes to Clemson even if the Tigers cannot beat Georgia Tech or NC State (again, that is assuming State loses at least one more conference game which is an almost certainty at this point). Where things could get dicey for Clemson is if the Tigers lose to Wake Forest on November 12th in Death Valley, which opens a lot of doors for Wake Forest. Wake plays at North Carolina next Saturday and hosts Maryland on November 19th. Those are both winnable games, although the Demon Deacons had to pull off a minor miracle against Duke to win the game this past Saturday. Assuming (and that is a big assumption) Wake is able to beat UNC and Maryland, a win over the Tigers on November 12th would mean Wake Forest holds the tiebreaker over the Tigers and thus represents the Atlantic Division in Charlotte.

So if you are looking for a sure thing before purchasing tickets to Charlotte and the ACC Championship, you are not going to get it until November 12th. Even if Wake were to lose to UNC next Saturday and Clemson were to beat Georgia Tech, the Deacons would still have a mathematical chance to win the Atlantic.

Comparing Seasons
Clemson now moves to 8-0 on the season, which is comparable now only to the 1981 season and the 2000 season in the modern history of Clemson football. As you may recall, I placed those undefeated seasons side by side in a previous blog as a comparison.

http://tigerpregameshow.blogspot.com/2011/10/comparing-6-0-starts-to-season.html

Here is the update on that blog after week 8.

Through the first eight games in 2000, Clemson defeated The Citadel, Missouri, Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke, NC State, Maryland, and North Carolina. Only two of those eight teams would finish with a winning record for the 2000 season (NCSU at 8-4 and UNC at 6-5). The combined record of those first eight opponents in 2000 at the end of the year was 32-58 (.356 winning %).

The most famous year in the history of Clemson football was 1981, which was honored Saturday in Death Valley. Through the first eight games in 1981, Clemson defeated Wofford, Tulane, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Duke, NC State, and Wake Forest. Four of those eight teams would finish the season with winning records, although three of those four winning records were 6-5. Only Georgia had a good season, finishing 10-2. The combined record of those first eight opponents in 1981 was 40-49 (.449 winning %).

Through the first eight games in 2011, Clemson has defeated Troy, Wofford, Auburn, FSU, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland, and North Carolina. Four of those eight teams currently have a winning record. The combined record of Clemson’s first eight opponents this year at this point in the season is 31-30 (.508 winning %).

Sticking with the numbers, I continue to say this is the best start in Clemson football history.

Picks Update
Below is an update of our weekly picks from the Tiger Pregame Show.

Will's SEC Lock Of The Week was Auburn covering the 20 point spread vs. LSU which did not happen as the Bengal Tigers routed Auburn. Will is now 5-3 on the year in his lock of the week.

Scott's ACC Lock Of The Week was Florida State covering the 18 point spread against Maryland. The Seminoles rolled up Maryland 41-16, so I move to 6-2 on the season in my lock of the week.

The Clemson/UNC picks were:
Scott picked Clemson 41-27, which is a differential of 29 points.
Roy picked Clemson 40-23, which is a differential of 34 points.
Will picked Clemson 38-24, which is a differential of 35 points.

For the first time this year, Scott had the closest pick of the week. The yearly tally is now Roy with 4 wins, Will with 3 wins, and Scott with 1 win. As you can see in the differential standings below, however, any one of us could still win the picks contest.

Yearly Differential Standings After Week 8:
Roy (-177 points)
Scott (-181 points)
Will (-185 points)

Roy won the Bottom Line Segment this week against Will Vandervort by a score of 2-0. Roy now leads the Bottom Line Segment 5 games to 3 over Will.

Broadcast time next week from Bobby Dodd Stadium will be from 2:00-5:00 p.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Notes Looking Towards UNC Game

Random Notes Looking Towards UNC Game
Scott Rhymer


We are now 48 hours away from another big football game in Death Valley as the Tigers host North Carolina at noon. Every conference game is important in the quest for the Atlantic Division race. But because the Tigers remain undefeated and relevant in the National Championship talk, this game is of added importance. Win and you are still relevant in the National Championship talk. Lose and the focus will only be on the ACC Championship. That’s a lot riding on one game….but welcome to the land of the unbeaten.

As a reminder, I will join Mickey Plyler Friday morning at 6:20 a.m. to break down the Clemson/UNC game as well as rewind to last week’s win in College Park. Tune in to WCCP 104.9 FM to hear the segment.

North Carolina Thoughts
I don’t like North Carolina. I don’t say that about many ACC teams. I treat most ACC teams in an ambivalent way until the week Clemson plays them. Not so with North Carolina.

I’m not really sure where my distaste for the Tar Heels comes from. Certainly, the arrogance of their basketball program is a big reason. The baby blue colors don’t help either. Maybe it is the fact that every time I meet a North Carolina booster I get the feeling I am talking to Winthorpe (Dan Ackroyd) and Penelope (Kristin Holby) from the 1983 movie, Trading Places.

My dad often tells the story of when he and my mother were invited to a North Carolina/Clemson game from a friend of my dad who was a big UNC booster. The year was 1981, and the game was a big one between two top 10 teams. As my mom and dad sat with my dad’s UNC friend directly in the middle of the UNC section, they were both amazed at what they saw. Multiple groups of UNC fans were rolling out blankets and taking wine bottles out of picnic baskets and drinking them with flutes inside the stadium! My mom and dad, accustomed to eating fried chicken and Milwaukee’s Best beer out of the trunk of their car before going into games at Clemson, were taking back by the prim and proper Tar Heel boosters. In other words, North Carolina fans earned their nickname as a wine and cheese crowd by producing such results in reality and not by folklore.

Whatever the reason for my distaste, anytime North Carolina shows up on a schedule in any sport I have an extra boost in my step leading up to the game. Losing to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last year was devastating to me and I look forward for an opportunity to give some payback on Saturday.

Death Valley Equal To East Carolina?
North Carolina QB Bryn Renner spoke to the media earlier this week and was asked about the environment he will walk into this Saturday in Death Valley. Renner’s answer became viral on Clemson message boards . “We learned at (East Carolina) in a really tough environment that you have to have your ‘A’ game,” Renner said. “We look forward to going to Clemson and seeing what we’ve got.”

I’m not sure if Renner was implying that Death Valley’s atmosphere was similar to East Carolina. One could certainly make that argument from the quote. Renner seems like a pretty good QB from what I have seen of him. He has a bunch of good wide receivers to throw the ball too that will certainly be a challenge for our defense on Saturday. North Carolina also has more NFL talent on its roster than any team we have played so far this season. Beating the Tar Heels Saturday is not going to be easy, if you ask me.

But Renner is either an idiot or ignorant or both if he thinks what he is stepping into Saturday is anything like what he went through at East Carolina. And if there was any chance that Clemson fans would walk into Death Valley Saturday not primed for a big atmosphere, that chance went away with Renner’s comments this week.

Brrrrrrr
If you have not taken a peek at Saturday’s weather, you may want to do so. First, the game time temperatures look to be great and it should be an almost perfect October afternoon once we kick off Saturday. But tailgating is going to be chilly.

Broadcast time for Tiger Pregame Show is 6:00 a.m. and temperatures are predicted to be around 43 degrees. As you arrive around 8:00 to set up your tailgate, temperatures will still be in the upper 40’s or low 50’s. Temps will quickly rise to the 60’s by game time and it will be perfect…but the start of the tailgating day will be chilly to say the least.

Milestones
I’m not sure if you “celebrate” 110 as a milestone moment. I went to ask.com and typed that in as a question and was not able to get an answer. I know 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, etc. are milestone moments. But I’m not sure if 110 falls into that category or not.

So with that being said, this is our 110th consecutive broadcast live on location of the Tiger Pregame Show this Saturday. For that, I am thankful to WCCP 104.9 FM, the sponsors, and of course all of you that listen to the show. To place some perspective and to walk down memory lane, I listed our previous milestone moments below.

1st Show was on August 30th, 2003. It was a scorching hot afternoon and a noon kickoff in the season opener against Georgia in Death Valley. The Tigers got smacked in the face on this day, losing 30-0 to the Bulldogs to open the season. A picture of that day was made and blown up as a backdrop to the Press Conferences inside the West Zone. Next time you see Death Valley in the backdrop of an interview, you will see what I mean.

Our 25th broadcast was on September 3rd 2005 with another season opening game (this time at night) vs. Texas A&M in Death Valley. Jad Dean and freshman James Davis led the Tigers to a 25-24 win over the Aggies on a late game field goal.

Our 50th broadcast was on September 3rd 2007 and we continued the milestone trend of season opening games. This time, Florida State rolled into Clemson for a nationally televised broadcast and once again it was James Davis who led the way as Clemson beat FSU 28-24 under the lights in Death Valley.

Our 75th broadcast was on January 1st, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida and the Gator Bowl game versus Nebraska. I can still see CJ Spiller dropping the game winning touchdown pass in the endzone right in front of where I was sitting on that day.

And our 100th broadcast was last November 20th in the “House of Horrors” that is Winston Salem, North Carolina. Clemson exorcised our demons in that death trap by defeating Wake Forest 30-10 in what would turn out to be our last win of the 2010 football season.

Here is to hoping for health and enough prosperity to reach many more milestones covering and cheering for our Clemson Tigers.

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Broadcast time next week from The Lawn At Littlejohn will be 6:00-9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. Youc an also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Now On The "Inside", I Still Like The BCS and Bowls

Now On The “Inside”, I Still Like The BCS And Bowls
Scott Rhymer

I realize I am about to anger many of you that have spent the better part of the past 10 years lamenting the fact that college football does not have a playoff system. And before I say it, I know my efforts in typing these words are futile. You are going to believe what you believe and I am going to believe what I believe. The rest is just blabbering drivel made for talk shows, blogs, and Internet message boards.

But I do feel an obligation to write about the minority view for those that, like me, appreciate the system we have in college football to crown our champion. Folks like us that swim upstream sometimes make folks like you to blow a gasket that will be spewed throughout the social networking sphere. I have my hard hat on today, so feel free to fire back.

First things first. I like the BCS and I like the current bowl system. Now pick yourself up off the floor and let me explain.

If you have followed my talk show spots with Mickey Plyler or the Tiger Pregame Show over the past few years you already know my position. Some of you may be hearing my opinion on that for the first time. Now that we all know where I stand and that I like our current system, give me a quick moment to tell you why.

The primary reason I like the BCS and the bowl system is that it gives the regular season in college football tremendous value while still creating a safety net for teams that are not National Championship worthy.

I’m not going to bore you with the long story of my viewpoint. But my bottom line is simple: Above average teams earn bowl games that make their programs feel better at the end of the year by giving them a chance to finish the season with a win, all the while stuffing their athletic department coffers. Great football teams earn a chance to play for the National Championship by avoiding disasters and pot holes for the entirety of the college football season from September through November.

Since the BCS inception, Clemson has been in that "safety net" group. Clemson plugged away at our seasons from year to year jockeying for cool bowl game after cool bowl game that allowed our team to play in a neat location (most years) while stuffing our wallets. We were not good enough to win a National Championship, so we fought like dogs and cats to position for the best bowl game possible. Clemson has not had to worry about being left out of a National Championship game since the inception of the BCS. So, for a program like Clemson, the 8 or 16 team playoff was just out of reach and something we were not earning on the field, and getting that bowl game meant the chance to finish the season on a positive note.

In other words, the BCS and a potential playoff had nothing to do with us because we were not in the National Championship conversation.

But now, here we are. 7-0 and ranked #7 in the BCS Standings. Rarified air for our football program that has some of you very squeamish thinking that (gasp) we may win all of our games and be left out of the National Championship game. What a perfect opportunity for a die-hard anti-playoff guy like me to jump ship and go to the dark side with you. I mean, what better opportunity to jump onto the playoff bandwagon than when my own beloved team has a scenario in front of it where we could win every game and get left out of the National Championship game. Seems like a perfect opportunity to change my paradigm.

And yet, I stand with resolve in my firm belief that college football does not need a playoff even though my team is a classic example of how the current system could “fail”. And here is why I still believe, even now on the “inside” of the National Championship hunt, that the BCS is good for college football.

This Saturday, North Carolina will stroll into town for a “nooner” in Death Valley. We will risk our #7 ranking, and more importantly, all of our National Championship hopes on a game that takes place on October 22nd. If Clemson loses to UNC Saturday, we will completely eliminate ourselves from a chance to play for a National Championship under our current system. Michigan and Georgia Tech threw up on themselves last week and their National Title hopes are now gone. It will happen to another team or two this week, the next week, and so on.

What makes college football great is the dynamic importance of regular season games. Games in October or November don’t eliminate NFL teams from playing in the Super Bowl. Games in January or February don’t eliminate college basketball teams from reaching the Final Four. Games in April don’t eliminate college baseball teams from playing in the College World Series.

All of those sports have a playoff system to crown their champion. And all of those sports lack a regular season that hinges on every single game (and, at times, every single play).

College football does. A loss in September could eliminate a National Championship hope. A loss in October probably will eliminate a National Championship hope. A loss in November almost certainly eliminates a National Championship hope. The regular season has tremendous value in college football. Every week is an elimination game in the quest for the National Championship.

If there were an 8 or 16 team playoff in college football, Clemson would not run down the hill this Saturday versus North Carolina with all of our National Title chips on the table. Under a playoff system, we could lose to UNC and still run the table and win an ACC Title and more than likely enter an 8 team playoff and most certainly enter a 16 team playoff. In other words, under a playoff system this game on Saturday would not be a make or break game. Just like the NFL in November or college basketball in February, or college baseball in April.

Under our current system, a loss Saturday to UNC would be devastating to our National Title hopes instead of simply a bump in the road as it would under a playoff system.

If you think this Clemson team is good enough to win a National Championship, this week is critical and a must win. Just like last week was. Just like the Auburn game or the FSU game or the VT game.

The most hated system in all of sports does one thing beautifully…makes every single regular season game critical to the hopes of a championship. It’s the only sport that accomplishes that feat.

There is a chance that Clemson will lose several games down the stretch and all of this National Championship talk will seem silly in hindsight. There is also a possibility that Clemson will win all of our games. There is a remote possibility that Clemson will win all of our games and be left out of a chance to play for a National Championship.

But there is a certainty that a loss Saturday ends all of those dreams. And that is why I like the current college football system. The UNC game is as big as any that this team has played all year. Not because of UNC…but because of the ramifications of a loss. The college football “playoff” takes place during the regular season on college campuses all across the nation every single week.

If we run the table and if we are left out of a chance to play for all the marbles, I may change my opinion. Until that catastrophic event happens, I will stand by the assertion that college football has the most meaningful regular season of any of America’s collegiate and professional sports. You don’t build policy around extreme outliers. It is an extreme situation when a team from a major BCS conference gets left out of the title game with an undefeated record. Has it happened? Yes. Could it happen again? Yes. But it is an extreme case and all of the good that the regular season provides in college football should not be wiped out because of those extreme cases.

And I say that clearly understanding that it may be my beloved Tigers that fall on that sword.

And now I look forward to all of you telling me how crazy I am in believing that.

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Broadcast time next week from The Lawn At Littlejohn will be 6:00-9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. Youc an also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Thoughts Upon Return From College Park

Monday Thoughts Upon Return From College Park
Scott Rhymer

I am back from College Park, Maryland a worn out man. The emotional roller coaster that was Clemson’s 56-45 victory over the Terrapins is one for the ages. There will be many fans and some coaches (Kevin Steele in particular) that will lament the defensive effort on Saturday. That is a fair criticism. But the drama that unfolded Saturday night was more than worth the price of admission to Byrd Stadium any way you cut it.

Clemson now moves to 7-0 on the season, which is comparable now only to the 1981 season and the 2000 season (the 1987 team lost their first game in week 7). As you may recall, I placed those undefeated seasons side by side in a previous blog as a comparison.


http://tigerpregameshow.blogspot.com/2011/10/comparing-6-0-starts-to-season.html

Here is the update on that blog after week 7.

Through the first seven games in 2000, Clemson defeated The Citadel, Missouri, Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke, NC State, and Maryland. Only one of those seven teams would finish with a winning record for the 2000 season (NCSU at 8-4). The combined record of those first six opponents in 2000 at the end of the year was 26-53 (.329 winning %).

The most famous year in the history of Clemson football was 1981. Through the first seven games in 1981, Clemson defeated Wofford, Tulane, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Duke and NC State. Four of those seven teams would finish the season with winning records, although three of those four winning records were 6-5. Only Georgia had a good season, finishing 10-2. The combined record of those first seven opponents in 1981 was 36-42 (.462 winning %).

Through the first seven games in 2011, Clemson has defeated Troy, Wofford, Auburn, FSU, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Maryland. Three of those seven teams currently have a winning record (FSU is 3-3). The combined record of Clemson’s first seven opponents this year at this point in the season is 24-20 (.545 winning %).

Sticking with the numbers, I continue to say this is the best start in Clemson football history.

Here are a few random thoughts followed by the update on picks from the show.

• What else can be said about Sammy Watkins? It is unfair to Sammy and to his teammates to wonder out loud what Clemson’s record would be if Watkins had signed with another school last February. To be honest, I don’t even want to know the answer to that question!


• Really happy to see the offensive line open up some holes and for Andre Ellington to slam through those holes for a big night with over 200 yards rushing. If Clemson can run the football, there is no way (literally) to stop this offense.

• Speaking of running back, Mike Bellamy still shows signs of needing a bit more maturity under his belt. I spent most of the first half on the field and on several occasions I saw Mike jawing with some Maryland students that had positioned themselves behind the Clemson bench. It was as if Tony Elliott had to stand beside Bellamy to keep him from carrying on a conversation with the students. Bellamy would be better served to follow the lead of fellow freshman Sammy Watkins or some of the veterans like Andre Ellington or Tajh Boyd. Bellamy will be a great asset to this year’s teams as soon as he figures this whole thing out.

• Clemson enters the BCS Rankings at #7. Before anyone starts over-analyzing this or that with the rankings, remember that October and November always produce losses that shift the landscape of the BCS. Winning each week will take care of itself.

Once again, Clemson fans came out early in the morning Sunday to welcome the Clemson team back campus. Here is a link that shows the team arriving and Coach Swinney’s speech to the fans.

http://www.tigernet.com/view/player_update.do?id=3200

Picks Update
Below is an update of our weekly picks from the Tiger Pregame Show.

Will's ACC Lock Of The Week was Virginia over Georgia Tech and Mr. Vandervort nailed it. The win moves Will to 5-2 on the year in his lock of the week.

Scott's SEC Lock Of The Week was Tennessee plus the 18 points vs. LSU. That did not come close to happening, so I fall to 5-2 on the season in my lock of the week.

The Clemson/Maryland picks were:
Will picked Clemson 35-20, which is a differential of 46 points.
Roy picked Clemson 30-17, which is a differential of 54 points.
Scott picked Clemson 27-17, which is a differential of 57 points.

For the 3rd straight week, Will Vandervort picked the game the closest. The yearly tally is now Roy with 4 wins, Will with 3 wins, and Scott has yet to have the closest pick. As you can see in the differential standings below, however, any one of us could still win the picks contest.

Yearly Differential Standings After Week 7:
Roy (-143 points)
Will (-150 points)
Scott (-152 points)

Will won the Bottom Line Segment this week against Roy Philpott due to the tiebreaker on the weekly picks. The two tied 2-2 during the segment, and the tiebreaker was whose pick was closest, which was Will. Roy now leads the Bottom Line Segment 4 games to 3 over Will.

Broadcast time next week from The Lawn At Littlejohn will be 6:00-9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. Youc an also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday’s Notes And Thoughts Looking Towards Maryland
Scott Rhymer

What a strange week this has been. The week started with hourly updates on the health of Tajh Boyd after he was carted off the Death Valley turf last Saturday vs. Boston College.

Just about the time that drama began to fade away when it appeared Boyd would be ok, Steve Spurrier decides to stick his foot straight into his mouth at a Press Conference that can best be described as something you would see when TV anchors don’t know they are live on camera and go on a rant.

To add icing on that already double-decker cake was the dismissal of South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia. That soap opera is the gift that keeps on giving as I’m sure we have not heard the end of any of that.

All the while, the week has breezed by in eerily quiet tones for Clemson. The 6-0 Tigers are headed to College Park, Maryland to play a Terrapin team that has yet to find its identity under new coach Randy Edsall.

Clemson’s last trip to College Park was a buzz kill, and one would hope this year's nighttime kickoff should be enough to get the attention of our players. One thing can be said about this team so far this season…they have answered the bell each week.

I have said many times this season that the perception Clemson fans have that this team is going to eventually “lay an egg” is something that cannot be removed from the thought process until they prove over an entire season that this team is different. But I believe as long as there is a “0” on the right side of our record, this team will show up ready to play. Being ready to play does not always translate into a victory, but I just can’t see an undefeated and Top 10 ranked team with this coaching staff allowing a mindset of complacency to set in.

Saturday night will offer another test…all of which have been passed by this team to this point. Getting to 7-0 won't be easy, so get ready for a four quarter brawl in Maryland Saturday night.

Friday Night In Maryland
IPTAY is hosting a get together Friday night at Black Finn Saloon in Bethesda, Maryland for those of you travelling to the game. IPTAY does a great job with these types of events, providing heavy hors d’oevres and plenty of friendly orange. I attended this event in Boston last year and it was done top notch by IPTAY, so I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to do Friday. There is no charge to enter and they will bring out food until Clemson fans cannot eat any more. I plan to be there, so I look forward to seeing you if you attend. Here is a link to the release from IPTAY.


http://pacmail.em.marketinghq.net/functions/message_view.html?mid=209098&mlid=27&siteid=2008000025&uid=d42e218392&hq_e=el&hq_m=209098&hq_l=1&hq_v=d42e218392

Broadcast Notes
We have a jam packed show ready for you once again on Saturday as we will broadcast from inside Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland. Don’t forget to download the Tune In App for free if you are traveling to the game so you can listen to the Tiger Pregame Show on your smart phone.


We also would like to hear about your tailgating experience while in College Park, so post some messages on our Facebook or Twitter pages during the show and we will give you and your tailgate crew a “shout out” on air during the broadcast.

Dabo Swinney, Chad Morris, Kevin Steele, Landon Walker, Andre Branch, Tajh Boyd, Malliciah Goodman, and Sammy Watkins will join us on the show. We’ll also give our ACC/SEC locks of the week, Game Day Predictions, and Insider News and Notes. Don’t forget you can submit questions for the Bottom Line Segment, which will air at 3:00 on the show, via Facebook and Twitter.

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Broadcast time next week from Byrd Stadium in College Park will be 1:00 until 4:00. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. WCCP 104.9 FM and www.wccpfm.com.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Comparing 6-0 Starts To A Season

Comparing 6-0 Starts To A Season
Scott Rhymer

The last time Clemson sat at 6-0 on a football season, Tommy Bowden was in year two and Rich Rodriquez was calling the plays during the 2000 season. Amazingly, that was 11 years ago and I feel old just thinking about that! To find another 6-0 start, you have to go back to 1987 and Danny Ford with Rodney Williams were cruising to a 6-0 start (24 years ago). And the only other time in the modern history Clemson started 6-0 was in 1981 with Homer Jordan and Perry Tuttle leading Clemson to an eventual National Championship (30 years ago).


So the most logical question is: How does the 2011 year compare to 2000, 1987, and 1981 at this point in the season?

Through the first six games in 2000, Clemson defeated The Citadel, Missouri, Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke, and NC State. Only one of those six teams would finish with a winning record for the 2000 season (NCSU at 8-4). The combined record of those first six opponents in 2000 at the end of the year was 21-47 (.309 winning %).

Through the first six games in 1987, Clemson defeated Western Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Duke. Only two of those six teams would finish with a winning record for the 1987 season (UGA and UVA). The combined record of those first six opponents in 1987 was 30-38 (.441 winning %).

The most famous year in the history of Clemson football was 1981. Through the first six games in 1981, Clemson defeated Wofford, Tulane, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Duke. Four of those six teams would finish the season with winning records, although three of those four winning records were 6-5. Only Georgia had a good season, finishing 10-2. The combined record of those first six opponents in 1981 was 32-35 (.478 winning %).

Through the first six games in 2011, Clemson has defeated Troy, Wofford, Auburn, FSU, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. Three of those six teams currently have a winning record. To speculate for a moment, I believe the only team in this group that will finish with a losing record is Boston College. But we’ll stick to the simple facts at this point. The combined record of Clemson’s first six opponents this year at this point in the season is 18-15 (.555 winning %).

The four illustrations above prove what I said in a previous blog. This is the best start in Clemson football history, and that includes the magical 1981 season. The group of teams Clemson has defeated to start the 2011 season have a better winning % than any of the other three 6-0 starts in modern Clemson football history.

What does that mean?

Well, to start with, the 1981 and 2000 season have something that the 2011 season does not yet have….a 7-0 start. This year’s team will have the chance to do that on Saturday night in College Park when the Tigers meet the Terps. The 1987 team could not get to that 7-0 start, losing to NCSU at home.

The other variable when comparing these four seasons is that the 2011 season is still a work in progress and some of these wins Clemson has accumulated may turn out to be better quality wins, or less so, depending on the rest of the seasons that these teams have. For instance, Auburn may have a hard time finishing the season with a winning record considering their schedule, even though they have a winning record right now. On the flip side, Troy has a losing record right now (2-3) and I feel certain they will finish with a winning record once the season plays out.

The other more obvious variable has nothing to do with the start of the season at all. Trying to quantify the start of a football season is fun. But all three of those other 6-0 starts finished very differently. 1981 boasted an ACC Championship and National Title. The 1987 team achieved an ACC Championship. And the 2000 team achieved nothing more than a State Championship. Obviously, those are three very different paths at the back end of the season.

So much is to be determined still in this season because we are only half way done. But one thing is clear. This is rare air that Clemson is floating in right now. Even some of the most storied seasons in Clemson football history cannot hold up to the impressive wins that the 2011 season has amassed during the first half of the season.

Time to move past the 1987 season by moving to 7-0. At that point, we can enter another level of rarified air.

***************
Broadcast time next week from Byrd Stadium in College Park will be 1:00 until 4:00. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. WCCP 104.9 FM and www.wccpfm.com.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Inside The Numbers Of A 6-0 Start

Inside The Numbers Of A 6-0 Start
By Scott Rhymer

Last Saturday marked the official half way point of the 2011 regular season, and very few of us could have imagined that we would be sitting at 6-0 at this point in the season. That smile you see on folks wearing orange to work this week is a smile of satisfaction to see our team play a fun brand of winning football.

The preseason perception was that the new offense would have growing pains where good days were to be mixed with some bad days. On defense, Clemson lost 5 players to the NFL and most thought Kevin Steele's unit would take a pretty big step back in 2011. That perception was due partly to the loss of personnel, and partly due to the fact that Clemson’s defense would be on the field more as the offense ran more plays in 2011 as compared to 2010.


So we mark the halfway point by looking inside the national numbers to see where Clemson stands. Keep in mind that the front half of the schedule was top-heavy and one would hope that these statistics, on both offense and defense, will improve in the 2nd half of the season as the quality of competition is not quite as difficult.

Offense (Category-2011 vs. 2010)
Scoring Offense-30th vs. 86th
Rushing Offense-43rd vs. 79th
Passing Offense-22nd vs. 78th
Total Offense-18th vs. 88th
Turnover Margin-22nd vs. 70th


By all measures, the offense has shown major improvements comparing 2011 to 2010. While that may not be shocking to most Clemson fans that have seen the games this year, the improvement in national rankings in these offensive categories are stunning when looked at in isolation. Until you look at the numbers side by side, it is easy to forget how bad Clemson was on offense last year. Chad Morris may be the best hire as a coordinator in the history of the football program.

Defense (Category-2011 vs. 2010)
Scoring Defense-23rd vs. 13th
Rushing Defense-72nd vs. vs. 28th
Passing Defense-27th vs. 22nd
Total Defense-49th vs. 19th
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion %-42nd vs. 49th


The review of the defensive stats are a bit mixed at this point in the season. The #1 category, Scoring Defense, is relatively unchanged and Kevin Steele’s unit is in the top 25 (which, considering the offensive input, is a very important stat to note). Rushing defense is interesting and a bit of a concern. But let’s not forget that the Rushing Defense the past three weeks against FSU, VT, and BC has steadily improved after an atrocious start at the beginning of the year. And the third down %, while not as good as it needs to be, is relatively unchanged in the past two years.

Overall
When looking at the numbers, one things stands out to me above all else. The offensive improvement under Chad Morris has been so dramatic that it has offset the step back that the defense was expected to take (and appears to have taken). That recipe, in isolation, is something that will make Clemson a legitimate contender for the ACC Championship this year. While you still have to do it on the field, the pieces are in place and I believe Clemson is the clear cut favorite at the half way point to win the ACC Title in Charlotte.


If you want to look beyond that goal of an ACC Title (and I know many of you do), I think you have to look at the defense and wonder if this young unit can continue to improve. To go undefeated in the regular season and ACC Title game, Clemson will need to be a top 30 defense in all categories. Because Clemson’s offense can score and score quickly, to run the table you don’t have to be a top 10 defense. However, I can’t see Clemson winning every game with a defense ranked in the 40’s or 50’s in some of those key categories.

The good news is this: It is still possible that this offense is going to get better. And it is also possible that the defense will continue that recent trend of improvement that we have seen over the past few weeks.

The half way point was a fun ride. But the journey is not yet over. This ride could get very interesting.

***************
Broadcast time next week from Byrd Stadium in College Park will be 1:00 until 4:00. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. WCCP 104.9 FM and
www.wccpfm.com.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning Thoughts And Updates

Sunday Morning Thoughts And Updates
Scott Rhymer

Clemson is 6-0, and that is enough reason to wake up on Sunday morning and be pleased. Until Tajh Boyd went down in the 3rd QTR, the game was a satisfying and workmanlike trudge through a scrappy BC team.


The air was vacuumed out of Death Valley when Boyd went down, casting a huge shadow on the win. No offense to Cole Stoudt, but Tajh is an irreplaceable part of the offense. X-rays and MRI were negative, and the injury is being listed this morning as a bruised hip and Boyd is questionable for next week’s game at Maryland. This will be something to watch closely all week.

Kudos for the crowd and the Clemson defense after the Boyd injury. After sitting in silence for a few minutes in shock of the Boyd injury, the Clemson crowd ramped up the noise and the defense made some plays to put the game out of reach. Once again, the Clemson crowd was outstanding and Death Valley is returning to a place where teams simply can’t win a football game in.

ACC Race
Florida State’s loss to Wake Forest Saturday has just about eliminated the Seminoles from contention in the Atlantic Division. Before the loss, Clemson still had a mulligan in our pocket because of the head to head win over FSU. Now, we have two mulligans over the Seminoles and it would take a near collapse by Clemson for FSU to get to Charlotte. And that’s assuming FSU could run the table in the ACC, which I do not think they have any chance of doing based on what I have seen of them. The Seminoles must be looked at as the biggest disappointment in college football for the first half of the season. The Seminoles are not back. Not even close.


On the flip side, Wake Forest has replaced FSU as the potential roadblock for Clemson to get to Charlotte. Wake is now 3-0 in the ACC (tied with Clemson). The good news is that Wake Forest has a much more difficult schedule down the stretch than FSU had. Wake hosts Virginia Tech next week, followed by trips to Duke and North Carolina and Clemson. Wake finishes out the ACC slate by hosting Maryland. It was a great win for Wake yesterday over FSU, but let’s not pretend that Wake Forest is a top 20 team. Simply put…we are in a great position to get to Charlotte and play for the ACC Championship.

College Park, Here We Come
Clemson will take the show on the road next week to College Park, Maryland. The Terrapin defense played well this week, holding Georgia Tech well under their season average. A way too early forecast for next week’s game is for a sunny day, high around 67 and a low around 50 degrees. If that weather holds true, that will be a much more pleasant environment than our previous road trip to Blacksburg!

Picks Update
Below is an update of our weekly picks from the Tiger Pregame Show.

Will's SEC Lock Of The Week was LSU over Florida minus the 10 ½ points. The Bengal Tigers easily beat Florida and Will gets the win and moves to 4-2 on the year in his lock of the week.

Scott's ACC Lock Of The Week was Wake Forest covering the 10 point spread over FSU. The Demon Deacons not only covered, but they beat FSU in Winston Salem. I now move to 5-1 on the season in my lock of the week.

The Clemson/BC picks were:
Will picked Clemson 35-10, which is a differential of 5 points.
Scott picked Clemson 31-13, which is a differential of 6 points.
Roy picked Clemson 40-17, which is a differential of 7 points.

While all three of us were incredibly close with our scores, for the 2nd straight week Will Vandervort picked the game the closest. The yearly tally is now Roy with 4 wins, Will with 2 wins, and Scott has yet to have the closest pick.

Yearly Differential Standings After Week 6:
Roy (-89 points)
Scott (-95 points)
Will (-104 points)

Roy won the Bottom Line Segment this week against Will Vandervort. Roy now leads the Bottom Line Segment 4 games to 2 over Will.

Broadcast time next week from Byrd Stadium in College Park will be 1:00 until 4:00. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Notes Looking Towards Boston College

Friday Notes Looking Towards Boston College
Scott Rhymer


As a reminder, I will be on with Mickey Plyler Friday morning at 6:20 on WCCP 104.9 FM in Clemson and www.wccpfm.com on the web.


Don’t forget to submit your Bottom Line Segment questions on Saturday. Will and Roy are going to go head to head on your questions to cut through the hype and get to the bottom line. You can submit those questions at Twitter or on Facebook.

Homecoming
This is Homecoming Week, which is always a lot of fun. I don’t think some people realize how unique Clemson is with the Homecoming festivities. The floats on Bowman Field and Tigerrama are things that are not done at other schools, and yet we take it for granted sometimes. Make sure you take the time on Saturday to go by Bowman Field and look at the great work the Clemson students did this week.


Coach Swinney stopped by the floats on Thursday night, and a good video was recorded and posted below. As you watch this video, think about whether or not our rival coach down the road would take the time to do this at his school.

http://www.clemsontigers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/100611aaa.html

Boston College
I have a ton of respect for Boston College. BC is located in a great part of the country, but the folks up there do not care about college football. They will bring only 700 fans or so to Clemson, which basically amounts to parents of football players and personnel for the Athletic Department.


Yet, in most years, the Eagles are a hard nosed football team that gives Clemson fits.
Boston College is not a good football team this year and Clemson will hopefully dispose of the Eagles in short order on Saturday, but that does not diminish the fact that BC has earned about as much success in the ACC as Clemson has since the Eagles have been members of the league.


And considering the passion and resources the two schools have, it is a bit embarrassing to say the two teams have had similar success on the field recently. Hopefully, this year marks a turning point between the two teams.

Embarrassed About Success?
One of the story lines that has come out of this 5-0 start is the notion that some Clemson fans are a bit embarrassed to feel good about the success this team has garnered so far this season. It is as if folks are nervous that all these good feelings are going to crumble down with an embarrassing loss.


I can’t guarantee you that a loss is not coming around the bend. Life is not about guarantees or sure things. But I am here to tell you that you should not be embarrassed to enjoy this start and the success this team has provided on the field.

Enjoying success is what college football is all about…pride in your team. So fly your flags. Wear your orange to work. Keep that smile on your face. Enjoy bragging about Clemson to your friends and family. It's ok to be a bit giddy about Clemson football right now.

Because, as you all know, special seasons don’t happen every year in Clemson.


Enjoy this video by Shoeless Works to recap this great start:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLxpbNVHQ0E

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Broadcast time next week from the Lawn at Littlejohn will be 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. On game day, you can submit your Bottom Line questions via Facebook and Twitter and if we use your question, we will mention you by name.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday's Press Conference Thoughts

Tuesday’s Press Conference Thoughts Looking Towards BC
Scott Rhymer

We are quickly moving through the week, heading towards the big Atlantic Division game with a team we have not scored an offensive touchdown on in three years.

This Saturday on the Tiger Pregame Show, we will be joined by Dabo Swinney, Kevin Steele, Chad Morris, Tajh Boyd, Duane Allen, and Andre Branch. For the first time this year, Jaron Brown will also join us. And Stephon Anthony will make his Tiger Pregame Show debut this Saturday as well. See below for show times.

Taking a look inside the Tuesday Press Conference, I think it is clear that this team remains focused and is ready to prove this 5-0 start by playing well against Boston College. There is an equal amount of respect for BC as there is confidence by the players in their team and coaches. I will be stunned if Clemson has any type of letdown on Saturday, which is a bold statement considering the three teams we just finished playing and a bad Boston College team on the horizon.

Looking Inside Dabo’s Comments From Tuesday
“Their linebacker (Luke Kuechly)-he may be the best linebacker in the country. You can stop the film on every play and you can find him in the picture”

Kueckly is an incredible football player for this day and time. He has 83 total tackles in 5 games (16.3 tackles per game). To put that in perspective, the leading tackler for Clemson is Andre Branch with 34 tackles (6.8 per game). What Kueckly is doing on defense is simply amazing and he must be accounted for on Saturday.

“I don’t think we had quite the chemistry that we had last year as we have this year”
That might be the understatement of the year. Throwing Billy Napier under the bus at this juncture is a waste of time. Napier was young, inexperienced as a play caller, and asked to do something he was not prepared to do. There may come a time when Napier turns out to be an excellent football coach, and I just hope it is not in a situation where he goes against Clemson. That being said, this is not intramurals or Church League football. The fact Napier was ever given the reigns of the offense while learning on the job is blasphemy. We may never know the true story of how, exactly, Napier became Clemson’s offensive coordinator in 2009. But Clemson is better coached on offense this year than at any time under Swinney and we are reaping the rewards of that on the field.

“Bellamy will receive more snaps because he is earning it”
The amazing thing about this offense is that it is not getting many big plays in the running game. There have been some holes, especially in the last two weeks, that simply have not been hit by Andre Ellington with the authority he did last year. That tells me he is still banged up…either with his toe, the hamstring, or both. I still think Ellington’s experience and ability give Clemson the best chance to win a Championship down the stretch. But it is obvious that Ellington is not 100% and maybe the focus should be on getting him to that point by giving the ball to Bellamy and DJ Howard for a few weeks. Part of that involves Bellamy getting more comfortable with the offense, which he appears to be doing.

Random Thoughts
A comment in appreciation for Jaron Brown. Brown is a guy that was very close to getting lost in the offensive rotation with Charone Peake coming on the scene this August. When Peake got banged up, Jaron Brown took advantage of his opportunity and had a great game in Blacksburg. That is good to see. Peake has the skills to be an incredible WR, but I always love seeing a guy that is not quite as talented doing everything he can to take advantage of the opportunities that he is given.

Anybody think Brandon Maye regrets leaving Clemson for Starkville, Mississippi?

Gus Malzahn was considered an offensive guru and almost directly responsible for Chad Morris being hired at Clemson because of what Malzahn did last year at Auburn. But has anybody looked at the Auburn numbers this year? Auburn is 80th in the nation in total offense and 52nd in scoring offense. Was Auburn good because of Malzahn or Cam Newton?

I do take a bit of joy in seeing South Carolina squirm a bit this season. Our section in Blacksburg erupted Saturday when the final score of the USC/Auburn game came across the cell phones in attendance. Maybe the Gamecocks are that bad, but I would caution you if you think they are toast. I saw the Auburn struggles coming last week but I still think the Gamecocks will win the East Division and play for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Then again, it would not hurt my feelings to be wrong!

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Broadcast time next week from the Lawn at Littlejohn will be 9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. On game day, you can submit your Bottom Line questions via Facebook and Twitter and if we use your question, we will mention you by name.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Clemson...Here We Come"

“Clemson…Here We Come”
By Scott Rhymer

Click back through this blog for the seven months that it has been up and running and you will see that I have taken a very cautious approach to just about everything that has come down the pipe when talking Clemson football.

I was hesitant to suggest that this top 10 recruiting class would make a huge impact in year one.

I was hesitant at whether or not Chad Morris could replicate Gus Malzahn by transforming what was a pitiful offense into something that could win a championship.

I was hesitant at what I had seen of Tajh Boyd, both in 2010 and in the Spring.

I was hesitant to think that this schedule was something that a young team could come through unscathed through 5 games.

So there is no need for you to state that I am an orange Kool Aid drinker that has become drunk on the success of the first month of the season. It was going to take a lot to turn me into someone that would be absolutely ecstatic about the 2011 version of Clemson football. I have been down this road too many times and I am not as easy to fool as I was many years ago when looking at the hype of any season.

And I’m here to tell you today that all of those primary worries heading into this season have proven to be nothing more than unnecessary angst.

As I said in yesterday’s blog, it is not time to book a plane ticket to the National Championship game. There is plenty of work to be done. Dabo Swinney said today that the primary mission is still to win the Atlantic Division.

I don’t disagree with Coach Swinney, but I have stated on this blog that the primary mission is to win the ACC for the first time in 20 years. Technically speaking, Coach Swinney and I are on the same page since you have to win the Atlantic before you get a chance to win the ACC.

So we can all agree that the job is not yet finished. But there is a swagger, confidence, and determination in this team that leaves me to believe one simple truth: This team will give everything they have to accomplish that ACC Title. That is no guarantee that it will happen…but I simply don’t see this team diverting from that singular focus. They have done everything they could through five games to prove they are nothing like the previous Clemson teams.

Several years ago, Dabo Swinney made an impassioned speech following Clemson’s win over Miami in overtime.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBOKd6y8wE

We have used that clip in our show opening for the past two years. Every time I hear it I think not only about what a great post game speech it was, but that Coach Swinney did not see the fulfillment of that speech. We fell one defensive stop away from winning the ACC that year. One stinking stop.

We are only five games into this season, but Swinney’s speech may ring more true today than it did two years ago in Miami. Swinney may have jumped the gun by a few years.

So in comes Boston College, a team that has given Clemson fits in the past. Clemson and Boston College have played close games since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005. In fact, five of the last six meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. The only game that was not was Clemson’s 25-7 victory in Death Valley two years ago when Richard Jackson kicked 6 field goals and won the Leather Helmet Award as the game’s Most Valuable Player

Clemson and Boston are the two winningest teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division since Boston College joined the ACC for the 2005 season. Since 2005, Clemson is 30-21 and BC is 30-22 in ACC games, a total that includes ACC Championship games. Florida State is third in the division with a 28-22 mark, while Wake Forest is 25-26, Maryland is 22-27 and NC State is 19-31.

Boston College, on paper, is not a very good team this year. That is no matter, because Clemson cannot take another step towards Charlotte without finding a way to win this Saturday against the Eagles. And I respect the tough-nose approach BC plays football with.

Peeking forward, as a fan, is ok to do. It’s ok to be excited. It’s ok to dream that big dream. And it’s ok to feel proud about your football team. We have languished for 20 years without significance on the national scene, and now that we are getting that exposure and buzz, you should enjoy every moment of it. I am ready for Boston College this Saturday but I’m also not going to apologize for feeling good about this team.

Your job, my job, and Clemson Nation’s job is to continue to dream. It’s also our job to come to the games and do everything you can to help our football team.

But don’t apologize for enjoying this moment. It’s well deserved.

Coach Swinney, you may have been a bit premature with your statement two years ago. However, now, it is safe to let it all out.

Clemson…here we come!

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Broadcast time next week from the Lawn at Littlejohn will be 9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Best Start In Clemson Football History?

Best Start In Clemson Football History?
By Scott Rhymer


This week, there will be talk of National Championship games and undefeated seasons. This week, there will be talk of pulling off another 1981 exactly thirty years after the greatest season in Clemson football history. This week, little to no thought will be given to Boston College or Maryland or UNC.

Now, before you think I am a preachin’ today in the blog, read on before you make that judgment.

Clemson fans have craved, sometimes impatiently, for our Tigers to earn something on the field that is worthy of the excellent history of our football program. As I have said in this blog all summer long, winning an ACC Championship is the singular goal that this team needs to accomplish. To be blunt, we seem ahead of schedule in that pursuit after this 5-0 start.

What will get lost in that pursuit of the ACC Title are eyes shifting towards a potentially bigger prize. You don’t get into the top 10 in the nation at nearly the halfway point of the season without some type of conversation trending towards looking at a run for a National Championship. It is a natural thought, and I’m not here to try and dispel that thought from entering your brain, even if it still seems a bit of a stretch for this team in my mind.

For historical perspective, Clemson has only been 6-0 three times in the modern history of the program (1977-Present).

Clemson blazed to a 6-0 start in 1987 by defeating Western Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Duke. Of those six wins, only one was over a team that was ranked at the time (Georgia). The Tigers would lose to NC State in week 7 at home in Death Valley, but would go on to win the ACC Championship later in the year.

Tommy Bowden led Clemson to a 8-0 start in 2000 by defeating The Citadel, Missouri, Wake Forest, UVA, Duke, NC State, Maryland, and UNC. None of those teams in 2000 were ranked when Clemson played them and the Tigers would stumble down the stretch, losing to Georgia Tech, FSU, and Virginia Tech.

Even the 1981 season, as great as it finished, did not have the sparkling resume that the 2011 season has at this point in the season. During the 1981 season, Clemson’s first 5 games (all wins) only included one win over a ranked team (Georgia). Clemson would only play two other ranked teams in 1981 (UNC in week 9 and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl).

So if the Clemson Nation is a bit giddy in the afterglow of the win in Blacksburg, there is substantial reason for our chests to stick out a bit.

That reason is simple. This is the best start in the modern history of Clemson football. In five games, Clemson has defeated three nationally ranked teams, one on the road. All five of Clemson’s wins are over teams that won a division or conference championship last year, including Auburn that won the National Championship.

This start was not made by “paper Tigers”. Clemson has earned the wins against teams that are not easy to beat. I think Clemson is worthy of moving up in the polls at a pace we have, not because of the fact we are 5-0 but because of who we beat and how we beat them.

Now before you pull out your credit card and start buying tickets and plane rides to the National Championship game, the best start in program history does not necessarily equate to replicating the magic of 1981 any more than it forebodes the collapse of 2000.

What is going to happen next week or the week after is yet to be written. The same attitude, work ethic, breaks, skill, and sweat will be needed to win the next five games as it was to win the first five.

But it is time to recognize the facts. And those facts, based on common sense and data, clearly points to this being the best and most impressive start in Clemson football’s modern history.

It makes for a fun time in Clemson-land. This is what we have craved, admittedly at times impatiently craved, since the early 1990’s.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t look two weeks down the road or three weeks down the road or anywhere down the road. Take a moment and soak in the enjoyment and fulfillment of an unprecedented start in Clemson football history. If you can’t enjoy this moment, you are never going to find satisfaction in Clemson football.

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Broadcast time next week from the Lawn at Littlejohn will be 9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones.

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Sunday After Virginia Tech Notes

Tiger Pregame Show: Sunday After Virginia Tech Notes
Scott Rhymer

I have yet to be able to clearly collect all of my thoughts on the win last night in Blacksburg, so I will check back later when I can articulate myself a little better.

Simply put, the win last night was one of the proudest moments I have had as a Clemson fan while a member of the Tiger Pregame Show. To go into Blacksburg with those weather conditions and walk out with a win is an incredible testament to the coaching staff and players.

You won’t need me or the blog to hype what that win Saturday night now means for this team and this year. That hype is coming, for sure. And it is earned hype, so our players and coaches deserve the accolades they will receive. That being said, great seasons are made not by one or two or even three weeks. A great season is just that…a season. And there is still a long way to go.


Below is an update of our weekly picks from the Tiger Pregame Show.

Will's ACC Lock Of The Week was Georgia Tech beating NC State by more than 10 ½ points. That did not happen as Tech won by 10 points and Vandervort suffers his second consecutive loss. Will moves to 3-2 on the year in his lock of the week.

Scott's SEC Lock Of The Week was Auburn to cover the 10 ½ points against the Gamecocks. I had a hunch Auburn would win the game and wish I would have made that bold pick, but I will take the win anyway on the lock of the week. I now move to 4-1 on the season.

The Clemson picks were:
Will picked Clemson 24-17, which is a differential of 15 points.
Scott picked Clemson 28-27, which is a differential of 29 points.
Roy picked Clemson 31-27, which is a differential of 32 points.


Will’s win this week breaks Roy’s 4 week winning streak in the pick ‘em contest. Will certainly needed the win as he was sliding back in the overall standings.

Yearly Differential Standings After Week 5:

Roy (-82 points)
Scott (-89 points)
Will (-99 points)

Will also won the Bottom Line Segment this week against Roy Philpott. That shinks Roy's lead to 3 wins against Will's 2 wins.

Broadcast time next week from the Lawn at Littlejohn will be 9:00 a.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones.

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