Archive for November, 2009

Let’s Talk Turkey

Posted: November 26, 2009 by El Swann in TigerNet Talk
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It’s Clemson – Carolina week once again and football fans across South Carolina focus their eyes on the Tigers and the Gamecocks. For the first time ever, Clemson comes into this matchup with the ACC Championship game the following week against Georgia Tech. You will hear people say that Clemson might look past South Carolina with the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship looming, but I beg to differ. While winning the ACC would be a great accomplishment, Dabo Swinney will have his team focused on winning ‘Bragging Rights’.

You can boil this rivalry down to expectations and hope. After years of suffering loss after loss to the Tigers, it was bound to happen that the Gamecock faithful would eventually expect to lose and hope to win this yearly battle.

It’s my belief that this is what has happened to the South Carolina fan base and their teams over the years. Just looking at the numbers is astounding.

I’m sure there are many similar situations out there, but for the sake of this piece, I will use my own life as an example. I consider myself a young Clemson fan, 32 years old, and in my lifetime we have won this contest twenty-three times. In order for a Gamecock fan say the same, they need to be almost twice my age, or 62 years old.

Yep, you have to go all the way back to 1947 to find a Gamecock who has won twenty-three times against our Clemson Tigers. That stat almost makes me feel bad for some of their older fans…ALMOST.

In 1947 Harry Truman was president, a new house cost roughly $6,600, bread was $0.13, the Frisbee was invented. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

I think about the joy I have experienced du ring those twenty-three wins. To have those wins occur in such a short period of time as a Tiger fan I can’t help but think about the long years of misery that a 62 year old Gamecock fan has sat through. Season after season, year after year, loss after loss.

Expectations and hope- We expect to win and hope not to lose, they expect to lose and hope to win. Given those two rules of thumb it’s no wonder Clemson wins more often than not, South Carolina hasn’t beaten Clemson back to back since the games in 1969 and 1970.

Football is a tough sport, but as tough as it is, in the end it’s also a mental game and we have had South Carolina’s number for years. Let’s be honest the mentality of the fan base leaks down to the program and soon enough the players start to believe. Not even a “New Carolina” can reverse this old trend.

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Clemson Tigers To Sport New Nike Pro Combat Uniforms

Posted: November 23, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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I don’t normally get into all the uniform banter that gets tossed around throughout the season. However, when I got a look at the new Nike Pro Combat Uniforms that Clemson will wear against USC this weekend, I got interested. This uniforms are pretty cool looking to me. I don’t know if we will sport them all year next season, but the marketing alone is worth Clemson wearing them.

That being said, I really liked the uniforms we have worn this season. I have enjoyed seeing the two large stripes running down the legs of the pants. It has been a nice return to the look of our older teams. It will be interesting to see how they look. The only thing that worries me is the shoes. I hope the guys get in a lot of practice in those. Changing shoes is never good.

If you want to learn more about the Nike Pro Combat Uniform visit: http://procombat.nikemedia.com/index.php?team=clemson#/home

With A Bang

Posted: November 19, 2009 by El Swann in Football, TigerNet Talk
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After starting the season 2-3, I don’t think this game could have been scripted any better for the Tigers. Clemson comes in on fire, while Virginia seems to be spinning out of control. Winners of five straight games, the Tigers look to extend their ACC season and play for the conference title on December 5th.

The only thing standing between Clemson and their first birth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game is a home win against a Virginia team that lost to the College of William & Mary. It’s still hard to believe when you look back. You think Clemson losing Maryland was bad? I guess the Tribe must play some serious chess.

For the fifth straight week, the Tigers are riding high and this team appears to be ready to take the next step towards another preseason goal. After years of being on the verge of great seasons, here we sit hoping once again. Only this time around it feels a lot different.

How many of you catch yourself having flashbacks to the late eighties or early nineties when you see Kevin Steele’s defense attacking our opponents. I get chills watching opposing quarterbacks when they look like deer in the headlights as we pressure and blitz from all areas. We have been attacking on both sides of the ball since the Maryland loss and it feels great seeing a confident team wearing the orange and white.

I get the feeling that the masses want to stand and yell, “Clemson’s Back!”, but the fear of falling short once again still keeps many sitting on our hands. Well, get off of your hands and stand up this week. Make enough noise that the folks in Columbia and Atlanta will begin to sense the tidal wave that is approaching. If the Tigers come out flat, you owe it to them to lift them up.

Saturday is a day to give back to a team that has given much to you over the past few weeks. We need to show this team that we appreciate them turning around a season that could have been lost. We need to show them that we expect a victory in Columbia and an ACC Championship. Send this Clemson team off like C.J. Spiller opened his senior year, with a BANG!

En Route

Posted: November 13, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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From “We Will Rock You” to DeAndre rocked you, Clemson’s Death Valley was electric last Saturday night. After a slow start, Clemson took Florida State behind the woodshed in the second half and placed themselves in the drivers seat toward the ACC Championship game.

I’m putting an end to the talk, night games in Death Valley = AWESOME! Look at the last few played with the lights on and there is no comparison. Clemson should attempt to schedule at least two each season. Forget the drive, forget how late you might get home, Clemson’s night atmosphere is one of the best in the country.

With the victory the Tigers now have a chance to secure a birth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game this weekend at N.C. State. A Clemson win, coupled with a Boston College loss and the Tigers will be in Tampa on December 5.

Most if not all Tiger fans would have taken this scenario if it was given to them in August. Win your last conference games against two less than stellar teams in North Carolina State (5-4, 1-4) and Virginia (3-6, 2-3) and you are in the title game.

Unlike seasons past, Clemson controls their route to the title; I dare not say “controls their own destiny”. Put it this way, no one else needs to lose. The Tigers win and they are in. No questions.

Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack will not roll over and just hand it to Clemson. I think that N.C. State will come out with their backs against the wall. They will give Clemson a good shot early, but Clemson will be playing with a sense of urgency that will push them all night long.

Knowing the title game is in the distance will not intimidate this team, it will inspire them. The coaching staff will not allow them to overlook N.C. State and will keep them focused on their preseason goals. From adjustments as big as those that occurred during the bye week between the Maryland and Wake games, or simply those made during halftimes throughout the year, this coaching staff has proven to me that they are ready to take us to the conference title game.

I fully expect Clemson to attack the Wolfpack on both sides of the ball. This is becoming a confident group. They seem hungry and I wouldn’t want to be in between them and Tampa right now. I equate it to being a quarterback between DeAndre McDaniel and the end zone, get out of the way!

——– Season Predictions: El Swann: 8-1 , Xbox 360: 8-1

Listen to TigerNet Talk www.clemsonpodcasts.com

Go Tigers!

An Eye for an Eye?

Posted: November 11, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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My take on the Andre Branch (#40) play against FSU this past weekend:

After watching this clip time and time again, I still don’t see an obvious eye gouge. I don’t think Branch was trying to hurt the Spurlock as much as he was hoping to keep him from getting to the ball. Andre clearly pulls Spurlock’s helmet and facemask, but I am not 100% sold on an eye gouge. Spurlock doesn’t seem to look like his eye was gouged either after he stands up.

Sure, it’s not a squeaky clean play and I doubt any Clemson fans would like it if it was done to one of our own, but it’s football people. It wasn’t after the play and I am not convinced Andre knew for a fact that the ball wasn’t under the FSU player.
It looked more like the camel clutch to me and given Willy Korn and Landon Walker’s DX trip down the hill, maybe Andre was just giving his best Iron Sheik impersonation.

DeAndre McDaniel Eyes Ponder

Posted: November 8, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel seems to be smiling before leveling Christian Ponder on a late game interception return. Ponder was injured on the play and his status for the remaining games doesn’t look good right now.

The Clemson Tiger defense was superb all night forcing the Seminoles into 5 turnovers, 4 of which were interceptions. Cemson’s McDaniel continues to be a force in the secondary.

Seventeen Years

Posted: November 5, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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There was a day in the not so distant past when ACC stood for Another Clemson Championship. Since Florida State’s arrival in the league, Clemson has failed to expand on their once-proud conference championship legacy. Seventeen years, zero championships.

In the two games prior to the Seminoles joining the conference these two teams were virtually indistinguishable. Both were ranked in the top five of the 1988 preseason poll, and no one in the country wanted to see either on their schedule.

Flashback with me if you will to September 17, 1988, where a rain soaked crowd of Tiger faithful watched Florida State go “Prime-time” in more ways than one. I have long believed that the contest forever known as The “Puntrooski” Game was the beginning of Clemson’s demise, and the ascension of Florida State’s program as a national power.

On that day, the Seminoles may have broken the #3 ranked Tigers spirit, a Clemson team that was good enough to win the national title. However the next season, Clemson answered in Doak Campbell Stadium winning 34-23, and I doubt many Tiger fans thought these two teams were headed in different directions. The Tigers blistered the Seminoles on both sides of the ball that night and finished 10-2 for the second straight year.

But in 1992 Florida State joined in ACC, and in their second conference game the Seminoles, led by Charlie Ward’s late game heroics beat the Tigers 24-20 and took the Atlantic Coast Conference from Clemson. FSU finished 11-1, 8 -0 in conference play. The Tigers, a dismal 5-6, 3-5 and a seventh place finish. This was Clemson’s worst finish in more than fifteen seasons.

Seventeen years of frustration. Seventeen years of someone else winning what was at one time our conference. We have been through three coaches, hundreds of players, multiple stadium renovations, and 87 losses or roughly five per season. In the seventeen years prior to Florida State joining the league we only lost 52 games.

In a prime-time Saturday evening game, Clemson takes control of the Atlantic Division. By beating the Seminoles, Clemson places themselves in position to make their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

Tune in this week to see if the Xbox can move to 9-0 while El Swann looks to go 8-1 on the season with his Tiger predictions.

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Follow the Tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk and Clemson Hotline. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend’s game and preview and predicts Clemson’s next game. You can listen to both shows at http://www.clemsonpodcasts.com.

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Go Tigers!