Archive for December, 2009

Highlights from the Music City Bowl

Posted: December 28, 2009 by El Swann in Bowl Game, Clemson, Football

Here is the ESPN recap of Clemson’s bowl victory. I thought Clemson played a good ballgame. There weren’t a ton of spectacular plays, but the Tigers protected the ball which was huge. The future looks good for the Dabo Swinney era so far. I know it’s only one season, but I saw a lot of good things from this very young coaching staff. It will be interesting to see how the 2010 season goes. I get the feeling expectations will once again be high in Tigertown.

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Spiller’s Post Game Interview

Posted: December 28, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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Clemson’s C.J. Spiller talks about his final game at Clemson. It’s going to be hard not to have C.J. on the team next year, but I am sure Clemson fans wish him the best in the NFL. In this video, Spiller makes some great comments about his feelings for the “Clemson Family”.

Thank you C.J. for your hard work this season. I get the feeling our young players learned a lot from your example. It’s fitting that no one will wear #28 again.

The Last Ride

Posted: December 24, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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It almost hurts me to think this will be C.J. Spiller’s last game in a Clemson uniform. It seems like only yesterday he took that Clemson cap and placed it on his head and stated that he would attend Clemson University. Spiller surprised a lot of people that day, but that wouldn’t be the last time he shocked a big crowd.

During his career C.J. has carved out a place among Clemson’s greatest players of all-time and one could argue he is one of the greatest collegiate players in history too.

I know there will be detractors, but the numbers don’t lie. Spiller’s ability to juke and go makes him one of the most elusive backs I have ever seen. That combined with his elite speed makes him a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Those are only part of the reason he has scored 50 touchdowns in his career.

We already know Spiller’s #28 will be retired after this season, it would also appear he will join the Ring of Honor in a few years. Tiger greats like Perry, Davis, Fuller, Dantzler, Tuttle, and the legendary Banks McFadden will all be behind C.J. Spiller when you list the greatest to ever suit up in the orange.

It’s going to be tough to sway me on my belief. Sure, I didn’t see Banks McFadden play, but with all due respect it was a different game. Take Spiller to the 40’s and he is a monster. Bring McFadden to the 2000’s and he might make the team. I am sure some will blast me for that, but it’s probably true.

I’ll also step out on the limb and say that Spiller is one of the greatest collegiate players in history as well. Nationally, Spiller didn’t get the recognition he deserved and most of that is Clemson’s fault, not his. The Tigers didn’t win the games they needed to, in order for people to take notice of C.J. Had he played for a great team, his name would be mentioned among the all time greats.

Unlike the national media, I saw him every week and he was better than anyone I have ever seen. I remember his freshman year when I said, “We have a Reggie Bush style player.” I think now I would say, “Southern Cal had a C.J. Spiller style player.”

Yep. Spiller surpassed Reggie Bush during his career. He is the fastest I have ever seen to stop and start on a dime. His vision to find the smallest holes in a defense is unreal. But I think his ability in the kick return game probably separates him from many great backs in history. I’m not saying he is the greatest running back ever, I can’t argue that point. But he is one of the greatest players ever.

C.J. Spiller was the #1 all-purpose back in the country coming out of high school and with 349 yards in his final game he would become the all time leader in all-purpose yards in college football history. Spiller’s career high is 312, but I wouldn’t say he can’t do it. Spiller still has a shot at the record.

Had teams not completely avoided kicking and punting to him the entire year he would have shredded the all time mark.

In the end, think of Spiller’s last game as your final Christmas present of 2009. Whether Clemson wins or loses be thankful for the years #28 suited up. I’m sure he will speak to the team about being fired up for the game, even if you are not. A bowl win is one thing that C.J. doesn’t have in his career and I know he wants one.

For numerous defenders it was hard to see Spiller on the field when had the ball, but it will be harder for Clemson fans next season, not seeing him on the field.

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Season Predictions: El Swann: 10-3 , Xbox 360: 10-3

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.

Follow our Twitter feed to get all the latest news about your Clemson Tigers.

http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

Go Tigers!

The Music City Rematch

Posted: December 22, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football
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For the past few seasons Clemson fans heard about how close their team was to playing in the ACC Championship game. This year Clemson achieved that goal, but still fell short of their first ever BCS bowl birth. A year that brought so much excitement appears to be ending on a sour note for many Clemson fans. Losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech brought the most confident among us crashing to the ground. This season reminds me of 2006 in more ways than one. High mid-season hopes, late season losses, Music City Bowl against Kentucky, ugh.

However unlike 2006, this Tiger squad can still close this season with a win, but it will not be easy. Kentucky is probably a better team than most people would like to believe. While (7-5, 3-5) isn’t impressive, two of their losses were to Florida and Alabama. The others three were close conference losses and had they beaten Tennessee in the season finale (which went to overtime) Kentucky would have finished second in the SEC East. I agree with you, the SEC East is down, but still. KENTUCKY almost finished above Tennessee and Georgia this year!

Coming into that 2006 Music City Bowl, Kentucky hadn’t won a bowl game in 22 years. Obviously that didn’t stop the Wildcats from pounding Clemson early and then holding on for a 28-20 victory. It was a loss that Clemson fans didn’t expect and there were plenty of reasons to feel that way. To this day many of the Tiger faithful still scratch their heads about that bowl game.

If you will recall that 2006 Clemson team scored 50+ points four times that season, at one time they were 8-1. And that loss was by a single point in double overtime. 2006 was the year of the night game against Georgia Tech when C.J. Spiller electrified the country and Clemson appeared to be back. 2006 started off with a blast, but the Tigers closed the regular season losing three of their final four games, landing them in Nashville, facing the Kentucky Wildcats.

Sound a little familiar?

After the loss in 2006, many fans felt like Clemson was flat and unmotivated. It looked like many of Clemson’s players felt they had better things to do then play in the Music City Bowl. Let’s hope there is a different ending to the season.

Being fired up about this game should not be an issue for Clemson. First and foremost this team kicked your tail the last time you played in this same game. Secondly, these seniors have never won a bowl game, NEVER. If I were Dabo Swinney, I would have Spiller speak to the group about how much a bowl win during his time at Clemson would mean to him. If that doesn’t make those guys want to run through a wall, nothing will.

Personally, I haven’t decided how I will predict this one just yet. I think we are in for an exciting game though. This should be a good matchup and I don’t expect either team to run away with it.

I’m gonna miss watching C.J. Spiller

Posted: December 11, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion
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Where did the time go? It seems to have passed as quickly as C.J. Spiller blows by defenders. In the history of Clemson University there has never been another player with the speed and elusiveness which Spiller possesses.

Being a Clemson fan the past few years has been nothing short of amazing. Getting to watch C.J. Spiller week in and week out was worth every penny. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be remembered as the best player to ever wear a Clemson uniform. His jersey will be retired and in five years he will probably be in the Ring of Honor at Death Valley.

When you reflect on Spiller’s career you have to be in awe. Statistically he will finish his career as not only one of the greatest Clemson players, but one of the best collegiate players in history.

He will finish his career as the greatest kick returner in history with seven career scores. With one more punt or kick return he will set the record for most total returns. With a career game against Kentucky, Spiller could become the leader in all purpose yardage all time. It would take over 349 yards, but if the Wildcats will kick it too him throughout the game, it’s still possible. I certainly will not be counting him out before the clock hits zero.

Spiller has also scored in every game this season, the only player in the nation manage this feet. He has scored via run, reception, punt return, kick return, and even threw a touchdown pass. As I am aware, there is no other way to score offensively unless he kicks field goals and extra points.

As this week went by, I saw a couple of great things that reminded me how great C.J. is as an athlete. There was a great YouTube video posted called ‘CJ Spiller Is Amazing” and an image that the guys at CUTigers caught during the ACC Championship game which I attached to this article.

It was a downer when C.J. Spiller wasn’t invited to New York, because I think it’s obvious he is one of the top five players in the country. No matter what you hear from the national media, when you put the clips side by side, C.J. Spiller’s highlights will be far and away more impressive. Don’t believe me? Just check out the following videos.

It’s funny how quickly momentum can change in a season. Both Clemson and Georgia Tech came into last weekend’s rivalry games riding high. The two teams had a combined 14 game winning streak, both teams having not lost in over a month. But, rivalry games are never a given and both were upset last weekend by their in-state rival.

At this point, most Clemson fans probably still feel good about the direction of our football program. To represent the Atlantic Division for the first time is a huge accomplishment for Coach Dabo Swinney. Losing to South Carolina isn’t acceptable, but getting to the ACC Championship, something that Tommy Bowden failed to do in ten seasons, helps ease the pain.

Swinney’s 8-4 overall record in his first full season isn’t outstanding, but most fans are pacified with the opportunity to get to ten wins this year. However, if the Tigers close with three straight losses and an 8-6 record, the positive vibe around the program during this season’s six game winning streak will be long forgotten.

After being hit with their worst loss to South Carolina since 1994, losing to Georgia Tech could be a crushing defeat for this team. Somehow, I just don’t see a loss coming. They say teams take on the personality of their head coach and I tend to believe that to be true. I think Coach Swinney will have this team focused and prepared for the biggest Clemson football game in over twenty years.

In a little over one year, Dabo Swinney gets his third shot at Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Something tells me the schooling Johnson put on Dabo Swinney in Atlanta early this season will fuel the Tigers’ preparation. Yes, Johnson is one of the top coaches in America. His record over thirteen years says it all. With one more win (127) he will tie Tom Osborne’s record for most wins to start to a career, but Dabo Swinney has something to prove.

It’s my belief that the loss in Atlanta was the moment Dabo Swinney grew up as a head coach. The valuable lessons he learned in the first quarter in Atlanta helped advance our program this season. Sure, there have been other bumps in the road this season and there will be more in the future, but I’m confident we have the right guy steering the ship.

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Season Predictions: El Swann: 10-2 , Xbox 360: 9-3

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.

Follow our Twitter feed to get all the latest news about your Clemson Tigers.

http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

Go Tigers!

Spiller’s #28 to be retired

Posted: December 2, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion
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According to Coach Dabo Swinney, C.J. Spiller will become the third player in Clemson football history to have his number retired. Spiller’s #28 will join Tiger legends Banks McFadden (#66) and Steve Fuller (#4) as the only Tigers to have their numbers retired.

This couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Spiller has proven both on and off the field that he is deserving of such an honor. C.J. Spiller will possibly go down as the best Clemson player in the history of the program. During his senior year, he surpassed record after record, week after week and continues to impress the nation.

C.J. stands alone in the history of the NCAA with 7 career kick returns for scores. He is one of only five players to ever reach 7,000 all purpose yards. Add to that a resume full of record shattering stats and you might could argue he is one of the top college players in history.

Early Season Tests Continue

Posted: December 2, 2009 by Doctor A in Basketball
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The Tigers are set to play the Illinois Fighting Illini on ESPN. This game set to tip-off at 7:15 EST as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which is currently tied at three games apiece.

The Tigers come into the game following an emotional win in the 76 Classic Sunday. While the Tigers showed great poise in Anaheim, there are areas in which they will need to improve should they expect to win tonight. This contest will have great inside matchups as Trevor Booker and company try to contend with 6-9 Forward Mike Davis and 7-1 Center Mike Tisdale, both averaging double figure points per game. Look for the junior Davis to play most of the game as he is clearly this team’s interior leader averaging a double-double in points and rebounds.

Offensively, the Tigers must work the ball inside to draw fouls and create open shots from the perimeter for Potter, Smith, and Young.  The inside-out movement of the ball will be critical if the Tigers want to succeed in the half court offense. Trevor Booker, Tanner Smith, and David Potter have been leading the way for the Tigers on offense, all shooting over fifty percent from the field.

Illinois Guard Demetri McCamey will look to help his team break the Tiger press averaging six assists per game as well as a handful of points. Coach Purnell showed on Sunday he was willing to come out of the press but will continue to put pressure on teams with the half court trap. Littlejohn Coliseum will be alive once again as the Tigers face their toughest home game of the season thus far. Tune in to ESPN at 7:15 for full coverage.

Trip to Anaheim Wise Decision

Posted: December 1, 2009 by Doctor A in Basketball
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The Clemson Tigers trip to Anaheim was a noteworthy move by Oliver Purnell that will pay off when NCAA Tournament time rolls around. The 76 Classic, hosted by ESPN U and the Big West conference was full of talent. The Tigers made it through the tournament 2-1 with wins against Long Beach State and Butler. Despite a loss to a solid Texas A&M team, this was a successful tournament for the Tigers.

Over the past few years, Clemson has been criticized for their lack of quality opponents in November even though they play quality opponents throughout the ACC during the regular season. The 76 Classic gave the Tigers a chance to make their statement on a national level and they succeeded. They proved that they could compete on a high level, with teams outside of the ACC. Although there were growing pains for this young team, the Tigers bounced back with back to back wins against Long Beach State and a Butler program ranked 10th. Demontez Stitt showed the type of poise the Tigers will have to have if they plan on being successful in March.

The Tigers now come back to their home site where they will host their final two out of conference games against Illinois and South Carolina. Check back tomorrow for a pre-game breakdown of what adjustments the Tigers must make if they want to keep their momentum from Anaheim. The Tigers and the Illini are set to tip off at 7:15 Wednesday evening. ESPN coverage is available.

C.J. Spiller Ad In USA Today

Posted: December 1, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Heisman
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It looks like IPTAY purchased an ad to honor C.J. Spiller in today’s USA Today. I think it’s a classy move and well deserved. Whether he gets invited to New York for the Heisman trophy presentation or not, C.J Spiller has been pure class. I still contend that he is the best all around player in college football.

I don’t know if it will help with his Heisman push, but it was a great gesture by IPTAY.