Archive for the ‘TigerNet Talk’ Category

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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.

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Go Tigers!

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.

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!