Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Hate this Game because of the Playa's

My first introduction into the Palmetto State rivalry was 1987. I was 8.

The Friday before the game was donned Carolina-Clemson day at school (you immediately know where loyalties lie based upon which team comes first when naming the game), and we were encouraged to wear garnet or orange to support our team.

When a few friends showed up in garnet, I was a tad confused. I'd never really consorted with people from "that other" school. Should I treat them the same? Can they still be my friend?

My logic brought me here: Any team of a friend couldn't be that bad if my friends liked them.

USC went on to win that game 20-7 to have their first two year period without a Clemson win in nearly 20 years.

On Monday morning, following USC's win, the cafeteria was adorned with USC posters, streamers, and a DOT matrix banner (remember those - where the paper fed through the little holes on the outside. Then, when you were done, you removed the perforated edges) and the teachers and administrators congratulated USC over the loudspeaker.

I thought this a tad obnoxious, but figured USC won the state championship and probably deserved the honor.

The following year, Clemson won, and I was so excited for school Monday to see the celebration they would receive. It didn't take long to realize little would be said of Clemson's win. There were no posters or banners on the outside of the school. No decorations in the cafeteria. No school wide congratulations over the loudspeaker. Nothing.

It was at that point I realized you had to pick a side - and there was only one side to be chosen: Orange.

The orange my mom and dad proudly wore. The orange my mom's mom and dad proudly wore. The orange I then chose to proudly wear.

And since that day, I have never looked back.

I met a girl that wears orange. My three kids wear orange (with purple for the girls). My boss and most of my coworkers wear orange. Even my pastor wears orange.

Yet - there's something about the Clemson-Carolina game I hate.

This hate isn't for a lack of winning. In fact, Clemson never lost to USC while I was in school. And following USC's win in 2001, Clemson went on to win four more in a row.

The hate isn't out of jealousy. Our rival does plenty to keep themselves in the news - usually for the wrong reasons.

The hate isn't due to any one person, but rather many people - namely USC fans. Not necessarily alums, and not all fans, but those fans.

    Fans that are waiting for you at the door when they win, but can't be found when they lose.

    Fans who stormed into Death Valley and took a chunk of Howard's Rock.

    Fans who lay claim to the entire state just because they're named after it.

    Fans who claim their superiority just because of conference affiliation.

    Fans who state their dominance because they've won four games in a row for the first time in 70 years.

    Fans who shout "Go Cocks".

    Fans who photobomb Clemson people and coaches with the "four" sign

    Fans who are incapable of having a rational conversation regarding the two teams.

You could actually lump me in with that last one. Maybe I'm part of the problem too.

That's okay, at least I'm not a USC fan.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Claws vs Paws - Rivalry Week







THE TIGERSWAG
Not sure which cliché to pull out of the cupboard for this year’s contest:

You can throw out the records when these teams get together
Well, actually you can’t. Over the course of the series, the better, or favored team, typically wins.

Defense wins championships
Well, until USC wins a championship, this one stays in the bag.

The crowd will be the factor – take the home team

Even though USC has won the last two in Columbia, Clemson has won 11 of the last 15 in Columbia. Actually, Clemson has more series wins in Columbia than they do in Clemson. In fact, Clemson has more series wins in Columbia that South Carolina does.

Take it one play at a time
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Over the last four years, South Carolina has averaged more plays than Clemson, and has won all four.

Control the ball and you control the game
Again, USC has owned time of possession in the last four games.

Win the turnover battle and you win the game
Ding, Ding, Ding. In each of the last six Clemson-Carolina game (and nine of last ten), the winning team also won the turnover battle.

On the season, South Carolina has been feast or famine when it comes to turnovers. They have three games with at least three turnovers and four games with no turnovers, including the last three (against Miss State, Florida, & Coastal nonetheless). On the other hand, Clemson is typically good for at least one miscue. Clemson has just one game where it lost the turnover battle: Florida State, meanwhile South Carolina has lost the turnover battle in five of their games, including both losses.

Look for Clemson to come out focused and aggressive early as they try to establish themselves. If it works, Clemson could ride that momentum all night long. If they struggle, they could find themselves singing here we go again, but regardless, they must hold on to the ball and take it a few times from their kid brother.

In the end, it works as Clemson stays the course and USC makes a few mistakes, and Clemson leaves Williams-Brice with a streak busting and BCS sealing win.

Clemson 27
South Carolina 23



THE COCK-A-BOOSTER
I have been just roasted by my Gamecock friends because I am picking the Tigers to win this year, and I will concede that my Tiger friends’ behavior has me suspicious that I may have misread things. But I always trust my gut instinct and am honest about what I think will happen. Too many intangibles are pointing in the Klimpletons direction this year.

First, Clemson’s strength plays right into our weakness. We have been consistently exposed in the middle of our defense this year. So the Tiggers will get some points and big plays. Second, this is the first season where the conference officials have something to protect: Clemson’s unearned at-large BCS bid. I have never liked the road team bringing their conference refs, but this is the first year that I think they will actually affect the outcome of the game. Finally, there is the winning streak. Carolina has faced a five-game losing streak to the kittens four times in my lifetime. All four times- 1984, 1992 and 2001 and 2006- we won the game.

There are certainly reasons to like USC as well. Connor Shaw’s last game at home in which he certainly doesn’t want to go out losing his first time to Moo U, our run game without a doubt being one of the best they have faced, our defense only being the 2nd fact that they still have my favorite drooling, deranged lunatic in a sweatshirt coaching them. (Again, if Clemson does win, I can’t wait to hear him declare himself the best Clemson Coach to ever go 2-4 against Carolina.)

Perhaps more than ever, the first 1/3 of this game will likely tell the tale. Clemson wants to come out smoking and build a big lead, which will make Shaw’s arm beat them and keep us away from our desire to use ball-control and time of possession. I think they’ll be able to do so, and we’ll have a different form of “animal husbandry” going in pickup trucks all along Bluff Road when the night is done.

Clemson 31
South Carolina 20

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Keys for a Clemson Win

For the first 100+ years of this rivalry, the feeling was Clemson can just play their game and win. To South Carolina's credit, that feeling has changed over the past four years. Is it fair? Probably not, but Clemson fans could use a little support in this argument. A win over South Carolina this Saturday would go a long way to reestablishing control (at that point, the four game winning streak is in the past - and the past has no bearing, right USC fans?).

So, here are five keys to a Clemson win and the first step in setting the world back on its axis:

Tackle, Tackle, Tackle
The defenses with the most success against South Carolina have done one thing well: tackle. You saw it against Florida, Tennessee, and Missouri (for three quarters). In all three games, the defense was able to minimize additional yards by making sure the first contact brought down the ball carrier. Clemson needs to do the same, especially with Shaw. Unfortunately, tackling has not been Clemson’s calling card.

Additionally, South Carolina uses the screen pass as a primary downfield weapon, which doesn’t sound logical. But ask Missouri how effect the screen game can be. Again, the Clemson defense has been susceptible to screens, so it will be up to the pursuit of the down lineman and the ability of the linebackers to shed blocks.

If you’re a Clemson fan, the Georgia Tech game may bring comfort, seeing how Clemson defended the option and kept pursuit angles. A defensive first quarter similar to the Tech game would do wonders for Clemson to break the streak.

Solid Defense
Two primary factors have contributed to South Carolina’s current thumb drive: The ability of the South Carolina offense to control the game and turnovers.

Last year, South Carolina ran 86 plays to Clemson’s 59, and controlled the ball twice as long (40 minutes to 20). Those 86 plays consisted of a 15 play drive (ended in INT), 13 play TD drive, 12 play FG drive, and a 10 play TD drive. In 2011, South Carolina ran 13 more plays than Clemson and kept the ball for nearly 15 minutes more than Clemson. In 2010, four more plays and almost 10 minutes more possession than Clemson. 2009: 19 more plays and 14 more minutes of possession.

With South Carolina nursing a 3 point lead, Clemson finally made a defensive play as Xavier Brewer intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop a 15 play drive. On the ensuing possession, Clemson has moved into South Carolina territory with a chance to tie or take the lead. The result a Tajh Boyd interception. South Carolina takes the ball and drives 13 plays for a touchdown and the celebration in the armpit begins. That was Clemson’s second turnover of the game and marked the fourth straight game against South Carolina where South Carolina won the turnover battle. Coincidence? Probably not. In fact, in each of the last six Clemson-South Carolina games and nine of the last ten, the team that has won the turnover battle has also won the scoreboard.

Run, Run, Run
During Morris’ tenure, each loss features one similarity: lack of a commitment to the running game. In Clemson’s 30 wins during the Morris tenure, only twice have the Clemson running backs carried the ball fewer than 25 times: last year’s Peach Bowl when Boyd had 29 carries to the backs 21 and this year’s Georgia Tech game when the quarterbacks had 22 carries to the backs 15. To offset the two diminished run games, Boyd combined to throw for nearly 700 yards with 8 total touchdowns.

Conversely, in Clemson’s seven losses during the Morris tenure, only once have the Clemson running backs eclipsed 20 carries: this year’s Florida State game, which was over by half time. In the other six losses, Clemson failed to commit to the run, including 24 total rushes for only 95 yards in Clemson’s first loss under Morris (GT ’11), 28 for 34 (NCSU ’11), & 30 for 70 (USC ’11), all three of which represent Clemson’s fewest rush attempts and rush yards of any games in the last three years.

For Clemson to win Saturday against South Carolina, they must commit to the run.

Clown Clowney
While most Clemson fans enjoy taking the occasional potshot at Jadeveon Clowney (present company included), we do it as a defense mechanism knowing full and well what he has accomplished against this Clemson team in season’s past.

In this game, Clemson mustn’t be afraid of Clowney and should do whatever is necessary (sans injury) to remove the doubt that has crept into Morris and Boyd’s head. If he comes out making plays, his confidence will only rise as that of Clemson’s will drop, and Clemson can’t afford to operate at less than 100% confidence

Look for Clemson to focus on him in both the run game and passing game, including extra blockers, chips & rubs by releasing tight ends and backs, and plays designed to avoid him. One thing Clemson can’t do is leave him unblocked like previous teams have tried to do. It won’t work – Clowney is the greatest unvlocked player in the world. Just check Youtube to confirm for yourself…

Have Fun
Dabo has consistently preached “The Fun is in the Winning”, yet it doesn’t feel like Clemson has taken that approach into this game. They’ve been into the game (see last year’s start by Tajh), but they haven’t kept that focus for the entire game.

To South Carolina’s credit, they’re offense has controlled the tempo of the game, which limited the Clemson’s offense ability to find a consistent rhythm. However, the Clemson offense must bear a portion of that burden as they felt pressured to score or make a big play when what was really needed was a decent drive and some positive momentum.

This year, the pre-game feels different, the words from the coaches feels different, but the stakes are higher than ever. Will the fun, confident Clemson team that faced Georgia show up, or the one that cowered under the bright lights of Florida State?

I think we’ll know before the big screens start showing the MIzzou-A&M game...

Summary
While there are few positives to take away from the last four years, one thing Clemson can look to is the fact that they’ve played well early. They’ve held touchdown leads in three of the four games, and in the fourth they scored 10 quick points to draw even late in the first half. Clemson will need to have a similar start in this game, but also continue that effort throughout the full 60 minutes.

In the end, it will come down to two items: the play of the Clemson defense and the play of Tajh Boyd. Both have struggled the last three years, though there were signs of a breakthrough in last year’s game. While this Clemson team lacks the consistency of Nuk Hopkins, they tend to have a better grasp of themselves and what they do. But more importantly, the Clemson defense is improved. If both the Clemson defense and Tajh Boyd play to their typical 2013, then Clemson has a legitimate chance at seeing “Nothing but Taillights” – the USC kind…

Friday, November 22, 2013

CLAWS vs PAWS - Week 13







THE TIGERSWAG
In what is my favorite game designation of the year, the Citadel comes to Clemson for Military Appreciation Day. From the pre-game pageantry to the flyover to the ceremonies to seeing veterans young and old recognized, Military Appreciation Day leaves nary a dry eye in the joint. On top of that, it is Senior Day for Tajh Boyd and fellow mates Hot Rod, Spencer Shuey, and Cat Man. You can most likely include Sammy Watkins and Vic Beasley in the group playing their last home game.

Because of all the pomp around the game, Clemson could very well come out tight as they try to force some excitement. But I think Tajh leads treats this game like he has every other game, which in turns feeds down to the others.

Clemson jumps out to a big lead as Boyd & Watkins only play the first half. Once the backups come in, Clemson continues to score a few points, but the deficit becomes more of a working margin as the Citadel finds the endzone once or twice.

Ultimately, a good time is had by all. The vets are honored, the seniors are celebrated, and young Clemson fans add another special memory.

Clemson 54
El Cid 14



COCK-A-BOOSTER
The Holy City Growlers will be pawing into the upstate on Saturday, and they will be prepared and ready to put up a fight. The Crazy one and his trademarked sweatshirt know that thanks to a putrid schedule they are still being propped up for an unearned BCS at-large bid, so style points matter.

El Cid will keep it tight for a bit, but look for Third-person Tajh to exploit the athleticism gap to pull away in the second half. His favorite doped-up speedster should have a few big plays and the final score will be large enough to keep the orange sheeple in a good mood.

The ACC officials are there as a final fig leaf to cover up any mistakes that occur, just as they will be in tow in Columbia after Turkey Day.

Clemson 56
The Citadel 13




THE TIGERSWAG
South Carolina's typical plan is to take a break from the tough SEC schedule by playing a cupcake the week before Clemson. After seeing this year's SEC schedule, South Carolina decided to take a different approach by scheduling decent a tough non-conference schedule to offset the weak SEC slate. They were worried after games against the bottom five SEC teams, they might be a tad rusty. So, they decided to schedule a decent 1-AA team before Clemson comes to class the place up.

But seriously, South Carolina's non-conference schedule should be commended. Clemson, Coastal, & UCF all have a single loss each while UNC has rebounded to win to four games in a row. To put it in perspective, UNC's four straight wins are equal to the season win total for five of South Carolina's eight SEC mates.

But all that said, Coastal Carolina could easily be considered the third best athletic program in the state with NCAA Tournament appearances in baseball and basketball and a solid football squad. Unfortunately, football is the one sport where the difference between the "haves" and "have nots" is quite large and not easily overcome.

I see three things happening this weekend:

South Carolina comes out flat as they look ahead to Saturday night's Missouri game and next week's thumb party
Coastal to come out fired up and have some early success, maybe even an early lead
South Carolina's focus and depth to kick in around 1:30 to take away any potential drama

In the end, Coastal gets a fat paycheck, South Carolina gets some work in, and South Carolina fans do what they do best: pull for other SEC teams.

South Carolina 52
Coastal Carolina 17



THE COCK-A-BOOSTER
Carolina rarely blows anyone out anymore for whatever reason. There have been some very tight games against the “sure win” teams on the schedule in recent years, but at least we haven’t been losing those games like we used to.

Enter a brash and loud-talking buch of high scorers from near the Grand Strand and we’re probably looking at more of the same. Convinced that USC is not taking them seriously (although we are), and doing everything it can to locate bulletin-board material, the Chanticleers will flock into Columbia and caused some very nervous hineys most of the day.

Coastal is clearly going to score some points and they clearly are going to give them up as well. The Gamecocks will survive another one of those uncomfortable afternoons we have come to expect in these games, and hopefully we’ll avoid any major injuries before the Tiggers and their ACC officials come to Columbia.

South Carolina 35
Coastal 24

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CLAWS vs PAWS - Week 11






THE TIGERSWAG
For the first time since the '70s, these teams will play back to back games in the same venue. Unfortunately, the last time Clemson put on a uniform in that venue, they were
throttled by Florida State in front of a national audience. Thursday night, Clemson will once again take the field with a captive audience, though let's hope the outcome is slightly different this time.

What makes this game tough is how unique Georgia Tech's style of play is. The good news is Clemson has had nearly 2 weeks to prepare. The bad news is sometimes you can become so focused on following your assignment, you forget to just play and react. Also, Clemson needs to realize they are going to give up a number of 3rd down conversions and chunks of yardage. They must stay confident and aggressive and not allow those short-term failures to win.

But what helps Clemson is their D-line and linebackers have played much better this year than last, which must continue for Clemson to win. Add in a few positive plays from special teams and Clemson can finish their second straight ACC season with only 1 loss.

Clemson 33
North Avenue Trade School 20


COCK-A-BOOSTER
I have been pretty hard on the Klimpletons this year over their absolutely putrid schedule (well-deserved). That makes it especially laughable that the experts are actually trying to spin the visit by the Atlanta Bees into Pickens on Thursday as watchable or a “challenge” to anyone not playing in the Ivy League. I will concede that the buzzers have more bite than most in the Aunt Cindy Conference. But wins over Duke, North Carolina and Virginia hardly make someone “good.” So for Tech to be happy over being one of the best in the ACC is like a woman saying she is one of the prettiest girls in Omaha. While it may be true….so what? But I digress.

So the stingers come into Thursday night, needing to add some credibility to Clemson’s season. I will actually play along on this out of pure boredom. IF Tech’s team can sustain some drives early and earn a lop-sided time of possession edge, and IF they can limit Sammy Potkins’ big plays with their weak defense, and IF the ACC officials are not in protection mode of the crazy one in the K-Mart sweatshirt, then yes, conceivably it could be a time of nervous buttocks in Death Valley.

More likely scenario? The ACC wants to hold on to a possible at-large BCS bid (insane), the overrated orangies get a nice lead early and force the bumblers into a passing contest and the Tigers put up a big number.

Clemson 49
Tech 24





THE TIGERSWAG
This week, the most difficult, impossible, toughest, nastiest, and dangerous SEC train hauls National Championship contender Florida into Columbia, SC. Just like previous SEC trains carried powerhouses like Vanderbilt, Kentucky, & Mississippi State, this train carries another team capable of beating any team at any time.

Wait, Florida is not in the BCS Championship mix? They've lost 4 games in a row, including last week at home to Vanderbilt? You mean they've lost more than they've won?

Yeah, but this team is healthy and a healthy SEC team can cure cancer and dry little kid tears. What, Florida is missing two dozen players due to injuries and their backup quaterback turned starter is a game-time decision?

But those things don't matter when two SEC teams square off because this game is even and both teams would be lucky to leave Williams Brice with a win. Oh, Vegas has this as a two touchdown spread in favor of USC? Didn't see that coming.

Right now Florida is bad, the team is hurt, the fans are apathetic, and the coach is trying to find the best realtor in Gainesville to sell his house. When a team gets backed into a corner like this, they either come out swinging, or play dead.

In this case, unless South Carolina gives them reason to believe they can win, I expect Florida to play dead. And Spurrier to kick them while they're down.

Garnet & Black Jorts 31
Jorts of Every Other Color 12


THE COCK-A-BOOSTER
There is a chance that the Gainesville Crocodiles will be crawling into Columbia this weekend having given up on the season. I hope so. Some folks might scoff at that feeling but I don’t care. Just win baby! So many possibilities lie in front of the Gamecocks, IF we win this game.

Florida has absolutely nothing to play for, which either makes them a target for us to walk over OR the most dangerous team on the schedule. They have a stout defense when it wants to be. No one can argue that. And as we showed in the Swamp last year, if you’re willing to make enough mistakes to hand over some free points they’ll take advantage and be tough to beat. So hopefully, we’ll be fired up and not flat this weekend. We have a lot to play for and we got pantsed down there last year. Connor Shaw has to be tired of listening to folks talk about that 1st quarter disaster.

Shaw has three home games left in his storied career in Columbia. You know he wants to leave Richland County having never lost there. When you add it all up, this “should” be a nice win for USC. I just don’t see it playing out the other way. Yes, yes, we felt this same way about the visit from Auburn a couple of years ago, but we don’t see the type of internal turmoil now that Hyman was causing with Garcia back then. So I will call it like I see it. Florida comes out with some early stops and hangs around for a while and then we cruise late to a comfortable win. Oh, and WAR DAMN EAGLE at 3:30.

South Carolina 27
Florida 13

Monday, November 11, 2013

Clemson, Thursday Nights, & Taylor Swift

Come Thursday, Clemson will play the role of good soldier for the second time this year as they host Georgia Tech. But this year isn’t unique for Clemson as Thursday’s game will mark the 12th Thursday night game Clemson has played since 2002, or an average of one every year. During this 12 year span, Clemson has played in at least one Thursday night contest nine times.

For a school that has been vocal in their dislike of Thursday night games, averaging one game a year seems heavy. A little too heavy.

Before anyone brings up the ACC TV contract, let me state I understand Clemson is within a conference that has agreed to certain television rights, and as a member of said conference, Clemson must help fulfill those conference obligations. That being said, I'm comfortable saying this: The burden (yes, burden) of Thursday night games has not been equally carried among all capable parties. And while that is a major concern, it is not the only concern.

With apologies to Taylor Swift, here are five reasons Clemson & Thursday nights should Never Ever Get Back Together Again:

Beast of Burden
As mentioned above, Clemson has borne more than their fair share of the burden. Unless the ACC has exclusive rights to the Thursday night market (they don't), then no ACC school should average a game a year (13 weeks of football, multiple conferences, multiple schools per conference, equals well less than 1 game every year). Unless you request it (looking to you VT & USC).

To show how out of balance the Thursday night responsibilities fall, in the last 11+ years (since 2002), Clemson's 12 appearances are topped by only VT (23 - 16 while in the ACC), Miami (17 - 11 while in the ACC), NC State (13), and Georgia Tech (13).

Furthermore, FSU has played 10 games (too many) while Wake, Maryland (none since ’08), UVA, BC (2 since ’07), & UNC all top out at a maximum of 8 games.

And then there's Duke. The pride of the ACC in basketball has never graced a Thursday night in football. Never.

Bad Company
If Thursday night games are such a good deal for the school, then why don't all schools play them? While the SEC's presence on Thursday night isn't as prevalent as the ACC's, the SEC is no stranger to Thursday night games. In that same 12 year timeframe, the SEC has played in 36 Thursday night games (or 1/3 the total of the ACC). Of those 36 games, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee played nary a one, while Alabama (against Georgia State 10 days prior to Auburn) & Arkansas only have one notch. Additionally, LSU and Ole Miss have only played two Thursday night games each.

Conversely, USC has played in 13 Thursday night games, or over 1/3 of the SEC's total, while Auburn, Vandy, Miss St, & Kentucky have accounted for another 17 games.

Doesn't the ACC have the same rights as the SEC to choose which teams will and will not play on Thursdays? Can't the ACC hand Pitt, Syracuse, Duke, & Wake to ESPN and make them take it? That's what the SEC does, and no one seems to mind. Not ESPN or the schools.

Regardless, why would the ACC trot out Clemson, Florida State, & Georgia Tech, representatives of half of the available Championship game slots, so often when those schools have more to lose than gain? When they lose, the conference loses. And right now, this conference needs all the wins it can get. Furthermore, why would the ACC trot out games in which those teams face each other? One is guaranteed to lose on national television

We are Who We Thought They Were
Let's be honest, nothing good will come from Thursday night's tangle with Georgia Tech. One of three results will happen:

    - Clemson routs Georgia Tech
    - Clemson wins a close game
    - Georgia Tech pulls the upset

If Clemson routs Georgia Tech, a team currently tied for the Coastal Division lead, what does that do other than make people think the ACC is bad, which could in turn impact voters’ opinions of the strength of other teams in the ACC, a la FSU & Clemson, one of which is battling for a BCS Championship birth and the other a BCS bid.

If Clemson sneaks by Georgia Tech, the shine of Clemson’s Top 10 ranking could be quickly eroded. The national media, especially the AP, could drop Clemson a few spots in the polls, which could potentially cost them an opportunity at an at-large BCS bid, which in turns costs the ACC bowl revenue.

If Georgia Tech defeats Clemson, the ACC will be ridiculed for being too balanced and mediocre. Plus, Clemson gets permanently tattooed with the "Pulling a Clemson" label.

Lose-Lose for all involved.

Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful
To colleges, fall Saturday’s turn into the epicenter of all athletic endeavors. It is the financial driver of the athletic program and the cornerstone of recruiting. The issue is we’re only graced with 6-7 of these opportunities each year. When you are forced to host a Thursday night game, you miss out on many opportunities a normal Saturday brings.

Recruiting:
There is no better recruiting tool in college football than the gameday experience. Recruits are able to see the inner workings of the program and get a taste of what to expect when they enroll. For the Georgia game, nearly 40 potential recruits were in attendance. BC: over 20. FSU, over 70. Even SC State drew 8 recruits.

Guess how many will be at the Thursday night Georgia Tech game. None. Absolutely none.

Revenue:
Of Clemson’s five home games, three have been sell outs, including a game against an FCS opponent. Clemson’s worst attendance so far is 77.5k against BC.

Guess how many will be at the Thursday night Georgia Tech game? Under 70k, or few enough the University is running ticket specials at half off. Stub Hub is selling them for $15 apiece. And guess how that plays out on national tv? Bad. Real bad. Florida homecoming bad.

Two Side of Lonely
While the ESPN Thursday night games get solid ratings, they don’t provide the return on investment you would expect. The first 10 Thursday night games of 2013 have provided an average rating of 1.5/2.5 (Rating/Million Viewers), or equivalent to the noon ESPN game.

In fact, the Thursday night game has never finished better than the 6th best time slot for the weekend, falling behind each of the Saturday ESPN games, both ABC games, and the CBS & FOX game. Other than Clemson’s ESPNU game against Wake, their Saturday games have outdrawn that week’s Thursday night game, which includes the BC, Maryland, and Virginia games.

Even this past week’s Thursday night showdown between Oregon & Stanford only drew a 2.2 rating, or less than ESPN’s season opening game between USC and UNC. That would rank it as the 42nd best time slot for the year, behind such snooze fests as Syracuse-Penn State, San Diego St-Ohio St, & Michigan-UConn.

Summary
There may have been a time when Clemson playing on a Thursday night was good publicity for the school, where the tv ratings, announcers, and campus previews overcame Clemson's well documented Thursday night struggles (maybe this is part of the "Pulling a Clemson" problem we're trying to overcome).

But that time is no more.

For teams like Clemson and Florida State the stakes are high, more so than other ACC teams. Clemson is in line for a BCS bid and Florida State is closing in on a BCS National Championship bid. The stakes are too high to be put to the Thursday night fire. Even if Clemson puts a beat down on Georgia Tech, the service life of that win is short as it is essentially forgotten by the time the Saturday afternoon games roll in.

So, after this year's fling, Clemson and Thursday nights "Should Never Ever Get Back Together Again".


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Team Rankings: Week 11

Poll Notes:
  • Any team with a greater than 13.0 average is deemed a quality win (see here for an explanation of scoring)
  • Alabama takes over #1 spot with FSU taking #2
  • Oregon only drops to #3 while Stanford climbs to #5
  • Baylor remains #4 while Ohio State falls to #7
  • Biggest differences between BCS polls:
    • Texas climbs to #13
    • Central Florida & Fresno State remain outside Top 25
  • While idle, Clemson falls to #6 and South Carolina climbs to #11
  • This week's opponents: Ga Tech #29 & Florida #48
  • Toot your own horn award goes to Miami being ranked outside of last week's Top 25



WEEK
RANK PRV Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 AVERAGE
1 2 Alabama 28.0 -- 44.0 12.6 50.4 8.1 39.6 36.0 28.8 -- 50.4 33.10
2 3 Florida St 30.8 -- 18.0 8.1 26.4 36.0 -- 70.4 28.8 25.2 44.0 31.97
3 1 Oregon 9.0 39.6 32.4 -- 28.8 39.6 30.8 25.2 50.4 -- -4.5 27.92
4 4 Baylor 9.0 18.0 -- 18.0 -- 28.8 22.0 36.0 39.6 -- 50.4 27.73
5 7 Stanford -- 12.6 13.2 43.2 32.0 18.0 -9.1 43.2 26.4 -- 36.0 23.95
6 5 Clemson 36.0 8.1 -- 26.4 32.4 35.2 18.0 -8.9 26.4 39.6 -- 23.69
7 6 Ohio St 10.8 14.4 26.4 9.0 36.0 22.0 -- 18.0 32.4 44.0 -- 23.67
8 9 Missouri 8.1 10.8 -- 26.4 12.6 30.8 52.8 21.6 -5.6 31.1 35.2 22.39
9 13 Auburn 18.0 12.6 18.0 -5.5 -- 36.0 9.0 44.0 14.4 26.4 35.2 20.81
10 11 AZ State -- 9.0 36.0 -5.5 25.2 -10.0 39.6 25.2 -- 35.2 22.0 19.64
11 14 Scar 21.6 -5.5 18.0 -- 22.0 18.0 39.6 -9.1 44.0 21.6 -- 18.92
12 10 Okie St 21.6 15.4 9.0 -- -9.1 18.0 -- 21.6 35.2 26.4 28.8 18.55
13 16 Texas 8.1 -21.8 -7.8 18.0 -- 22.0 48.0 -- 30.8 25.2 22.0 16.06
14 12 Mich St 10.8 5.4 6.3 -9.1 -- 26.4 21.6 21.6 35.2 25.2 -- 15.93
15 22 UCLA 14.4 -- 26.4 8.1 -- 22.0 25.2 -5.5 -6.4 25.2 26.4 15.10
16 18 Ole Miss 22.0 5.4 61.6 -- -6.4 -4.5 -5.6 36.0 8.1 -- 18.0 14.96
17 19 TAMU 12.6 7.2 -5.6 12.6 26.4 -- 44.0 -5.6 28.8 8.1 18.0 14.66
18 17 Wisconsin 8.1 8.1 -4.5 28.8 -4.5 -- 25.2 30.8 -- 26.4 9.0 14.15
19 15 LSU 20.0 14.4 14.4 43.2 -4.5 35.2 21.6 -4.5 7.2 -- -6.4 14.05
20 8 Oklahoma 14.4 18.0 14.4 -- 26.4 18.0 -6.0 26.4 18.0 -- -6.4 13.69
21 23 No Illinois 22.0 -- 5.5 4.5 35.2 13.2 9.0 15.4 7.2 9.9 -- 13.54
22 20 Georgia -4.5 43.2 -- 12.6 36.0 22.0 -6.7 -9.1 -- 20.0 7.2 13.41
23 35 Wash 14.4 -- 22.0 9.0 21.6 -4.5 -7.8 -6.4 25.2 -- 36.0 12.17
24 34 USC 6.6 -11.1 25.2 9.0 -6.4 -- 18.0 -9.1 21.6 26.4 35.2 11.54
25 33 Nebraska 9.0 8.1 -6.7 7.2 -- 21.6 35.2 -- -10.9 18.0 22.0 11.50
26 27 Central Fla 14.4 8.8 22.0 -- -5.6 11.0 -- 22.0 8.1 -- 9.0 11.22
27 21 ND 6.3 -10.9 22.0 36.0 -6.7 40.0 -- 18.0 7.2 9.0 -9.1 11.18
28 32 Fresno St 18.0 5.4 -- 9.0 5.5 9.9 -- 12.6 11.0 10.8 13.2 10.60
29 31 Ga Tech 9.0 -- 30.8 18.0 -11.1 -10.9 -21.8 36.0 22.0 21.6 -- 10.40
30 30 Louisville 16.2 7.2 26.4 9.0 -- 7.7 21.6 -11.1 8.8 -- 7.7 10.39
31 24 Texas Tech 13.2 -- 18.0 12.6 -- 35.2 18.0 22.0 -4.5 -6.7 -15.6 10.25
32 37 Duke 8.1 13.2 -15.6 -11.1 9.0 -- 12.6 30.8 22.0 -- 21.6 10.07
33 26 Miami, FL 12.6 18.0 -- 9.0 7.7 21.6 -- 22.0 18.0 -6.4 -13.3 9.91
34 36 Minnesota 12.6 7.7 5.4 10.8 -13.3 -12.7 -- 22.0 21.6 22.0 21.6 9.76
35 28 BYU -9.1 43.2 -- -11.1 12.6 13.2 21.6 11.0 10.8 -- -4.5 9.74
36 29 Arizona 7.2 16.2 12.6 -- -10.9 -- -9.1 21.6 30.8 22.0 -6.7 9.30
37 44 Iowa -5.6 5.4 22.0 9.0 26.4 -6.7 -- -4.5 18.0 -6.7 30.8 8.82
38 38 Ball St 6.3 12.6 -18.2 8.8 9.0 30.8 9.0 7.7 10.8 -- 10.8 8.76
39 43 Va Tech -7.0 8.1 11.0 9.0 22.0 18.0 18.0 -- -11.1 -9.1 26.4 8.53
40 25 Michigan 16.2 21.6 9.0 5.5 -- 25.2 -9.1 21.6 -- -6.4 -11.1 8.06
41 40 Oregon St -44.4 5.4 22.0 11.0 25.2 -- 30.8 35.2 -6.7 -13.3 -- 7.24
42 48 Vanderbilt -5.6 7.2 -4.5 6.6 12.6 -7.8 -- 36.0 -7.3 -- 26.4 7.07
43 46 ECU 5.4 10.8 -11.1 -- 30.8 11.0 -18.2 8.1 -- 7.7 7.2 5.75
44 47 U La La -10.9 -12.7 9.0 11.0 -- 12.6 -- 13.2 13.2 5.4 9.0 5.53
45 55 Syracuse -9.1 -12.7 9.0 14.4 -- -8.9 26.4 -18.2 -- 21.6 26.4 5.43
46 49 Buffalo -5.5 -9.1 4.5 -- 7.8 6.3 8.8 6.3 13.2 -- 12.6 4.99
47 64 Kansas St -44.4 6.3 12.6 -4.5 -- -4.5 -5.6 -- 25.2 28.8 30.8 4.96
48 42 Florida 10.8 -9.1 -- 21.6 26.4 21.6 -5.5 -5.5 -- -5.0 -13.3 4.67
49 41 Houston 8.1 5.5 -- 11.0 17.6 -- 9.0 -22.2 17.6 10.8 -18.2 4.36
50 57 Pittsburgh -7.8 -- 12.6 22.0 21.6 -- -9.1 10.8 -18.2 -10.9 18.0 4.34
51 45 Maryland 7.2 14.4 6.6 32.0 -- -9.1 18.0 -12.7 -6.7 -- -13.3 4.04
52 39 Penn St 18.0 7.2 -11.1 14.4 -- -10.9 18.0 -- -8.2 18.0 -10.9 3.83
53 52 N'Western 26.4 25.2 12.6 5.4 -- -5.6 -6.4 -11.1 -9.1 -9.1 -- 3.15
54 59 BC 4.5 21.6 -12.7 -- -6.7 12.6 -4.5 -- -12.7 18.0 6.6 2.96
55 63 Cincinnati 25.2 -12.7 9.0 6.6 -- -36.4 5.4 6.3 -- 13.2 9.0 2.85
56 56 Wash St -4.5 22.0 7.2 8.1 -8.0 30.8 -15.6 -6.4 -- -8.9 -- 2.75
57 61 No Texas 7.2 -18.2 9.0 -6.4 -- -18.2 12.6 13.2 9.9 10.8 7.2 2.72
58 50 Miss St -5.5 8.1 -4.5 18.0 -- -8.9 9.0 -- 18.0 -5.5 -4.5 2.69
59 51 Utah 9.0 9.0 -11.1 11.0 -- -5.6 36.0 -10.9 -10.9 -- -5.6 2.33
60 75 UNC -5.5 10.8 -- -9.1 -31.1 -9.1 -- -11.1 25.2 22.0 28.8 2.33
61 62 Toledo -10.9 -5.5 5.4 15.4 -18.2 6.3 -- 9.0 11.0 7.2 -- 2.19
62 69 Marshall 7.2 9.0 -18.2 -9.1 -- 12.6 11.0 -- -18.2 8.1 16.2 2.07
63 54 Tennessee 8.1 12.6 -8.2 -10.9 9.0 -5.6 -- 36.0 -7.3 -6.4 -8.9 1.85
64 70 TCU -5.0 6.3 -9.1 -- 14.4 -4.5 18.0 -5.5 -7.8 -11.1 22.0 1.77
65 67 BGSU 12.6 13.2 -14.5 8.1 10.8 6.3 -9.1 -- -22.2 -- 9.9 1.67
66 65 Rice -6.4 -- 18.0 -22.2 9.0 11.0 11.0 7.7 7.2 -21.8 -- 1.50
67 58 WVU 4.5 -4.5 7.2 -16.0 36.0 -7.3 -- -11.1 -12.7 22.0 -5.6 1.25
68 53 Tulane 6.3 -22.2 11.0 14.5 13.2 9.0 9.0 -- 9.0 -21.8 -18.2 0.98
69 74 Indiana 7.2 -22.2 14.4 -6.7 -- 21.6 -5.5 -10.9 -- -11.1 21.6 0.94
70 66 Boise St -14.5 8.1 6.3 -18.2 9.0 -- 13.2 10.8 -21.8 13.2 -- 0.67
71 73 SJSU 6.3 -6.4 -- -10.9 -31.1 5.5 11.0 -- 9.0 11.0 9.0 0.38
72 72 ODU -21.8 -14.5 9.0 4.5 9.0 4.5 -- -10.9 5.5 9.0 7.7 0.19
73 77 Utah St -9.1 8.8 9.0 -9.1 15.4 -26.7 -26.7 17.6 -- 7.2 11.0 -0.25
74 71 Navy -- 22.0 8.1 -- -21.8 5.4 -12.7 -18.2 18.0 -9.1 5.4 -0.32
75 68 Wake 6.3 -10.9 -22.2 13.2 -8.2 21.6 -- 25.2 -9.1 -10.9 -11.1 -0.61
76 60 Ohio -16.4 9.0 9.0 7.2 -- 17.6 -22.2 7.7 6.3 -- -25.5 -0.80
77 88 Ark St 9.0 -6.4 9.0 -25.5 -6.4 -- 6.3 -- -26.7 11.0 15.4 -1.57
78 83 West Kent 11.0 -14.5 -18.2 8.1 10.8 15.4 -- -26.7 -22.2 6.6 11.0 -1.87
79 81 Rutgers -18.2 7.2 5.4 18.0 -- 11.0 -10.9 -- -35.6 4.5 -- -2.32
80 76 Illinois 4.5 25.2 -11.1 -- 7.2 -10.9 -- -7.8 -8.9 -9.1 -10.9 -2.42
81 89 MTSU 6.3 -10.9 11.0 11.0 -25.5 -22.2 -25.5 -- 9.0 11.0 8.1 -2.76
82 80 Texas St 5.5 6.3 -- -12.7 12.6 -25.5 -22.2 4.5 -- 6.6 -- -3.11
83 79 NC State 12.6 4.5 -- -6.7 14.4 -10.9 -13.3 -- -7.3 -11.1 -10.9 -3.19
84 84 Arkansas 10.8 4.5 6.3 -9.1 -6.7 -10.9 -10.0 -9.1 -- -6.7 -4.5 -3.54
85 91 Col St -13.3 -18.2 5.4 -6.4 5.4 -- -22.2 15.4 5.5 -26.7 12.6 -4.25
86 78 ULM -7.3 7.2 22.0 -9.1 -26.7 -31.1 11.0 -- 6.3 13.2 -31.1 -4.56
87 82 Troy 9.0 9.0 -18.2 -18.2 -9.1 9.0 5.5 -- 11.0 -26.7 -18.2 -4.68
88 93 UTSA 9.0 -7.8 -10.9 6.6 -35.6 -25.5 -22.2 -- 12.6 13.2 9.0 -5.15
89 87 Colorado 13.2 5.4 -- -- -12.7 -10.0 -10.0 7.2 -15.6 -6.4 -18.2 -5.23
90 86 UNLV -12.7 -16.4 9.0 7.2 13.2 -- 4.5 -25.5 11.0 -22.2 -22.2 -5.41
91 85 SMU -13.3 4.5 -- -6.4 -14.5 -11.1 -- 5.5 4.5 -- -18.2 -6.13
92 90 Kansas -- 5.4 -18.2 9.0 -- -17.8 -9.1 -6.7 -8.2 -6.4 -7.3 -6.57
93 94 Kentucky -22.2 7.2 -13.3 -- -13.3 -4.5 -10.0 -- -9.1 7.2 -8.9 -7.45
94 97 FAU -12.7 -21.8 6.6 -22.2 -18.2 13.2 -22.2 -- -7.3 10.8 -- -8.20
95 92 Wyoming -9.1 7.2 6.3 8.8 -25.5 -- 9.0 -31.1 -18.2 -- -26.7 -8.80
96 100 So Bama -44.4 11.0 9.0 -- -9.1 -18.2 -- 10.8 -- -22.2 -- -9.02
97 99 Virginia 9.0 -10.0 -- 8.1 -10.9 -31.1 -9.1 -15.6 -11.1 -10.0 -14.5 -9.52
98 96 Purdue -14.5 4.5 -11.1 -7.3 -7.8 -- -17.8 -5.5 -- -11.1 -15.6 -9.57
99 95 CMU -16.4 4.5 -22.0 -31.1 -14.5 6.6 11.0 -7.8 -- -- -21.8 -10.17
100 101 SDSU -62.2 -7.3 -- -11.1 5.5 9.0 5.5 -- -22.2 9.0 -18.2 -10.22
101 102 Cal -13.3 4.5 -6.7 -- -7.3 -15.6 -6.4 -17.8 -12.7 -11.1 -17.8 -10.41
102 98 Nevada -7.3 6.3 -9.1 6.3 4.5 -18.2 -- -21.8 -18.0 -21.8 -25.5 -10.45
103 108 La Tech -12.7 5.4 -22.2 -9.1 -31.1 5.5 -- -26.7 -- -- 6.3 -10.58
104 103 Iowa St -44.4 -- -11.1 -- 13.2 -5.6 -9.1 -9.1 -8.9 -14.5 -11.1 -11.18
105 104 Akron -14.5 4.5 -9.1 -22.2 -21.8 -35.6 -5.6 5.5 -26.7 9.0 -- -11.65
106 110 Memphis -- -13.3 -22.2 12.6 -- -11.1 -18.2 -22.2 -- -26.7 5.4 -11.97
107 111 New Mex -22.2 5.5 -12.7 -- -26.7 8.1 -18.2 -35.6 -- -18.2 4.5 -12.83
108 107 Kent St 4.5 -26.7 -7.3 -14.5 6.6 -6.7 -18.2 -21.8 -26.7 -18.2 -- -12.89
109 109 Army 5.4 -25.5 -6.7 -13.3 15.4 -12.7 6.3 -43.6 -- -43.6 -22.2 -14.06
110 105 Tulsa -25.5 9.0 -7.3 -- -13.3 -22.2 6.6 -- -18.2 -26.7 -29.1 -14.07
111 106 UAB -18.2 -7.3 -- 6.3 -12.7 -26.7 5.5 -- -25.5 -22.2 -32.7 -14.83
112 113 USF -71.1 -5.5 -26.7 -- -15.6 18.0 5.5 -- -17.8 -21.8 -- -16.86
113 117 EMU 4.5 -14.5 -10.9 -35.6 -- -25.5 -25.5 -31.1 -7.3 -29.1 4.5 -17.04
114 112 Air Force 6.3 -35.6 -25.5 -35.6 -18.2 -21.8 -22.2 -- -14.5 10.8 -18.2 -17.44
115 114 Temple -12.7 -22.2 -44.4 -- -18.2 -15.6 -21.8 10.8 -18.2 -18.2 -- -17.83
116 116 UMass -8.2 -44.4 -12.7 -13.3 -- -25.5 4.5 -25.5 -36.4 -10.0 -- -19.05
117 115 UTEP -- -22.2 7.7 -26.7 -21.8 -22.2 -26.7 -- -29.1 -8.2 -29.1 -19.81
118 119 Hawai'i -13.3 -10.9 -- -25.5 -22.2 -22.2 -18.2 -- -22.2 -29.1 -21.8 -20.61
119 118 Idaho -29.1 -29.1 -5.6 -16.4 4.5 -40.0 -25.5 -- -8.2 -26.7 -31.1 -20.70
120 121 NMSU -8.2 -15.6 -62.2 -8.2 -22.2 -32.7 -- -31.1 4.5 -21.8 -13.3 -21.09
121 120 WMU -5.5 -44.4 -12.7 -18.2 -26.7 -25.5 -35.6 -31.1 5.5 -- -36.4 -23.05
122 123 FIU -14.5 -17.8 -62.2 -18.2 -- 5.5 -22.2 -- -- -31.1 -32.7 -24.16
123 122 Mi (OH) -29.1 -14.5 -- -13.3 -14.5 -26.7 -36.4 -22.2 -25.5 -- -40.0 -24.69
124 124 UConn -53.3 -- -13.3 -11.1 -25.5 -- -44.4 -25.5 -16.4 -- -31.1 -27.58
125 126 So Miss -22.2 -16.4 -12.7 -- -36.4 -44.4 -- -32.7 -40.0 -32.7 -25.5 -29.23
126 125 Ga St -44.4 -62.2 -14.5 -44.4 -- -8.2 -22.2 -18.2 -25.5 -26.7 -- -29.60