Clemson at Wake Forest
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Clemson Tiger football coach Tommy Bowden cannot lose another game in the 2008 season - period. If he does, he will be fired. His Tigers, whom many thought would be a national factor in this, his ninth season, have lost two of their opening five games, and are one conference loss away from assuring themselves of their 17th straight season without the ACC Championship Trophy for the sport of football calling Clemson, SC home. This, and every game the rest of the way in 2008 for Clemson, and for Bowden, is do-or-die.
The same can be said of Wake Forest, who is coming off of an improbable loss to Navy. The Deacons are not the least bit worried about any kind of Clemson streak (or lack of) in the ACC history books. They have their own goals, and Clemson is the latest team in their way to making it back to the BCS. But with all-world kicker Sam Swank doubtful, and the media on the ready to dismiss an ACC “basketball school” if a second consecutive loss were to go down, WFU is also in a do-or-die situation. The two teams come in with totally mediocre national rankings:
The two teams come in with totally mediocre national rankings:
Total offense – CU, 50th (386 ypg), Wake, 85th (328 ypg)
Total defense – Wake, 26th (293 ypg), CU, 36th (316 ypg)
Scoring offense - CU, 42nd (31 ppg), Wake, 69th (25 ppg)
Scoring defense – CU, 21st (16 ppg ), Wake, 28th (17 ppg)
Turnover margin – Wake, 5th (plus 1.5), CU 79th (minus .4)
3rd down conversions - Wake 89th (34 percent), 101st CU (32 percent)
So what will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. One side of me knows that Tommy Bowden’s seat is so hot that his team will be fighting for his job and will come out swinging. But, another side of me says that there is a good reason he is in this predicament after nine years in Clemson; he just isn’t a very good coach. His teams lack a true game-plan and any kind of killer instinct. He recruits great, but Bowden cannot X and O.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, is well-coached and fundamentally sound. Yes, they slipped against Navy, but I can’t let myself sit here and type this and think there is some reason that CU will be able to get the job done against Wake Forest. I have supported Bowden for nine years, but my faith has run out. I would love nothing more than to see the Tigers open a can up tonight and put Wake in their place. And I see no reason why that can’t happen. The talent is there – no doubt about it. But for the first time in my life, I have to go with my brain over my heart, and it is not easy. I truly hope I am wrong about this, but I see WFU getting the win. CJ Spiller and James Davis are great players, but the problem is that Bowden and OC Rob Spence don’t get them the ball enough for them to make a difference.
(I pray I’m wrong, but...)
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