Clemson situation is one fine mess

Clemson TigersThe final seconds hadn’t even run off the clock in the Tigers’ 21-17 defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, and already Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips could be seen screaming at his coaches down on the sidelines.

Phillips was the one who fired helped Tommy Bowden make his decision to resign earlier this week and replaced him with Dabo Swinney. The move looked like it would pay off when Clemson took a 17-14 lead deep into the fourth quarter, but a late GA Tech touchdown sent Tiger fans home with yet another defeat.

The scene on the sidelines at the end of the game paints an ugly picture for Clemson’s current situation. There’s no doubt Bowden had to be replaced (his own brother said so after it happened), but Phillips and the rest of the big wigs in the program need to realize that change won’t happen overnight.

Although he got way to cute with his play calling on Saturday, Swinney did a nice job rallying the troops in the wake of Bowden’s firing. Given what was said by a couple of the players in the media this week, it appears that the locker room had been divided. But given the circumstances, Swinney kept things in order and deserves a chance to turn the Tigers’ misfortunes around this season.

Or at the very least, deserves the respect of not being lashed at on national television by an AD who should be nowhere near the sidelines at the end of a game. (Although to be fair, nobody knows at this point why Phillips was yelling at his coaches. Maybe he was upset that the concession stand ran out of Diet Coke?)

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Tommy Bowden fired as head coach of Clemson

The University of Clemson has fired head coach Tommy Bowden.

Tommy BowdenClemson football coach Tommy Bowden has been fired, South Carolina television station WYFF reports.
Assistant head coach Dabo Swinney will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season, the news station reports.

The Tigers opened with a 34-10 loss to Alabama and are now 3-3 (1-2 in ACC play). Bowden was firmly on the hot seat after a loss to Maryland Sept. 27, and a loss on Thursday to Wake Forest turned up the heat.

Bowden also was questioned over benching staring quarterback Cullen Harper in favor of redshirt freshman Willy Korn.

Bowden signed a contract extension in December that would have kept him at Clemson through 2014. It is believed that Clemson will owe Bowden $4 million after terminating that contract early, but financial details surrounding the coach’s departure were not announced.

Bowden has a 72-45 record at Clemson with eight bowl appearances. The Tigers were No. 9 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll and were expected to compete for the ACC championship, which would have been their first, in Bowden’s 10th season as coach.

It was bound to happen. Clemson has underachieved under Bowden for years and it was only a matter of time before the program had to make a change. Bowden’s attempt to replace Harper with Korn was a last ditch effort to save his job. What Harper really needs is for his young offensive line to gel and significantly better coaching.

Nick Saban has Alabama fans smiling

Was anyone really surprised when Clemson folded like a house of cards against Alabama on Saturday night? Did anyone really think Tommy Bowden wouldn’t find a way to blow it against Nick Saban? From the first series, it was clear that Alabama meant business, and Clemson just didn’t have the fire to compete.

We already knew Saban was a great college coach, but now we know he also has some real talent.

Stewart Mandel explains that Terrence Cody will likely be a star.

That Alabama may have the next Glenn Dorsey on its hands. Tide fans spent the offseason drooling in anticipation over the arrival of freshman WR Julio Jones, and while Jones did not disappoint in his debut, the truly astonishing newcomer was defensive tackle Terrence Cody. Clemson’s offensive line had no answer for the freakish 6-foot-5, 365-pound junior college transfer, who could be seen storming into the Tigers’ backfield over and over. Clemson’s vaunted rushing attack netted zero — yes, zero — total yards.

With such a rare combination of size and speed, Cody — who, as legend has it, began the year nearly 30 pounds heavier yet could be seen on the basketball court “dunking and doing 360s with the ball,” Tide center Antoine Caldwell said this summer — looks like the same kind of one-man wrecking crew as the former LSU star. Foes will have no choice to double or triple-team him, which, in ‘Bama’s 3-4 scheme, frees up all kinds of gaps for the linebackers.

We knew it was just a matter of time before Saban had Alabama back on track. We’ll see how much damage they can do this year.

Alabama stuns Clemson 34-10

No. 24 Alabama thrashed No. 9 Clemson 34-10 in Atlanta Saturday night.

“Nobody can be satisfied with a one-game performance,” Saban said. “This will be a challenge for our team and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond.”

Still, as the Alabama band broke into Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” at the end, you had to wonder if they were honoring the Crimson Tide’s past, with 12 national titles and years of dominance in the Southeastern Conference under Bear Bryant, or gazing into the near future.

Tide QB John Parker Wilson was outstanding, throwing for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 22 of 30 passing. But Bama won this game by getting up early and completely taking away Clemson’s dynamic rushing attack. C.J. Spiller and James Davis came into the season as one of the best backfield tandems in the nation. But collectively they only rushed for 20 yards on eight carries. Outside of Spiller’s 96-yard kickoff return in the second half, the Tide owned the Tigers in every facet of the game.

Looks like Saban is turning around Alabama’s program in just a few short years while Clemson continues to underachieve under Tommy Bowden. Alabama is a very improved program, but this loss is rather devastating to a Clemson team that was supposed to have an outside shot at a BCS title appearance. Game of the Week: Clemson vs. Alabama

Cory McCartney breaks down the Clemson-Alabama contest –’s Game of the Week in college football.

Three Things You Should Care About

C.J. Spiller1.Clemson has tons of talent and tons of hype. Can it live up to its billing? The Tigers head into the Georgia Dome with their highest preseason ranking since 1991 and 15 returning starters, including James Davis, Cullen Harper and C.J. Spiller, who finished 1-2-3 in the ACC preseason Player of the Year voting.

2. Ladies and gentlemen, Julio Jones is in the building. There’s no arguing with the recruiting prowess of Nick Saban, who has brought in recruiting classes ranked 10th and first in two seasons at Alabama. The latest class includes five-star wide receiver/kick returner Julio Jones and linebacker Don’ta Hightower, both of whom who will be in the starting lineup Saturday.

3. Atlanta and the Crimson Tide: two things that don’t bode well for the Tigers. Since Clemson joined the ACC in 1953, Hotlanta has been a city of horrors for the Tigers, who are 7-31-1 all-time in the Georgia capital. That figure includes trips to conference foe Georgia Tech and the Peach/Chick-fil-A Bowl, where the Tigers are 1-6. Since 1992 that bowl has been played in the Georgia Dome — where they’ll face the Tide on Saturday.

The Pick:
Clemson 24, Alabama 14. It would be a colossal disappointment for Bowden and the ACC if the conference’s best team choked in a high-profile opener. But it’s not going to happen. These Tigers are out to prove they’re beyond tripping on their own feet, and a win in an atmosphere that will be the closest they’ve seen to a BCS game would be a solid start. Clemson’s rebuilt offensive line could be an issue, but with so many weapons at the Tigers’ disposal, getting in the backfield may not help ‘Bama anyway.

This is a great test for Clemson, who always seems to underachieve under Tommy Bowden at one point during the season. This is the most talented Clemson team Bowden has had so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his team focused to not only make a run at the ACC crown, but also a national championship.

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