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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The Countdown

No. 24: Clemson

There are three Clemsons inside of Clemson, each battling the other for supremacy, and it’s become customary to see at least two of the three over the course of a single season – like last fall, for example. First, there’s Title Contender Clemson: you saw these Tigers over the year’s first eight games and in the A.C.C. title game, when it knocked off Virginia Tech to win the program’s first conference title in 20 years. Then there’s Clemson Being Clemson, a team that lays an egg against Georgia Tech, committing four turnovers in a 14-point loss, or one that nearly plays down to its competition before sneaking a three-point win past Wake Forest – we all know this Clemson. Then there’s My God, Clemson, the team that fails to show up for a rivalry game against the Gamecocks, or the one that allows West Virginia to break the speed limit in a 70-33 Orange Bowl loss. Which Clemson shows up in 2012 – rather, which Clemson shows up more than the others in 2012?

Atlantic Coast, Atlantic

Clemson, S.C.


Returning starters
14 (7 offense, 7 defense)

Last year’s ranking
No. 37

2011 record
(10-4, 6-2)

Last year’s

No. 21

2012 schedule

  • Sept. 1
    vs. Auburn (in Atlanta)
  • Sept. 8
    Ball St.
  • Sept. 15
  • Sept. 22
    at Florida St.
  • Sept. 29
    at Boston College
  • Oct. 6
    Georgia Tech
  • Oct. 20
    Virginia Tech
  • Oct. 25
    at Wake Forest
  • Nov. 3
    at Duke
  • Nov. 10
  • Nov. 17
    N.C. St.
  • Nov. 24
    South Carolina

Last year’s prediction

Yeah, I’m pretty high on Chad Morris. I hesitate to call him a savior for Swinney and the Tigers, but I can say that Clemson could not have done any better in its offensive coordinator hire. I think he can do wonders for this offense – once he gets some pieces in place. Defensively, there’s no ignoring the holes left by the departure of several all-A.C.C. starters. But I think Clemson will take a nice step forward off last season, potentially winning eight games in the regular season if the offense takes a solid step forward, as expected. Morris is too good a coach not to find Clemson at least rising into the middle of the pack in the A.C.C. on offense, and even if the defense takes a slight step back that should find the Tigers in second place in the Atlantic division.

2011 recap

In a nutshell An interesting team, and a team that when on its game could have played with anyone in college football. You saw good Clemson early – no, you saw great Clemson early, when the Tigers opened with eight straight wins. And these weren’t cheap wins: Auburn was one, Florida State another, and just when you thought you had the Tigers pegged as an outscore-you-over-60-minutes team, they put together an absolute gem of a game against Virginia Tech in early October. By and large, outside of the Hokies, this was a team that won games with a breathtakingly rejuvenated offense – one led by new coordinator Chad Morris, who was everything Clemson expected and more. But the year turned once the offense hit just the slightest snag of difficulty over the second half, lifting the curtain on a defense that ranks as one of the worst in program history.

High point The 38-10 win over Virginia Tech in the conference championship game was the most meaningful. But there was no beating this three-week stretch from September through October: Auburn at home, snapping the Tigers’ winning streak; Florida State at home, though the Seminoles were undermanned at quarterback; and the Hokies on the road. The win in Blacksburg was one of Clemson’s most impressive victories in years and years.

Low point You wouldn’t think it could get worse than South Carolina, but there was still the Orange Bowl to play, and Clemson found a new low. The only thing lower than the Tigers’ own low? The jokes. It’s been eight months. Let’s move on.

Tidbit Not coincidentally, Clemson’s A.C.C. title last fall was its first since Florida State joined the league in 1992 – the Tigers won the conference title in 1991, in fact, before failing to get back to the top over the following 19 seasons. Clemson now joins a select group of teams that have at least shared the A.C.C. title since the Seminoles joined the party in 1992: Virginia (1995), Georgia Tech (1998 and 2009), Maryland (2001), Virginia Tech (2004, 2007-8, 2010) and Wake Forest (2006).

Tidbit (70 points edition) The Tigers were one of four F.B.S. teams to allow 70 or more points in a game, and one of two B.C.S. conference teams to do so. The other was Kansas, which gave up 70 points against Oklahoma State in October. Houston was responsible for other two 70-point games – 73-point games, to be exact. The Cougars dropped 73 points on Rice on Oct. 27 and, two weeks later, did the same to Tulane.

Tidbit (Carolinas edition) There are six F.B.S. programs located in North and South Carolina, not counting Clemson. The Tigers will play four of the six this fall: South Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest. Counting last fall, when they beat North Carolina, the Tigers will have played five of the six over a two-year span. The one holdover is East Carolina; the Tigers and Pirates have never met on the football field. Clemson has dominated those local teams it has played, however, holding a commanding lead over each its Carolina rivals: 35-16-1 against Duke, 35-19-1 against U.N.C., 51-28-1 over N.C. State, 59-17-1 against Wake Forest and, most of all, 65-40-4 over the Gamecocks.

Former players in the N.F.L.

33 TE Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis), OG Thomas Austin (Houston), DE Da’Quan Bowers (Tampa Bay), DE Andre Branch (Jacksonville), LB Kourtnei Brown (San Francisco), CB Crezdon Butler (Arizona), DE Miguel Chavis (Pittsburgh), S Chris Clemons (Miami), LB Kavell Conner (Indianapolis), DT Jamie Cumbie (Oakland), DE Maurice Fountain (Philadelphia), CB Marcus Gilchrist (San Diego), WR Tyler Grisham (Denver), OT Chris Hairston (Buffalo), RB Jamie Harper (Tennessee), LB Leroy Hill (Seattle), DE Jarvis Jenkins (Washington), CB Byron Maxwell (Seattle), OG Antoine McClain (Baltimore), DE Phillip Merling (Green Bay), CB Justin Miller (Detroit), DT Rennie Mooer (Houston), TE Michael Palmer (Atlanta), OT Barry Richardson (St. Louis), DE Ricky Sapp (New York Jets), DT Darell Scott (St. Louis), CB Coty Sensabaugh (Tennessee), RB C.J. Spiller (Buffalo), DT Brandon Thompson (Cincinnati), QB Charlie Whitehurst (San Diego), P Dawson Zimmerman (Atlanta).

Arbitrary top five list

Big Three athletes whose last name begins Clem-
1. SP Roger Clemens.
2. OF Roberto Clemente.
3. CB Nate Clements.
4. DE Duane Clemons.
5. SP Matt Clement.


Dabo Swinney (Alabama ’93), 29-19 at Clemson. Swinney was called upon after the first six games of 2008, when he replaced Tommy Bowden, fired after nearly a decade with the program. Though he inherited a difficult situation – Clemson, the preseason A.C.C. favorite, had floundered during a 3-3 start – Swinney imbued the team with a much-needed dose of energy and enthusiasm. After losing his debut, Swinney and the Tigers rolled off three consecutive wins to end the regular season, and salvaged some momentum by reaching the program’s first January bowl game since the 2003 season. That momentum carried over to 2009. Though Clemson had trouble with Georgia Tech and lost to in-state rival South Carolina, Swinney and his staff did a solid job leading the Tigers to nine wins, tying a program high since 1990. Swinney also achieved something Bowden could not: win an Atlantic division title. He’s since added an A.C.C. title, meaning that Swinney should be considered Clemson’s most accomplished head coach since Danny Ford. Swinney has been at Clemson since 2003, coaching the receivers from 2003-6 before adding the assistant head coach duties to his title prior to the 2007 season. Swinney also took on the offensive coordinator position when he was tabbed as the interim head coach, leading the Tigers to an average of 23.9 points per game over the final seven games of the year. His only assistant experience before Clemson came at his alma mater, Alabama, where he served for eight seasons (1993-2000) under two different head coaches – Gene Stallings, whom he played under, and Mike DuBose. With the Tide, Swinney was a graduate assistant (1993-95), wide receivers and tight ends coach (1996-97) and wide receivers coach (1998-2000). There is no doubt that Swinney would have returned to Alabama as one of Nick Saban’s lead assistants had he not been named Clemson’s full-time coach at the end of the 2008 season. Clemson blessed its good fortune at first, slid back to irrelevance in 2010 but bounced back in a big way last fall, taking Swinney well off the hot seat heading into his fourth full season as Clemson’s head coach.

Players to watch

I fell in love with Chad Morris long ago – platonic love – when a local clued me into a fast-rising young coach working wonders on the Texas high school ranks; Clemson fell in love with Morris’ calm and cool demeanor last October, when he led the Tigers through a choppy start against Maryland before turning on the jets in the second half – scoring 56 points, a program-high against an A.C.C. foe since scoring 59 points against Duke in 2001. Sometimes, these things just work out: Clemson needed new direction on offense, and there was Morris, ready to be had. He’s now making about $1.3 million per season, thanks to a significant pay raise in December, one that should keep Morris in town until another program offers a head coaching position, which should come soon.

But Morris is the man – he’s the best offensive coordinator in college football. What he preaches to his offense is belief: believe in me, believe in my system, believe that when our best meets their best, my system is going to give us the upper hand. And that was the case for much of last season, outside of the late downturn, and will continue to be the case in 2012 if the Tigers can solve the riddle that is this offensive line. While the line retools, Clemson can take solace in the fact that Morris is still around, as are the sort of skill players that can take his planning and turn it into something special.

This is an offense that returns three first-team all-A.C.C. players but loses a fourth in would-be seniors tight end Dwayne Allen, who opted to forego his final season of eligibility. That provides a touch of gloom to an otherwise fabulous receiver corps, though Clemson does return an experienced tight end in senior Brandon Ford (14 receptions for 166 yards), who stepped right into a bigger role during the spring – he won’t be Allen, but Ford has proven himself to be a solid red zone target over the last two seasons.

The passing game is all about sophomore Sammy Watkins (83 for 1,225 and 12 touchdowns), who needed all of three games to cement his place among the elite wide receivers in the country. Few true freshman in the history of college football have compiled a rookie season quite like Watkins’, who was, in a word, special. He set Clemson records for receptions and touchdowns; he set school freshman records across the board; he changed games on special teams, dominating opponents in the return game; and simply impacted the game in ways most receivers don’t, and did it all as a true freshman. Finally: Watkins was the fourth true freshman in college football history to earn all-American honors from The Associated Press, joining Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson. His career will follow the same path.

The sky is the limit – for every game after Ball State, that is. Watkins will be suspended for this season’s first two games, against Auburn and the Cardinals, for his May arrest on misdemeanor charges of drug possession. While Watkins will be back up to his old tricks by Furman, Clemson will need junior Nuke Hopkins (71 for 961) and senior Jaron Brown (31 for 406) to pick up the slack over the first two games. In another world, Hopkins is Clemson’s go-to target and all-American candidate; in reality, he’s one of the best second bananas in the country. Keep an eye on a few freshmen and sophomores working their way into a bigger role, like Martavis Bryant (9 for 221), Adam Humphries (15 for 130), Charone Peak and Germone Hopper.

Depth at running back isn’t outstanding, especially with would-be sophomore Mike Bellamy departing the program over the summer, so Clemson can’t afford to lose senior Andre Ellington (1,178 yards and 10 scores), the unheralded star of last year’s offense. Lost in the shuffle behind Clemson’s fireworks and Watkins’ explosion, Ellington put together the season most expected after he played so well as C.J. Spiller’s backup as a freshman. Whether Ellington finds as much success behind a new-look line is in question, but don’t look for Morris to stray away from last season’s balanced attack – in fact, look for Clemson to place an even greater emphasis on running the football effectively. With Bellamy gone, Clemson will turn the backup job over to sophomore D.J. Howard (230 yards) and junior Roderick McDowell. Another option is true freshman Zac Brooks, who will start his career in the backfield.

And then there’s quarterback Tajh Boyd, the point man for this offense and a Heisman contender heading into his junior season. He fits this system like a glove: Boyd, a spread-based quarterback in high school, is the latest Morris production, and the symbol of all that went right with the Tigers a year ago – a question mark heading into September, not to mention a bit of an enigma, Boyd went into the offseason owning the finest season by a quarterback in school history. Records ticked off clockwork, from most passing yards (3,828) to most touchdowns (33) to completions (298) and total offense (4,046), not to mention an A.C.C.-record 38 total touchdowns. When the dust cleared, Boyd was the program’s first first-team all-conference quarterback in more than a half-century.

Year two under Morris will find Boyd playing with even greater consistency. His completion percentage will improve. He’ll make fewer of the bad decisions that plagued his second half. An increased comfort level in this offense will lead to increased comfort in the pocket, which should in turn lead to more big plays downfield. It’s important to remember that despite his success, Boyd entered last season with 63 career attempts; he enters September with 562 career attempts, and you’ll see this added experience manifest itself in a monster season. If Clemson can amend some issues on both lines and take home the A.C.C., look for Boyd to be right there in the Heisman conversation.

There was no way defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was going to return after the Orange Bowl, not even if Swinney and Clemson wanted him back in the fold – which they didn’t; even if they had, the remainder of Steele’s stay with the Tigers would have been defined by his defense’s meltdown against the Mountaineers. His replacement, Brent Venables, spent the last 12 seasons at Oklahoma, the final eight as the Sooners’ lone coordinator after sharing those duties with Mike Stoops from 1999-2004. He became available not merely because Clemson anted up to entice the move, but also because the second Stoops was coming back to Norman – Venables had done too much at O.U. to justify a step back to co-defensive coordinator.

So he’s now with the Tigers, taking with him the same blitzing, attacking, aggressive scheme the Sooners ran to such great effect over its most recent revival as a national power. One thing you love about Venables’ system is that it’s far simpler than the one Steele used with the Tigers; it’s far more instinctual, especially in terms of its pre-snap machinations. Instead of shuffling this way and that, as they did under Steele, the Tigers will stand back, stay fairly still, and attack. This is doubly true for Clemson’s linebackers, who will love playing downhill under Venables.

The changes will test this entire defense, however. It’s akin to the situation Morris undertook a year ago: Venables, given a broken product, will attempt to rebuild Clemson’s defense on the fly. If Venables is as successful as Morris was, well, the Tigers could win the national title. It’s more likely a situation where there’s a better, simpler, more efficient scheme in place but Clemson still needs time to make the necessary adjustments. Even if the system is easier to grasp, you need to take into account the idea that it’s still a new system, and there will be a learning curve.

Venables’ first order of business will be rebuilding Clemson’s pass rush. The Tigers lost three linemen: Andre Branch at end and Rennie Moore and Brandon Thompson inside – probably the most unrecognized line trio in the country, though Branch’s skills as an edge rusher did garner him some all-American accolades. This new-look line will need a big year out of senior Malliciah Goodman (59 tackles, 2.0 sacks), a bigger end with next-level skills who must learn to seal the deal; while a proven pass rusher, in a sense – he had 14 quarterback hurries last fall, fourth-most on the team – Goodman needs to replace a strong portion of Branch’s lost production.

He’ll be joined at end by sophomore Corey Crawford (29 tackles), last year’s top reserve at the position. While Clemson is set at end, the staff is still looking at four interior linemen, all sophomores, for two starting spots. There are some big shoes to fill here: Branch got some headlines for his play, but both Thompson and Moore were supremely productive as seniors. One of the four linemen, DeShawn Williams (20 tackles), should start the season opener; he was impressive last fall, albeit in a smaller role, and has good-enough size and a low center of gravity, making him harder for offensive linemen to handle. The new nose guard should be Grady Jarrett, who has about 25 pounds on his competition, Tavaris Barnes. Even if one of two true freshmen impress during fall camp, this is a young, inexperienced group replacing two veterans; there’s going to be a decline in production at tackle and along the entire line.

Clemson returns all three starting linebackers – now watch the youngsters step up and push all three into reserve roles. One thing that’s assured: sophomore Stephone Anthony (32 tackles, 6.0 for loss) is going to get the full-time nod in the middle. That will push senior Corico Wright (80 tackles, 5.0 for loss) – he changed his last name from Hawkins to Wright over the summer – into a three-man competition on the weak side, with Wright battling senior Jonathan Willard (75 tackles) and sophomore Tony Steward, who is on the road to recovery after last season’s A.C.L. tear. Junior Quandon Christian (36 tackles) returns for another season on the strong side, but you’ll see him pop off the field whenever Venables wants to add a fifth defensive back.

As noted earlier, linebackers are going to love playing under Venables, who will also coach the position. Forget about staying back on your heels, directing traffic and reacting to the flow of the offense: Venables wants to attack, attack, attack, and at no position more so than at linebacker. There will be no drifting, just downhill motion towards the line of scrimmage. This requires a certain breed of linebacker, however; it requires speed and ferocity, and that’s something the younger linebackers have in spades. Anthony is one player to watch not only in the A.C.C. but nationally, in my mind, and Steward could be a weapon on the weak side if he regains his prior form.

It wasn’t just West Virginia. Teams swamped Clemson deep all season despite the Tigers’ nice pass rush, though the breakdowns in the secondary only became truly evident on a national level once the Tigers took the field against the Mountaineers. Merely toning down the complexity of last year’s defense will help the Tigers cut down on the big plays, but it’s clear that Venables and defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison need to aim beyond that point – with the pass rush a bit of a question mark, the Tigers must take a significant step forward when it comes to defending the pass.

And they’ll do so if the staff can find answers at cornerback. It’s on the outside that Clemson might be looking for help from two members of its recruiting class, Travis Blanks and Ronald Geohagan – the latter will start at cornerback, while Blanks should earn immediate playing time as one of Clemson’s nickel backs. The top two cornerbacks heading into September are sophomore Bashaud Breeland (53 tackles, 2 interceptions) and junior Darius Robinson, though it’s entirely possible that another option, junior Martin Jenkins (27 tackles), moves ahead of Robinson and into the starting lineup – in fact, based on the way he played last fall, I’d say that Jenkins is the better option.

While the cornerbacks are young, Clemson’s crew of safeties is as seasoned as any group in the country. It’s a nice problem: Venables and Harbison have three solid starters for two spots. The depth may come in handy early, if senior Rashard Hall (89 tackles, 2 interceptions) continues to be slowed by offseason knee surgery. When he returns – and he should be back shortly – Hall will reclaim his starting role at free safety, renewing the battle between seniors Jonathan Meeks (61 tackles, 3 interceptions) and Xavier Brewer (60 tackles) at the strong spot.

I love Clemson’s potential at linebacker. I’m slightly less crazy about what the Tigers can do in the secondary, where there’s a clear lack of star power – not that the Tigers need stars, but they do need defensive backs who will play with greater consistency than a season ago. Part of that will come with time and with experience in the system, but don’t look for a night-and-day improvement from the start. Now, the big issue is the line, as is the case on offense, and Clemson will fall apart at the seams if the front four can’t stop the run or bring pressure by itself on third down.

There are few teams more dynamic in the return game, thanks to Watkins and Hopkins. Clemson also has the athletes to provide strong coverage support on both punts and kickoffs, though the Tigers did suffer more than a few breakdowns last fall. With kicker Chandler Catanzaro back in the fold – and he just keeps getting better – the only piece missing from last year’s group is punter Dawson Zimmerman, who will be replaced by senior Spencer Benton, who doubles as the team’s kickoff specialist.

Position battle(s) to watch

Offensive line Clemson has enough talent at the skill positions to make your jaw drop – and your blood pressure rise, if you’re a defensive coordinator – but the Tigers lack depth and experience up front. An already troubling situation grew more dire earlier this week, when would-be starting right tackle Gifford Timothy suffered a meniscus tear that could sideline him into September, though Swinney is hopeful to get Timothy back in the lineup for the season opener. He’s just one lineman, and a new starter at that, but Timothy’s injury has the dominoes falling: Joe Gore is the backup, and a player Swinney hopes takes well to a starting role, but if Gore fails the Tigers might have no choice but to move all-everything center Dalton Freeman out to the strong side – and Clemson does not want to do that.

The line needs to be rebuilt around Freeman, a reigning first-team all-A.C.C. pick and, in my mind, one of the top three centers in the country. Even if the staff is confident in redshirt freshman Ryan Norton’s ability to start in the middle should Freeman move, the Tigers absolutely need Freeman’s consistency, experience and leadership at center. The only other returning starter up front is junior Brandon Thomas, who shifts over from left guard to left tackle; he was last year’s backup on the blind side, but only saw time at guard. Thomas will be replaced by sophomore Kalon Davis, who could be an impact player in the running game. As of today, Clemson’s starting right guard is former defensive tackle Tyler Shatley, who took well to his new role during the spring.

The warning signs are there, live and in color, and Clemson needs to find a solution fast – like, by mid-August. The only secure spot is center; Thomas is playing a new position, and he’s a better fit inside; Davis hasn’t played; Shatley’s moving to a new side of the ball; and Timothy, even if he’s healthy, played less than 50 snaps last fall. And there’s no proven depth whatsoever, especially inside. Want to waste the talent of players like Boyd, Watkins, Hopkins and Ellington? Then don’t block up front. This is a concern – especially when Clemson’s four biggest games come against Auburn, Virginia Tech, Florida State and South Carolina. I’d put those four defensive lines among the top eight nationally.

Game(s) to watch

As just noted, Clemson’s four biggest games come against Auburn, Florida State, Virginia Tech and South Carolina. Auburn’s big because it’s an event game, a season opener played under the bright lights, and it’s a chance for the Tigers – both Tigers, in fact – to make a national statement. Clemson will be playing both for an automatic and an at-large B.C.S. bid, and a win there is essentially for the team’s at-large hopes. The game against Florida State decides the Atlantic. The third date with the Hokies in a calendar year is another game with A.C.C. and national implications. And then there’s South Carolina, which is always meaningful. On the plus side, Clemson gets three very winnable A.C.C. road games against Duke, Boston College and Wake Forest, and also gets Georgia Tech and N.C. State at home.

Season breakdown & prediction

In a nutshell It’s hard to win national championships, let alone compete for national titles, when you don’t control the line of scrimmage – it’s hard to compete for conference titles, in fact. Unless Clemson gets steady play on its offensive and defensive lines, this is a flawed team. It’s a team with almost unbelievable coaching and speed on offense, from Morris to Boyd to Watkins on down, but this system and its explosive pieces simply won’t be as explosive as they can be if the Tigers don’t open up lanes on the ground and protect the passer. To say that the offensive line is a concern would be an understatement. Likewise on defense, where Venables looks to rally an inexperienced and thin group around one potential all-conference pick, Goodman. You see the similarities: Clemson has Freeman on offense and Goodman on defense – but question marks surround both pairs.

Then there’s the inevitable learning curve as the defense moves into Venables’ system. While there’s absolutely no question that he’s a coaching upgrade, not merely today but in the long term – and while his defense is much simpler than Steele’s – the Tigers are going to need some time to come together as a group. This is especially true in the secondary. What will help matters is that the Tigers get Ball State and Furman between Auburn and Florida State, which should give this group some time to come together before hitting the heart of A.C.C. play. While not a Morris-level hire, Venables was a really nice pickup for Swinney and the Tigers.

Enough bad news. The good news for the Tigers is that the only thing missing is steady line play. If the offensive line comes together, this team should end the year as the second-best team in the A.C.C. – behind Florida State, I should add. If both the offensive and defensive line comes together there’s no reason why Clemson can’t make a run at both the league title or an at-large B.C.S. bid. That’s how good this offense can be, and that’s how much better this defense could be under Venables. But the reality of the situation is that you can’t win titles with these sort of question marks, especially on offense, and there are four defensive lines on this schedule that could really give the Tigers fits. Barring unexpectedly strong play up front, Clemson does not look built to defend its A.C.C. title.

Dream season Clemson’s offensive line is one of the great surprises in college football. This group helps lead the way for a top-five offense, not surprisingly, but the Tigers’ biggest improvement can be found on defense. Clemson augments a top offense with a stout and steady defense, which helps land a second straight A.C.C. title and another B.C.S. berth.

Nightmare season The Tigers lose the big four games and another pair to Georgia Tech and N.C. State, falling from the top of the Atlantic to 6-6 and barely in bowl play.

In case you were wondering

Where do Clemson fans congregate? Solid message board chatter can be found at CUTigers.com, Tigers Illustrated and Tiger Net. For a blog’s take, check out Shakin the Southland, which is great. Here are three new additions: The Orange Kool Aid, Eye on the Tigers and Seldom Used Reserve. Finally, check out Greg Wallace of the Anderson Independent-Mail and Orange and White.

Clemson’s all-name nominee OG Tyler Shatley.

Word Count

Through 101 teams 409,727.

Up Next

Who is No. 23? The namesake of tomorrow’s university shares his first name with an administrator whose nomination for a governmental post in 1949 was rejected by the Senate.

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  1. Scott Wallace says:

    19 days to game day.

  2. TresselBall says:

    Well it ain’t Brutus unless were talking the Senate of antiquity :) Which 1949 might be to some people.

  3. BYU says:

    BYU is next.

  4. Leland Olds says:

    Stanford is next.

  5. Ezra says:

    (Leland) Stanford’s university is next. Leland Olds’s nomination to a third term on the Federal Power Commission was blocked by the senate (LBJ was the chief mover against him) in ’49.

    Thanks, Bing.

  6. JMM says:

    Stanford. Seems like the only place left that was named after someone; don’t know who the other Leland is though.

  7. Leland Olds says:

    Sorry Ezra, I got here first. ;)

  8. Cosmo says:

    No byu yet? They’d be overrated at 40.

  9. [...] This is freakin’ brilliant. There are three Clemsons inside of Clemson, each battling the other for supremacy, and it’s become customary to see at least two of the three over the course of a single season – like last fall, for example. First, there’sTitle Contender Clemson: you saw these Tigers over the year’s first eight games and in the A.C.C. title game, when it knocked off Virginia Tech to win the program’s first conference title in 20 years. Then there’s Clemson Being Clemson, a team that lays an egg against Georgia Tech, committing four turnovers in a 14-point loss, or one that nearly plays down to its competition before sneaking a three-point win past Wake Forest – we all know this Clemson. Then there’s My God, Clemson, the team that fails to show up for a rivalry game against the Gamecocks, or the one that allows West Virginia to break the speed limit in a 70-33 Orange Bowl loss. [...]

  10. John says:

    what the heck happened? I recall Clemson having a good defense in Swinney’s first year. You can’t convince me they don’t have good talent on defense – CU is one of the top 15 programs of the south – right in the middle of one of the most talent-rich areas in the country.

  11. scanfield says:

    So he’s now with the Tigers, taking with him the same blitzing, attacking, aggressive scheme the Sooners ran to such great effect over its most recent revival as a national power. One thing you love about Venables’ system is that it’s far simpler than the one Steele used with the Tigers; it’s far more instinctual, especially in terms of its pre-snap machinations. Instead of shuffling this way and that, as they did under Steele, the Tigers will stand back, stay fairly still, and attack. This is doubly true for Clemson’s linebackers, who will love playing downhill under Venables.

    I’m an Oklahoma fan just popping in here, but I’m really confused by this paragraph. Everyone in the OU fan base and media is touting how much simpler and more instinctual Mike Stoops’ defense will be than Venables; how much of the problems last season against Baylor, Tech, and Oklahoma State had to do with athletes thinking rather than reacting, etc. This seems like the narrative any time a program brings in a new defensive coordinator. Is it actually true in this case? Is this nothing more complicated than Stoops > Venables > Steele in terms of complexity?

    Love the site, can’t wait to read the rest of the previews!

  12. Ezra says:

    yeah– I didn’t refresh to see if you’d been here, ole leland.

  13. Jett says:

    Oklahoma football: Is Mike Stoops simplifying the Sooner defense?

    Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-football-is-mike-stoops-simplifying-the-sooner-defense/article/3702281#ixzz24DtiZWV9

    David Pollack comments on the Sooners 2011 defense.


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