CLEMSON S.C. -- One word: Scoreboard.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he wouldn’t have any TVs on in the locker room before kickoff today, but that it would be hard to keep his players from finding out the scoop about what’s going on in Chestnut Hill, and quite frankly, with the way UNC’s defense has been playing, it’s been hard to ignore.
Fact is, if BC continues to struggle against the Tar Heels and loses today, it won’t matter how Clemson plays against Virginia. With a BC loss, Clemson clinches the Atlantic Division. They can take the field for the first time in what must feel like an eternity with no pressure, and considering how tough it’s been for the program to make it back to the ACC title game, these guys will take it however they can get it.
This should be a day of celebration for Clemson – the final home game for the seniors, a good day for C.J. Spiller’s Heisman numbers, and a guaranteed chance at the school’s first ACC title since 1991. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here. The tailgaters have been out since well before noon. They’ve been waiting for this day for a long, long time.
But it’s not over until it’s over, and Virginia still has a pulse, despite its 3-7 record.
Don’t forget that last year, Virginia held Spiller to 18 yards rushing and a season-low 1.3 yards per carry. Virginia is 0-3 against ranked teams this year, though, and has struggled on offense all year. As long as Clemson doesn’t turn the ball over and make careless mistakes, the tailgating here is likely to continue long after the game has ended.