Bowden, Tigers Look Beyond Bowl Eligibility; ESPN GamePlan Blacked Out For Duke

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - There's a buzz phrase being heard around college football campuses this time of year. Each time a team reaches six wins, the words "bowl eligible" begin coming up in conversation.

Of course there's a certain level of mediocrity attached to a program which, in these times of 12-game regular seasons, only reaches the six win plateau. A 6-6 record hardly guarantees postseason play, and depending on the previous success of the program and/or coach involved it might be enough to start fans rumbling.

Basically, as Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden put it following Wednesday's practice:

"Six wins in a 12-game schedule is as average as you can get."

That's why you don't hear any talk amongst Clemson players about bowl eligibility.

The Tigers have been bowl eligible in each of Bowden's seasons at the helm, including this one. In the previous eight, the Tigers have gone to the postseason seven times. Only after the infamous brawl with South Carolina did Bowden's team miss a bowl game, and that was a school-imposed absence.

No, these Tigers are accustomed to going to bowls. What they want now are the bigger bowls, and attaining them more consistently.

"We haven't talked about it. We've been bowl eligible every year. I think they're beyond that," said Bowden. "I really do...Now you start talking about getting seven (wins) and beginning to separate yourself. We need to get the next win."

Elsewhere Wednesday:

- Bowden has hinted about getting some of his younger players, such as freshman defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, more playing time.

"We're not going to change anything we're doing," he said. "There's always competition. We don't have any seniors (on the defensive line). They're all young...But guys who have no redshirt year, in these last four games if they don't play some you've kind of wasted a redshirt year."

- Saturday's game at Duke will be available on ESPN GamePlan, but will be blacked out in the state of South Carolina.

The game will be produced by CSS TV and commentary will be provided by Fred Cunningham (play by play) and Jim Bundren (color). Bundren is a former Clemson All-America offensive tackle who played for the Tigers from 1994-97.

The contest will not be available in eight states, the states where CSS television is available. CSS will provide a replay of the game on its affiliates the following Wednesday, but the CSS affiliates will not broadcast the game live.

The states where the game will not be available on ESPN Gameplan are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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