Dan Scott Blog Extra: Successful Season Up For Debate

by - Correspondent -

On my Monday show on WCCP I posed the question to Clemson football fans:

What, to you, would constitute a successful 2007 football season?

I brought up the question because of the buzz swarming around the new Seat Equity Plan coming to Death Valley in 2008, and the fair question many donors are asking:

If I have to give more, shouldn't I expect a better product on the field?

Most would agree that the answer is yes. But what is a better product? What would constitute a successful season in the minds of Clemson fans?

My proposal, simply for the sake of argument (and generating calls) was this - A 10-2 regular season with losses to Florida State and South Carolina, and a spot in the ACC Championship Game. Not that I expect the Tigers to finish 10-2, but the scenario captures a beautiful dilemma for Clemson fans:

Would they accept another loss to the Gamecocks, knowing they were going to play for the ACC title the next week anyway?

Surprisingly, the calls and emails - and there were bunches of both - ran about 50-50. Some fans are simply so unable to get past their hatred of South Carolina that they would rather give up the chance to do the one thing many of them have been screaming for Tommy Bowden to do - play for championships - than lose again to Steve Spurrier's crew.

It made for an intriguing three hours of talk radio, to be sure. But it also required me to take a closer look.

At 60-38, Bowden is averaging less than eight wins a season during his eight years at Clemson. So it's easy to understand the cries for better production this far into his tenure.

Let's say that the non-conference games with Furman, Louisiana-Monroe and Central Michigan are already in the win column. Clemson then has eight conference games remaining, plus the year-ender at South Carolina.

If Clemson goes 5-3 in the conference and beats USC, that's a 9-3 record. But three losses likely eliminate them from the ACC title game. So, then, what about 6-2 in the ACC and a loss to USC? Again, a 9-3 record but this time you have a shot at the title game depending on how things play out.

How about 8-4 - beating the Gamecocks but going 4-4 in conference play? Or another 8-4 scenario, losing to USC but finishing 5-3 in the conference?

The possibilities are enough to make your head spin.

The bottom line here is that Bowden is up against a bit of his own history. He's had but one 6-2 conference record in his eight years here (2000). His teams have finished 4-4 on four occasions, 5-3 on three others.

Can he at least equal the 6-2 mark of 2000? Can he finally reach the ACC Championship Game? Is beating USC again (he's 6-2 vs. the Gamecocks) simply a must in 2007?

In reality, though fans will weigh in all season long, right now only one man's opinion really matters - athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

And what he's thinking, no one knows.

Dan Scott's blog can be found at www.offmicwithdanscott.blogspot.com, or at www.wccpfm.com.

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