Mickey Plyler's Blog for May 8


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I have received a bunch of e-mails from the readers of this blog and I wanted to say thanks for interest. One of the questions I get the most is about the expectations of the 2006 team. Are the Tigers going to be “THAT”
good? Can we compete for an ACC title? When is this program going to the BCS?


I am very confident in the 2006 team. Let me also add that my confidence does not matter one bit.


We really have no idea how this team will perform. Projecting human performance is very difficult. We can however look at the past performance and try to project the future. Isn’t that what many people do for a living? Don’t stockbrokers try to project future performance based upon factors like the past human performance? When someone goes for an interview aren’t they judged by their resume and their past performance? But, has every stock tip always been right? Has every hire always been right? The answers are no and the reason is we cannot always project human performance. It is fun to try though.


Each summer my college roommate and I go over the schedule and try to project wins and losses. Usually they range from 12-0 to 9-3. Some of those years turned out to be 6-5 but none 12-0. We go game by game despite his wife telling us we are crazy. Admit that you and your friends do it too. I have never done heroine but the addiction can’t be as strong as that of the urge to predict wins for your favorite college team.


I have formulated a few guidelines, and I feel if you follow those guidelines it will help you. In fact the last five or six years I have gone on the radio and came within a game of predicting Clemson and South Carolina’s record each year.


I have learned through the years three tricks that have helped me better project wins and losses this time of year. First, always count on winning one game you are not supposed to and losing one you are not supposed to. It happens to almost every team every year. Second, not everything is going to go right. Injuries, weather, bad officiating, bad coaching, a missed field a shanked punt, etc. Something is going to happen bad at least once in a season and it could be too much to overcome. Third, someone on the schedule is going to be better than you think and could be having a special season.


Let’s look at some of the scenarios that I described and give specific examples from the past few Clemson seasons.

Guideline No. 1: Always count on winning a game you are not counting on and losing one you are not counting on.

Examples:
2005- I am not sure many of you thought Clemson would beat Texas A&M and FSU last year. When I looked at the schedule I looked at a split between A&M, Miami, Boston College and FSU. It turned out to be a split but I thought they would have beaten A&M and Boston College and not FSU. Also a road loss to Georgia Tech and Wake Forest probably were not in your pre-season predictions.

2004-Clemson beats Miami in the Orange Bowl then losses to Duke in Durham the next week. The stunning loss to Georgia tech and Calvin Johnson was not what I was looking for either.

2003-The Tigers loss to Georgia in the opener was not a surprise but the score was. The same can be said for the 39-3 win against Georgia Tech. But there is no better example of winning one you were not counting on and losing one you were not counting on than the Wake Forest 45-17 loss followed by the 26-16 FSU win.

Guideline No. 2: Not everything is going to go right. Injuries, weather, bad officiating, bad coaching, a missed field a shanked punt, etc.
Something is going to happen bad at least once in a season and it could be too much to overcome.

Examples:
2005-Had everything gone right the Tigers could have gone 12-0.
Had Whitehurst hit Stuckey in the end zone vs. Miami in regulation then Clemson wins. In the Boston College game the key dropped interception in overtime could have won the game. The Wake Forest game came down to one third down stop in the final drive. One penalty cost Clemson the Georgia Tech game when the Tigers scored but did not have enough men on the line of scrimmage. These things happen every year.

2004- The Clemson defenses bus has no air-conditioning and the team gives up tons pf yards and first downs to A&M on a hot day.

Guideline No. 3- Third, someone on the schedule is going to be better than you think and could be having a special season.

Examples:
2005-This was a special Boston College team. They had some of the most impressive lines of scrimmage to ever play in Death Valley.

2004-Who knew Calvin Johnson would turn into Jerry Rice as a true freshman the night Clemson got beat by Georgia Tech? Reggie McNeal looked like Woody Dantzler in College Station, TX that season. The Tigers play three teams ranked in the top 11 at the time in 2004.

Some of that sounds like excuses but these things happen each year. Little things can cost you a season and your job.

With those guidelines in mind the question remains how will Clemson do in 2006? Let me call my college roommate and I will get back to you tomorrow on the subject.


Please visit our sponsors, Mr. Knickerbockers, George Coleman Ford and Brad Hughes All-State Agency. It is their patronage that keeps the blog free. We are adding more sponsors for this month as well. If you are interested in great advertising opportunities on the blog contact me @ mickey.plyler@tigernet.com


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