|Biggest football game of the season? You decide|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Monday, February 11, 2013 10:56 AM||
The Hill Watch currently sits at 201 days.
There are 201 more days until the Clemson Tigers rub Howard’s Rock, run down The Hill and take on Georgia in what could be a battle of Top 10 programs and will be one of the premier games on college football’s opening weekend.
I know, it’s too early to get excited. Typically, the Hill Watch has to at least dip into double digits before that antsy feeling of expectation begins to sink in. There is still an entire college baseball season to play. Major League Baseball will hold spring training, the first half of the season, an All-Star game and be a month past the trading deadline before the Tigers play again.
Not to mention that college basketball still has to run its course, with the final weeks of the conference schedule, conference tournaments and the weeks of March Madness still to go. NASCAR will get its start with Speed Week down in Daytona here shortly, and if you’re keeping track, NASCAR will run just over 10,000 laps in its top series before Clemson plays again.
That’s a long time for college football fans to wait, but it’s never too early to look into the crystal ball, and see what could be a special 2013 season for the Tigers. Will a return to the conference championship game be in order? A big-time bowl game? Will the four-game losing streak to South Carolina end?
Each and every game is important, because a loss in any game hurts both the rankings and postseason possibilities. What might not be seen as a huge game right now – say Boston College at home – becomes magnified if the Eagles were to pull off the upset.
However, three games stand out right now – the opener against Georgia, the home game against Florida St. and the season finale at South Carolina. Which game stands out to you as most important? I asked some friends on Facebook last night, and they all had varied answers.
Here is my take on each game, and why each one may or may not be the most important.
Why it’s the most important game - It’s the season opener, will be Clemson’s third straight against an SEC foe and the nation’s eyes will be on this opening weekend contest. The winner has a chance to solidify itself in the rankings with the win, while the loser will be battling from behind over the next several week. It’s also Georgia, and Clemson goes head-to-head against the Bulldogs in the Peach State for many of Georgia’s top recruits. Will the outcome sway some of those decisions? Yes, the ACC-SEC matchup is intriguing, and it would be big if the Tigers could come away with a third win in the last four tries against an SEC squad. And as many have already said, the first game sets the tone for the season. Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile would also remind you that it’s the next game, and therefore the most important.
Why it isn’t the most important - At the end of the day, it’s just the first of 12 games, and the Tigers will have the rest of the season to get over that loss. It isn’t a conference game, and all of the goals [except a possible NC] will still be in play. As for recruiting, the game is played five months and a few days before National Signing Day.
Why it’s the most important game - The winner of this game has won the ACC Atlantic Division title each of the last four seasons, and twice has gone on to win the conference title. Each of those winners won at home, and the home team has won each of the last six games. The Seminoles are also Clemson’s biggest rival in the conference. The winner of this game has the inside track to a division and possible conference title, while the loser has to wait and see if the other stumbles. Two years ago, Clemson won the ACC with two conference losses, but Florida St. suffered just one last season, and that might be the case in this series over the next few seasons, so every game between the rivals has extra importance attached to it. And, while many fans will tell you that Florida St. will slip up once along the way, the rest of the ACC isn’t talented enough to knock off Florida St. twice unless Clemson is one of the wins.
Why it isn’t the most important - In the eyes of the nation, how Clemson fares against the SEC will determine the perception of just where Clemson’s program stands.
Why it’s the most important game - It’s the rivalry game, the game that people who live in close proximity to each other year-round talk about constantly. Division titles and conference championships are all well and good, but all of Clemson’s success over the past few seasons has been tainted by losses to its arch-rival. A win over FSU would be huge, and an appearance in the ACCCG even bigger, but a loss to South Carolina would make that trip bittersweet. The Gamecocks have won four straight in the series, and if the Tigers are to achieve the goals they want to achieve, wins over South Carolina have to start happening. Four straight. And, this one has featured a matchup of ranked teams over the past few seasons, and next year shouldn’t be any different. If the Tigers win over Georgia and FSU, but lose yet another to the Gamecocks, do you consider the season a success?
Why it isn’t the most important - The Tigers could have another Top 15 ranking and an ACC title game appearance sewn up by the time the two teams meet in late November, and many across the nation will see this as just another rivalry game. The results the following week – if a title game appearance occurs – will have a much bigger bearing on where Clemson spends the bowl season.
Here are what some of my Facebook friends had to say
Michael Williams - Georgia, because it's the next one.
Beth Poole - Georgia ...because it kicks off season and will ultimately decide season greatness...or fail?....if conference is smart they will put FSU game later...so it has even more importance! nationally....and South Carolina....the streak ends!
Al Koon - 1) FSU - conference game
2) UGa- first game
3) USC – rival
Ed Shealy - No more "peats"! Beat South Carolina - no, really, Beat South Carolina!
Chick Jacobs - JawJaw: Been waiting a LONG time for this! Seriously, though: Georgia has recruiting, revenge and reckoning tied up in a neat bow tinged with dog slobber. If you followed the Tigers when this was an annual blood-letting, you KNOW how important this game is. We'll rise up and dispatch the capons soon enough. But JawJaw: its an August Armageddon. Print that, Tweet that!
Duane Poole - Georgia...starting the season off right with a big win.
Michael Varn - I think Georgia!!! We HAVE to follow up our big SEC win and show them right away we are something to be reckoned with............ we have to win our SEC battles for recruiting.
Chris Mccormick - One game at a time...it starts with uga! Never look ahead ...that’s how u get upset, no game is more important than the next..may wanna beat certain ones more but its one victory at a time no matter who u play!
Angela Dassel - Georgia! It will set the whole tone for the whole season! You beat Georgia and I think the team gets the confidence and hype it needs to beat all the other teams! It's going to be a great year for our Tigers!
Bunny B Scott - SOUTH CAROLINA!!! Then Ga....we will win the conference....but got to beat to $EC teams!!!!!!
Angie Turner Fortner - I think it starts with Georgia to keep that confidence rolling. But probably FSU. SEC wins help us but ACC wins are what wins the conference obviously.
Cobb Oxford - They are all important. Georgia is big for national reasons, FSU for the ACC, South Carolina for PRIDE and national reasons. All three are pins that need to fall.
Rhett Hartzog - Georgia!
Brent A Overholt - At this point I don't care if we only win 1 game next year as long as that 1 win is at Williams Bryce. This losing streak sucks.
Debby Laidlaw - Georgia - that game will set the stage for our season!
Ben Langston - FSU. We need to win the division to have a shot at a conf title.
Tom Wentz - The next one...in this case the Dawgs.
Travis Lee Hamrick - The biggest game of the season will be the one played on Saturday. Well at least that is what Dabo thinks. They all better think the same way on the team. I think the biggest will be when we play Alabama in the National Title game.
Robbie Blakely - I have to go with Georgia. A big win there could set the tone and increase confidence- especially in younger players.
Jeff Rogers - Georgia, Pre-Season Top 10 SEC team. Beat them and it's downhill.
Pat James - Georgia.....got to win the opener... Momentum builder.
Bryan Alverson - Georgia will set the tone.
Jason Singletary - Florida St. cause we had them beat and we let them off the hook. No South Carolina cause we are better than them any day of the week. No maybe it's the Georgia Bulldogs... Why? My first game as a CLEMSON FAN 2003 (10) years ago when we kicked off the season against Georgia and we lost 30-0. As a fan I have grown with the TIGERS and finally we get the Georgia Bulldogs Game 1 2013 I can't wait. To let you know I was a FSU fan before that from about late 80's till 2003. GO TIGERS!!! C-L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-R-S FIGHT TIGERS!!! FIGHT TIGERS!!! FIGHT!!! FIGH!!! FIGHT!!!
David Allen Sammons - living in ga i cant take the sec bullcrap anymore
John Phillips - UGA! First game and also an SEC opponent.
Bill Israel - FSU. If lose to UGA, still time to recover. FSU could have BCS implications whereas GA doesn't. But to me, they are all equally important.....next game is always the most important.
Candice Lewis - The Biggest game is Georgia, b/c for one, I think it will be a top 15 to top 10 match up, And even a possible GameDay to open the season. We have to Win this game and keep the same momentum going from Bowl game. Have the winning streak of two games against two of great teams from the SEC. Then on to the ACC schedule. I think our trap game will be at Cuse, depends on when it falls. but then again NC State can be that game as well. But We have to beat FSU, and we have to beat Wake, no slip ups... this will be a great team. I believe they learned alot from the bowl game and they can play with the big boys, so start in Aug, and Finish in Jan. With the NC
Jimmy Reece - I think all 3 or incredibly important, Georgia could have gameday there at the vally and could possibly springboard next years team to a Very Special season. You are exactly right though Florida St. is equally important due to the ACC Championship Game but if we have won both of them then odds are the USC game could be for a birth to the BSC National Title. Great question how do you weigh the 3 against each other we could actually go 2 and 1 there and still have a National title shot if we lose the first one to GA and win out. So therefore FSU and USC would be more important. Personally though I think we win both GA and FSU simply think we are the better team and they are at home. Worry about Ga Tech and USC, Ga Tech is a trap game being that we seem to always lay an egg in Atlanta and USC is on the road and unless they have injury problems they will be a very good team. I am going to err on the home side then and say due to going into Williams Brice 10-1 or 11-0 the USC game will turn out to be most important for Clemson due to National Championship implications but I do look forward to the article let us know when it is finished!!
Jason Walls - All of them can't wait win a National Championship with losses.
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