Heart vs. Head

by - Radio Host -

Heart vs. Head

I had a conversation at lunch the other day with some friends about believing you or your team will win.  I never played a game where I thought we were not going to win.  Not as an eight year old and not as an adult. Never.

As a fan, I have never gone into a game knowing my team wasn't going to win either.  Now is the time to confess that I have never been to Chapel Hill for a Clemson-North Carolina basketball game.  At no point have I ever walked into Death Valley thinking Clemson wasn't going to win.  I have never packed the car for a road trip thinking the return trip wouldn't be as a winner.

I have been a Clemson fan since 1974 which means I have seen 160 losses in football but never once did I think we weren't going to win.

I remember walking in to Doak Campbell Stadium in 1993 thinking Clemson had a chance.  The ride home after a 57-0 loss was a wakeup call.

There have been other lows but nothing ever shakes the hope of a fan.

The jobs I have as a radio host and a blogger present challenges to the resolve of the fan in me.  When analyzing games you sometimes have to leave your heart behind and go with your head.  This week is a great example of that.


Here are five things my heart is telling me about how the Tigers can upset the nation's top ranked team Saturday night:

Defensive front seven

I think Clemson's front seven on defense is talented enough to play toe-to-toe with the Seminoles Saturday night.  Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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, DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-1, 292
Central, SC

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, D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Jr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-2, 322
Greensboro, NC

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, Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS Sr. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 292
Wilmington, DE

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, Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 294
Mooresboro, NC

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, Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Sr. Defensive End
#3 6-2, 236
Adairsville, GA

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, Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
Sr. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 276
Columbus, GA

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, Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS Sr. Defensive End
#9 6-4, 273
Jacksonville, FL

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, Shaq LawsonShaq Lawson
So. Defensive End
#90 6-3, 269
Central, SC

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, Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Sr. Linebacker
#42 6-2, 244
Polkton, NC

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and Tony StewardTony Steward
Sr. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 236
Hastings, FL

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can play in any program in the country and the front seven could provide a challenge to the FSU offense.

Improved secondary

Last year Clemson's secondary was burnt time and time again.  This year the Tigers are more talented.  MacKensie AlexanderMacKensie Alexander
RS Fr. Cornerback
#2 5-11, 190
Immokalee, FL

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will get his first true challenge.  I do think Clemson's safeties have to play better than they did in Athens earlier this season.

Freshman playmakers

Last week we saw Adam ChoiceAdam Choice
Fr. Running Back
#26 5-10, 211
Thomasville, GA

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, Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 209
Loganville, GA

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and Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
Fr. Wide Receiver
#3 5-11, 190
Oldsmar, FL

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make a major impact in the Clemson offense.  I am hopeful that trio combines for a huge game Saturday.


Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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I just can't see Clemson winning Saturday without Watson being a major part of the victory.  In fact, I think his role is a huge key to the game.  Watson proved in Athens that he is not scared of the moment in Athens or in his start game in Death Valley.

FSU's inefficiency

So far this season the Seminoles have not looked like the nation's number one team.  They are 2-0 but they have not been dominant in either game.  Something is missing so far.  Hopefully the Noles won't find it this weekend.


Here are five factors that will be tough to overcome Saturday night:

Nation's Top Ranked Team

Clemson is facing the number-one team in the country.  They have an 18-game winning streak.  They are the defending national champion.

Doak Campbell

Clemson has won only three times in 14 tries in Tallahassee.  The Tigers were lapped in the second half the last time Clemson played there.  FSU is one of the nation's top programs at home.

Jameis Winston

Winston is the defending Heisman Trophy winner.  Many believe he is still the nation's top player and a very high draft pick whenever he decides to enter the NFL draft.  Winston was unfazed last year in Death Valley and comes across as one of the most confident players in college football.


FSU came into last year's game as a three-point favorite, despite playing at the nation's number three team.  The Seminoles took control of the game early and rolled Clemson in Death Valley.  It appeared FSU was better than Clemson at almost every position.

NFL Talent

Florida State has three high draft picks on its offensive line.  They have one of the nation's top tight ends and one of the best wide receivers in America.  The running backs are deep and talented and the quarterback won a Heisman as a freshman.  The defense is perhaps the fastest in the country.  The defensive line has two former five stars.  The linebacker corps is speedy and the secondary may be the best in the country.  Oh yeah, the place-kicker may be the best in the country.

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