|Thursday, October 3, 2013, 9:24 AM- -|
If you’ve read Clemson message boards the past few days, you may get the feeling that the Tigers are playing the '85 Bears on Saturday.
Don't get me wrong, I respect all opponents and know that they give scholarships, too. However, some posters are trying to talk themselves into thinking this an extremely difficult game Saturday.
I believe the biggest issue is the venue. Road games in college football are more difficult. I fully expect Clemson to get Syracuse's best shot. I expect Syracuse to play its best game of the season. But let's don't fool ourselves. Let’s not make this sound like Mission Impossible.
I have read about Syracuse's big wins in the dome, but its NFL quarterback is gone and its head coach is gone.
I have read about Clemson's road failures and its record in domes, but
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Clemson is favored for a reason. The Tigers are the better team. Clemson is better on both lines of scrimmage. The Tigers have better skill players. Clemson has better kickers. Clemson has a better head coach, better coordinators and better assistant coaches. The Tigers are the better team and that is the reason why they are double digit favorites.
But some posters on Clemson and Syracuse websites are trying to turn this game into psychological warfare, where the Tigers lose before they even board the plane.
I expect Clemson to face a good environment and I expect Syracuse players to feed off of that emotion. Syracuse has a chance if they jump on Clemson early and if the Orange can force the Tigers into a bunch of mistakes.
However, if Clemson plays close to its potential then the Tigers will come back to the South still undefeated.
The Tigers need to avoid a disastrous start. They need to avoid that rash of errors that can lead to an upset.
I’m sure the Carrier Dome is a unique environment but Clemson is a unique team. I am much more concerned about how Clemson reacts to a blitz happy defense. Will
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Noise will be a factor, and Boyd is like most quarterbacks in that he feels more comfortable at home. However, Boyd is a senior who has played in much tougher atmospheres than the Carrier Dome.
All of this pre-game confidence, in my opinion, is false confidence on Syracuse's part. What has Syracuse done to truly have confidence? It sounds like its staff and its fans are trying to trick this team into thinking it can beat the nation's number three team.
Maybe they can. If they do upset Clemson then the Tigers are not what I think they are. They are not one of the nation's top teams if they lose Saturday.
But Saturday is a chance for Clemson to take the next step. Saturday may be a test, but if Clemson wants to be among the nation's elite then the Tigers will take care of a trip to the Carrier Dome to play an average Syracuse team with a 2-2 record.
It sounds to me like Clemson coming to town is a big deal in Syracuse, NY. It should be. When the nation's number three team visits it should be a big deal. If Clemson wants to be like Alabama then we need to start acting like Alabama. I wonder, how many Alabama fans would go on their message boards to build up the huge task of going to Syracuse this weekend? I doubt their swagger would allow this.
This game will be won in the trenches Saturday – not in the psychological warfare of underdog coaches trying to convince the community that Saturday is the next miracle upset in college football.
If I am wrong, then I will have to be wrong. But put me down as the guy that ain't scared of this trip Saturday.
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