CLEMSON - If Tommy Bowden's short history as a head coach shows us anything, it's that his teams may be most dangerous the week after a defeat.
In his two years at Tulane and almost three complete seasons at Clemson, Bowden's record after a loss is 11-2, including 8-1 with the Tigers.
He's 2-0 in such conditions this season, following a 26-24 loss to Virginia with a 47-44 overtime road win over a then-Top 10 Georgia Tech team. Clemson then shook off a 38-3 pounding by North Carolina to knock off Wake Forest - again on the road - 21-14.
A win Saturday at No. 13 Maryland, coming off last week's 41-27 home loss to Florida State, would give Bowden and Co. the hat trick. And all the wins will have come on the road.
As for Bowden, he has no explanation for such success.
"I heard (former Virginia coach) George Welsh say one time, it must have been 15 years ago, don't ever let a loss beat you twice," he said. "You don't sit there and sulk over it. You try to get your team back as quick as possible. I talk to (the team) about that stuff, but I wouldn't know why it is like it is."
Whatever the source of the magic, it appears to be rubbing off on his team.
Clemson's aforementioned success after defeat produced the most electrifying game of the year by far - the win at Georgia Tech in which the Tigers fought from behind the entire second half before stunning the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Bowden hopes that experience, coupled with the Wake Forest victory, has taught his team how to respond to adversity.
"A couple of time already they've bounced back from a loss, having to play a conference game on the road," Bowden said. "They've done that, now it's see if they can do it again, and how many times they can do it."
- Wide receiver Jackie Robinson is listed as doubtful for Saturday, but there's almost no chance he'll play. The groin pull he suffered against Florida State hasn't healed sufficiently.
Tight end Ben Hall (sprained shoulder) remains questionable, while fellow TE Morgan Woodward (ribs) has been upgraded to probable.
Wide receiver Tony Elliott, who hasn't played since breaking his wrist Sept. 29 at Georgia Tech, should return to practice Monday.
- Starting cornerbacks Saturday will be the same as last week: Brian Mance and Kevin Johnson, backed up by Toure Francis and Ryan Hemby, respectively.
The only defensive change this week is the flipping of Charles Hafley and Eric Meekins at the safety spots.
- The 7 p.m. kickoff puts Bowden on a schedule to sleep perhaps 2-3 hours between Saturday morning and Sunday night.
Following the game, the team flight and bus trip back to Clemson, Bowden will tape his Sunday television show somewhere around 3:30 that morning. Following that, it's home for a nap and then off to church, followed by a full workday Sunday at the office.
Which explains why he loves 1 p.m. kickoffs.