CLEMSON - While the new ACC's splash hasn't been perhaps as large as some would have liked - at least, not yet - there are still some impressive numbers to digest from the league.
Chief among them are the team defensive rankings, where seven of the top 23 defenses in the country reside in the ACC. Three of them - No. 2 North Carolina State (234.0 yards per game), No. 7 Virginia Tech (265.4) and No 8 Florida State (265.7) - are in the top 10.
Asked if he was aware of the ACC's overall ranking, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden shook his head.
"I think it says a lot about the conference, because that's the way you win championships. With defense," he said following Wednesday's practice. "For that many teams to be (ranked) that means there's going to be a lot of people with a chance to compete. I would imagine three of those seven are the ones with the chance to win.
"It shows this is a pretty quality league."
The other schools to make the list include No. 18 Georgia Tech (288.0), No. 20 Virginia (292.86), No. 21 Maryland (293.86) and No. 23 Miami (301.67).
By comparison, Clemson's defense is ranked 47th overall, giving up 348.86 yards per game.
"It's not about intensity, it's about execution," Bowden said. "We just have to execute better."
The team for Clemson's 2005 schedule, announced earlier this week by the school, provides season ticket holders with a top-heavy home slate.
Sure, Duke and Temple will be visiting Death Valley, but so will Miami, Florida State, Texas A&M and Boston College. The Eagles will be making their first tour around the league next year. Clemson will visit BC in 2006.
The road schedule for next year includes games at South Carolina, Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Georgia Tech.
Reports that N.C. State could be down as many as three offensive linemen didn't phase Bowden Wednesday because, well, he didn't believe it.
"I know they've got one guy out. Another guy they took out but he came back and played," he said. "So I figure they'll have one guy out, and so might we (wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, who is doubtful due to a sprained ankle).
"If they did have three guys out, maybe we'd do something different. But I'm only counting on one."
Next week's game at Miami will kick off at 7:45 p.m. and be televised by ESPN