The following is the latest post on Mickey Plyler's blog. Plyler updates his blog at least once every weekday and it can be found on TigerNet at http://www.tigernet.com/blogs/plyler/ or on the right side of the front page of TigerNet.
Coming out of the Auburn game so many of us were encouraged by the physical nature of this team. This is something I had been making a point about for several seasons, and Dabo and his staff seem to have made huge strides in this department.
Last season we saw a division championship and naturally the next steps are the goals of the staff and fan base. ACC titles, double-digit win seasons and BCS appearances are the ultimate goals, and I believe these are obtainable but there is another step in the process that has to come first.
In my opinion, the next step of the evolution of this program is to restore Death Valley. When this program becomes dominant at home again it will become more of a consistent factor in those efforts to win titles will come with it.
Clemson has not completed a season without a loss since 1991. It is no coincidence that that was the last time the Tigers won an ACC championship.
We talk about the glory days around here often and a return should be our goal. From November 22, 1980 to November 24, 1984 the Tigers went 23-0-2 at home.
From September 18, 1988 to September 12, 1992 went 21-1-1 in Death Valley.
From 1927 to 1941 the Tigers went 33-3-3 at home.
Dabo is restoring this tradition. He lost his first game at home as the interim coach on a crazy week when Georgia Tech took advantage of a bunch of turnovers and beat the Tigers 21-17. Last year the Tigers were 6-1 at home with the only loss coming to TCU, a team that went undefeated in the regular season, by a score of 14-10. So Dabo is 10-2 at Death Valley.
A look around college football tells us how important it is to hold serve at home. Florida faces Alabama in Tuscaloosa this weekend with Bama trying to protect a 16-game home winning streak.
Speaking of Florida, Urban Meyer is now 35-2 in the Swamp.
Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma teams are 69-2 at home in his 11-plus seasons in Norman.
Last week Mack Brown suffered just his seventh loss in 75 home games at Texas.
At one time when he was at Southern Cal Pete Carroll won 41 of 42 home games.
At TCU, Gary Patterson has won 29 of his last 31 home games.
Chris Petersen is 27-0 at home at Boise State and the Broncos have won 64 of their 66 on the blue carpet.
Jim Tressel is 60-7 at home in his Ohio State career.
Brent Bielema is 28-3 at home as the head coach at Wisconsin.
As much as we hate to admit it, one of the biggest turnarounds at South Carolina is the home field advantage. The Gamecocks have won 11 of their 12 at home while South Carolina is 1-8 in their last nine games away from Williams-Brice.
Our two in-state teams felt the importance of Auburn’s home field advantage the last two weekends.
Through four weeks of this season ranked teams have lost 13 games this season when the games were not neutral site games. Ten of those losses were by visiting teams and three by the home team. James Madison beat a ranked Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg, Texas lost at home to UCLA and Arkansas was ranked 10th when they lost to top-ranked Alabama last week.
The 2010 home season is crucial to this program for a couple of reasons. First, the Tigers face a difficult road schedule this season so the home games become even more important. So Clemson needs to hold serve at home in order have a better chance at the division title.
Second, there are key opponents on the home schedule. The Tigers are involved with several prospects in South Florida in this and upcoming recruiting classes so another win against Miami helps those efforts.
Clemson has lost to Maryland in three of the past four seasons, and I just can’t stomach losing to an inferior Terps team again.
Georgia Tech has beaten the Tigers six of the last seven meetings so this will be a chance to start a new streak in this rivalry.
Perhaps the Clemson-NC State game could be for the Atlantic Division title so this one could be huge.
And the Gamecocks have not beaten Clemson two straight years since 1969-70 and we certainly don’t need that to happen.
Therefore this home schedule presents a bunch of big opportunities.
There have been a lot of changes around this place in recent years and a lot of people I talk to are worried about the future of our community. I have noticed a growing sentiment that Clemson might not be as special as it once was but I have a remedy. Winning cures a lot of ills.
Homecoming floats look better after a win. Tigeramma will be remembered more fondly if the Tigers win. Our little village seems like a much better place when we win. Maybe that was why it seemed so special years ago. Of all of our traditions I like winning the most. Making Death Valley special again is the next step.