Neither Top 25 Ranking Nor Herbstreit Rankle Bowden

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Tommy Bowden Post Practice Comments

CLEMSON - A last-second win over then No. 17 Texas A&M apparently was enough to convince some Associated Press voters that Clemson is Top 25 material.

The Tigers cracked the new AP Poll Tuesday at No. 25, finishing with a total of 164 points in the voting. Upon hearing the news just as practice ended Tuesday, head coach Tommy Bowden was in a playful mood.

"(Sports Information Director Tim Bourret) just told me. Can we stop playing?," Bowden joked. "All right, 1-0. I'll take it. Let's go home."

Then on a more serious note, he downplayed the significance of such rankings this early in the season.

"I wish it was important, but it's really insignificant until the end of the year," he said. "I don't put any credence to it because we've only played one game. The big (poll) is right there at the end. But in the coaching profession (this early poll) is really not that significant. If you're ranked in the preseason it's because of what you did the year before. It just doesn't mean much.

"It is good for the players, because they work hard. But that's about it."

Meanwhile, Bowden said that until earlier on Tuesday, he hadn't heard the comments made by ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit about his program.

Last Saturday on ESPN Gameday, Herbstreit picked Texas A&M to defeat Clemson and, as justification for the pick, said, "If you get Clemson down, they quit on you." Tuesday evening, Bowden took the high road.

"Our track record is kind of the opposite of that," he said. "I guess maybe he and (analyst) Lee Corso were playing good cop, bad cop, where one will say one thing and the other will say another. Because statistically, if you look at it, it's kind of opposite."

In it's last seven games decided by seven points or less, Clemson is 5-2. All seven of the games have come down to the last play of the game or overtime.

Included in that number was a win last season at Miami in which the Tigers trailed 17-3, the season-opener the same year vs. Wake Forest in which Clemson trailed by eight points in the final minutes, rallied to tie the game and eventually won in overtime.

Herbstreit's comment also ignored Clemson's strong finishes each of the last two seasons, both of which saw the Tigers bounce back after difficult starts to the year.

But despite the fact that Herbstreit was obviously wrong, and that his comments were made in front of a national television audience, Bowden said the incident didn't bother him.

"I've got (brother) Terry as one of those guys," Bowden said with a laugh. "And I know what they have to do. They've got to make a living. They've got to be on the edge...Now the players, I may use it to motivate them. But it doesn't bother me.

But then, for more laughs:

"You know, he's a good looking guy and my wife has an 8-by-10 (of him). I'm going to tear the picture up," he joked.

And then the needle:

"Here's a guy who never coached. Corso has coached, but (Herbstreit) has never coached. He's just a player. Terry has coached. Some of those guys who were coaches would probably have known the background a little better.

On the injury front, Donnell Clark was the only player in a green jersey (limited contact) Tuesday.

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