Talking season ends: Football is back


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Wayne Gallman and the rest of the players will be back at the PAW drill soon
Wayne Gallman and the rest of the players will be back at the PAW drill soon

At some point this afternoon Clemson’s coaches and players will gather in the large weight room underneath Death Valley and go through an annual rite that signals the beginning of fall camp…the weigh-in.

Practice starts Tuesday – we’ll have head coach Dabo Swinney for an interview session before practice – with the season’s first practice ending about 7 p.m. The Tigers will practice every day the rest of the week, and we will all be off and running.

Will this be the year of the Tigers? Can Clemson shake off last season’s loss to Alabama in the title game and win it all? Clemson will be at or near the top of the polls at the start of the season after starting last season ranked 12th in both the AP and the Coaches Poll. Ohio St. was the unanimous preseason number one last season but didn’t make the College Football Playoff.

Last season was long, at least from a standpoint of starting in August and not ending until mid-January. But admit it – you blink, and it’s late October, and you blink again, and it’s over. Our favorite time of the year goes by in a flash, and for me, a lot of that has to do with the fact that Halloween, fall leaves, Thanksgiving and the start and finish of the Christmas season overlap with college football.

As the song says, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

This season’s home schedule isn’t exactly exciting – last year the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the Seminoles of Florida St. paid a visit. Louisville might just be this year’s can’t-miss game, and it happens on October 1st. Other than Louisville, the best games on the schedule – and maybe the most critical to Clemson’s playoff hopes – are all on the road.

Clemson travels to Auburn to start the season, plays at Georgia Tech on short rest late in September and travels to Tallahassee on October 29th.

The rivalry game against South Carolina is always a sought-after ticket, but Clemson has won two in a row in the series, and the talent gap is so substantial that the Gamecocks don’t appear they’ll be a serious threat in the near future.

However, it will be interesting to see Pitt travel to Death Valley for their first trip to Clemson, and the schedule has another anomaly when the Tigers travel to Boston College (on short rest) to take on Boston College on a Friday night.

The first practice starts Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m., and the indoor practice facility will be rocking. The start of practice is always marked by “The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy.

Hearing the lyrics always lets me know that football REALLY is back…

Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

Those cats are definitely crazy, and they’ll be sure to give us plenty of thrills. It starts with the weigh-in (I’ve heard about 2:30 p.m.) and Tuesday’s practice. But don’t wish this season away. It will be the last time we see (probably) players like Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, Ben Boulware, Carlos Watkins, Cordrea Tankersley, Jadar Johnson, Jay Guillermo and Jordan Leggett play in a Clemson uniform. Don’t blink; it will be over before you know it.


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