Baseball: The Tigers made it to Omaha. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago, I would have told you such a concept was a pipe dream. Clemson was able to rip it up in the batter's box against the Crimson Tide, outlasting Bama Monday to secure a trip to Nebraska for a chance to bang it out for the whole thing.
At this point, I really think the Tigers have reached their potential as I honestly did not expect this team to make it this far. The Tigers have been a tale of two teams this year, one week getting smoked by Wake/Duke, the next wearing out a good (CWS participant) Florida State. Let's also not forget that this team took the regular season series against another quality squad in USC. So for this team to show what appears to be some sort of consistency is extremely encouraging.
Clemson has been suspect in many areas this year. I am particularly concerned with Clemson's ability to field the baseball and wince when the ball is hit at an infielder. Our staff has pitched well in spurts, but Coach Leggett has struggled at times with in-game pitching decisions, thus further clouding perceptions around this group. Clemson's bats really came alive last weekend, and we can only hope this offensive explosion continues as the Tigers head West.
The guys over at G & B have put together offensive and pitching stats for all the CWS teams, so I will direct you there instead of regurgitate their work. The numbers really show that Clemson will need to bring its absolute A-game to go deep in this one. We are thrilled and enthused that Clemson has made it this far and hope this team can keep the momentum gained against Auburn and Alabama the last few weeks going.
As everyone knows, Clemson and South Carolina are in the same bracket. This could be the second time in the last 10 years that these two squads renew their rivalry in Rosenblatt Stadium. Should they meet over the course of the next week we certainly hope the results will be more fruitful for the Country Gentlemen this time around as Cockfan really gave me the business. After winning the regular season series, that one was particularly brutal. This should be a good week for baseball as there are a lot of really good teams that will be on display for the culmination of this tourney.
Clemson's QB situation: Everyone knows the story behind Clemson star Kyle Parker. It appears as though everyone is taking the news that the Tigers' starting QB will more than likely be absent in Death Valley this fall pretty well, avoiding the denial stage. We will still hold out some hope that Parker can play pro baseball and college football, but this one looks like a long shot. Dabo will need to work with his offensive staff to determine whether Senior Michael Wade or RS Freshman Tajh Boyd will be the opening game starter, assuming Parker is indeed gone. We all expect to see a lot of Boyd this season, the only question is how much PT he will get early.
Mike Bellamy excited to be headed to Tigertown: Onto more positive football news, stud running back Mike Bellamy chatted with ESPN about Clemson and what drove him to commit to the Tigers. This is a really big pickup as the Tigers continue their strong showing with Florida running backs and will give the Tigers ANOTHER quality back moving forward.
PGA Tour: In a final note, it is US Open weekend. The tournament field will include three former Tigers: Charles Warren, Ben Martin, and defending champ Lucas Glover. As always, we encourage support for these golfers and really hope to see a former Tiger shooting for one of golf's most prestigious prizes again this year.
Notably missing from this year's Open will be the Cougar, Fred Couples. Couples failed to qualify, said to screw it, then rolled out with his crew (hell yeah Freddy's got a crew). Fred has stated a couple of times that this may be his last attempt to qualify for the Open, so unless he can put together four solid rounds at Augusta in '11 (which is not beyond the realm of possibilities), we may have seen the last of Boom Boom at US (professional) National Championship tourney.
Couples, who had said this might be the last time he tries to qualify, opened with a 69 at Brookside, but a 72 on the Scarlet kept him out of the playoff by two shots. He didn't sign his scorecard and was disqualified.
Additionally, the location (Pebble Beach) on the West Coast will allow for Prime Time golf action this weekend. Many of you will remember the huge popularity of the 2008 US Open (Torrey Pines) because of the tourney's later tee times and use of time zones to allow folks on the East Coast to watch the finish after dinner. The PGA Tour will fully exploit this again this year. If Phil or Tiger (my game looks good...I like my chances) Woods can make a run at this thing, look for some ridiculous television ratings AND great television.