All early indications (along with an article by L Williams and Tiger Illustrated) point to a 7:45 kickoff this weekend against the Seminoles. We all anticipated that this would be the case after Oregon throttled USC yesterday. The Tigers should gain a huge advantage with the late kickoff. The team will definitely be excited for this big game, and the fans have all day to get ready and be rowdy during the contest. It is always my opinion that night games (particularly in rowdy, football crazed environments) significantly handicap the visiting squad. Expect both the team and the fans to be amped for kickoff Saturday night.
Another item that we will be watching all week is the health of FSU QB Christian Ponder. Various media outlets have questioned Ponder's availability for Saturday's contest. Ponder is having a great season, completing nearly 70% of his pass attempts for almost 2500 yards on the season. He has a 13:3 TD/INT ratio and has really gotten this offense going all year allowing the Seminoles to put up 30 or more points in 5 of 8 contests this season. Ponder injured his ribs early in the shootout with NC St. this past weekend, and the loss of Ponder would be a mojor blow to the Seminoles this weekend.
Injuries for the Tigers should play a non-factor, as we expect to see both Da'Quan Bowers and Michael Palmer on the field this weekend. Bowers was injured early in the Coastal game yesterday and left the stadium on crutches. It was later reported he had a sprained PCL, and should return to the practice field Wednesday. Palmer is recovering from a concussion suffered against Miami. After being rested against Coastal, he should be ready to suit up against the 'Noles this weekend. These guys are extremely important for Clemson's success, and having them both on the field is a big relief for all Tiger fans.
**CORRECTION FROM EARLIER** 8:35 PM 11/01/09
Bowers' injury appears to be more serious than originally thought, as there was damage to the MCL as well as the PCL. Bowers, per Swinney earlier this evening, looks to be doubtful against FSU this weekend. While a host of other Tigers have gotten work this season at the end position, this injury will cause a few moves if Bowers can't go. Alexander will see more snaps at the DE position. Fortunately, Clemson has built some depth along the defensive line, and can use Goodman, Cumbie, and Branch if necessary. This is not to say that Bowers will not be missed. He is a beast on the field (see perspectives on the Miami game) and is a man amongst boys on the field.
The Ponder/Bowers injury story will be something to look for as the week progresses.