Ahh yes, bowl season is here. Sunday saw the selections come fast and furious as the Big 12 found itself outside the velvet rope. As for our Tigers, we actually got a lesser bowl than we hoped for but a better opponent. I think I speak for most by saying I'd much rather play a national brand like Oklahoma than the Gophers of Minnesota or Missouri. It has been an awesome stretch of bowl games for Clemson having faced LSU, Ohio State, and now Oklahoma in consecutive years. That beats the heck out of facing the likes of Kentucky, South Florida, or Louisiana Tech. It is another opportunity for 10 wins against a name that matters, though it is likely we'll be trying to do it with ol' three and Stoudt.
The word has spread of the hiring of Brandon Streeter to the staff as QB coach. I applaud this hire as not only was Streeter one of the toughest SOB's to wear the Orange and White and took two of the worst physical beatings I've ever seen a QB take in the '98 and '99 VT games (and he kept getting up), he also brings coordinator experience to the offensive staff to help out the new Scott/Elliot duo. Streeter was able to get a year under Rich Rod at Clemson and has applied much of that tutoring to his work at Liberty and Richmond. As you will recall, Rich Rod tailored his HUNH spread offense to both Streeter and Woody Dantzler and managed to make a respectable unit despite having severe talent limitations across the offensive line. The WR combination of Mal Lawyer, Rod Gardner, and the late Brian Wofford was solid, but only Gardner was a next-level talent at the skill positions on that offense. Now the Tigers boast some of the best skill guys in the land and continue to restock the cupboard with elite guys. Now Streeter, himself a coach's son, comes home to Clemson to tutor most likely the most talented QB this school has ever seen in Deshaun Watson. More importantly will be the work Streeter will be doing with Dr. Shuess and the incoming freshmen duo of Israel and Bryant. Clemson needs much better quarterback depth than what it got this year to have a shot at the brass ring. The three backups will get all the work in the spring as Watson will be rehabbing his knee.
The playoff committee stuck it to the Big 12 by casting TCU out of the top four in favor of Ohio State. It certainly had a lot to do with not crowning a clear champion the way the Pac 12, SEC, Big 10, and ACC did. It is really hard to think the "name" factor didn't play into the decision as Ohio State with Urban Meyer just carries a lot more national weight than either Baylor or TCU despite the great accomplishments of their teams and their respective coaches. Baylor needs to play some legit out of league competition for a change as they have feasted on the lightweights for years. It was understandable when they sucked, but now they don't so they should schedule accordingly. TCU at least played a Big 10 team in Minnesota and Kansas State has played some good out of league games including Auburn this year. We know Clemson isn't going to have these issues should it get to the discussion at the end because of the multiple SEC opponents on the schedule. That said, I still believe the Big 12 was a good league and was as strong as the Pac 12, and I regret not seeing an Oregon vs. TCU or Baylor matchup. That might have broken scoreboards in Pasadena. Keep an eye out for a post by fellow writer Ryan Kantor on his assessment of this situation.
Bowl winners and losers:
Gotta say the Belk Bowl folks are thrilled to have drawn UGA from the SEC and Louisville. They had to cringe at the thought of having UNC or NCST or Duke in Charlotte. Now they have a game with two ranked teams and it should be a good matchup. WINNER
Music City Bowl gets LSU and won the lottery process with Notre Dame. Although the Irish were overrated as usual this year, they are a team most everyone would love to see his team play. WINNER
Independence Bowl: Sure, they get the "name" with Miami, but they will get a first hand dose of their pitiful fan following in the way of empty seats. They better hope the chicken fans want to follow USuC no matter what and make the trip despite the huge letdown this season has been for them. My guess is they will travel at least 50% less than usual for this. LOSER
Military Bowl: It seems like VT plays Cincinnati every year and here they are again in this bowl game. It's hard to imagine the Hokie faithful getting fired up for this one. But, perhaps their recent home loss to Radford in hoops might have them holding on to football just a little longer. LOSER
Speaking of Radford, that is another loss to the Big South for the ACC. Clemson has handed that conference two wins. As bad as that seems, the ACC has some struggling teams so it isn't out of the question for the Tigers to get to the middle of the pack this year. Wake is bad, VT is still recovering from the Seth Greenberg fallout, Pitt is not its usual self, FSU is struggling, and GT managed to lose to USC Upstate. Hopefully the team can hold it together through that brutal opening stretch of conference play. The top end of the league is very good and Miami is looking like the sleeper team of the league at this point. I can't tell you how excited I would be about things if K.J. had come back this year...sigh.