CLEMSON — A sampling of fans who support the program financially clearly crave bragging rights over another conference championship. An online newsletter poll distributed to IPTAY donors begged the question: What is Clemson’s biggest football game this fall?
The three options were:
• The season opener hosting Georgia in a potential top-10 Saturday night showdown broadcast to the nation
• The Florida State matchup, which has determined the ACC Atlantic Division champ four straight years
• The regular-season finale at South Carolina, a heated in-state rivalry with the Gamecocks enjoying a four-game winning streak.
The middle game, Florida State, could portend a perfect league slate, positioning the Tigers for perhaps the program’s first 8-0 ACC run. Yet national title dreams hinge on at least knocking off the Bulldogs or Gamecocks.
Based on the poll, receiving 301 votes over the weekend, fans are going big or going home.
Of 301 voters, 47.8 percent (144 voters) tabbed the Georgia opener the biggest game of the year, while 39.5 percent (119 voters) took South Carolina. Only 12.6 percent (38 voters) believed Florida State was the key to Clemson’s 2013 success.
Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State combined for a 35-6 record in 2012 – including three bowl game victories – and each finished the season ranked in The Associated Press Top 10. Clemson, which beat LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, checked in at No. 11.
“I think it’s great for Clemson-Georgia and the fan bases,” Swinney told The ACC Network in a video interview released June 14. “When it got put back on the schedule, it immediately caught everybody’s attention and people have been talking about it for several years now.”
New Era for ACC?
The ACC will join the Big Ten with a bowl game in the biggest media market in America, according to an ESPN report.
The report indicates the ACC expects to announce today a six-year partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl beginning in 2014 with the new bowl cycle. That game’s played at Yankee Stadium, and previously teamed with the American Conference (formerly the Big East) and Big 12.