Clemson heads into bye with momentum and skeptics

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Quarterback Tajh Boyd has been around Clemson long enough to know that he isn't only going to hear praise and optimism even with the No. 16 Tigers at 5-1 going into an off week.

"At the end of the day, there are always going to be skeptics and things of that nature," Boyd said after Clemson's 47-31 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday "Now we're coming off a bye weekend, and they're (worried that we are) not going to be prepared for that game."

For the past decade, people have almost expected Clemson to fall apart after success. Last season, the Yellow Jackets beat the Tigers, ending their 8-0 start and leading to three losses in four games. If not for a weaker-than-expected Atlantic Division, Clemson might have even missed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

And that's just the most recent example. In 2000, the Yellow Jackets ended another 8-0 start by the Tigers, who then lost three of four. In fact, Clemson has gone through a stretch of losing at least three out of four games in all but two seasons since the turn of the century.

Despite Saturday's win, Clemson still fell one spot in The Associated Press Top 25.

But the Tigers still have plenty to play for. Florida State's loss Saturday to North Carolina State means the Tigers are back on track for another ACC title game appearance with one more loss by the Seminoles. And with five wins already, Clemson has a chance to get back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since going 10-2 four straight years from 1987-1990.

Coach Dabo Swinney thinks this year's Tigers are different from some recent Clemson squads.

"I know there's a lot of people out there that believe in voodoo or something, we can't win here — we don't buy into all that stuff," Swinney said. "I hear it all the time."

Clemson's offense is leading the ACC and is tenth in the nation at nearly 526 yards a game. The Tigers gained 601 yards against Georgia Tech, marking the fourth time in six games they have gained over 500 yards.