Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How strong is commitment to Bowden?

Some thoughts on college football with the conference championship games approaching:

- Though Clemson has decided to extend Tommy Bowden’s contract for the second time in four years, the new buyout provision will demonstrate the extent of the administration’s support for the coach. Under the existing contract, Bowden’s buyout was $2.5 million if he were fired after this season but drops to $500,000 after next season. Unless the new terms increase the dollar amount of that buyout, Clemson won’t be committing much to a coach who’s been bowl eligible in each of his nine seasons but never has won a championship.

- A few years ago, Connecticut vs. Wake Forest would have seemed a disastrous matchup for any bowl. Now it’s a more pleasing scenario for Charlotte’s Meineke Car Care Bowl, which chose Connecticut from the Big East on Tuesday. According to a New York Times report, Connecticut brought about 7,500 fans to the cold-weather site of Detroit for its first bowl game, the Music City Bowl, in 2004. If Wake Forest can be locked up for the Dec. 29 game in Charlotte, an energized in-state fan base could combine with a strong Connecticut following for a solid crowd.

- It’s been suggested that some well-to-do Duke alumni want to lure South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier back to Durham. Though Spurrier loves a challenge, that’s not likely to happen. Spurrier is a competitive guy who wouldn’t be able to stomach leaving the Gamecocks after losing his last five games with them.

- Virginia Tech would seem to be the favorite heading into the ACC championship game Saturday. The Hokies have the ACC’s best defense and special teams, and their offense has improved with the emergence of a two-quarterback system alternating dropback passer Sean Glennon and fleet-footed freshman Tyrod Taylor. But if the game is close at the end Hokie fans will be uncomfortable seeing the ball in the hands of Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

– Ken Tysiac