The Confidential

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Archive for the category “Orange Bowl”

Highlights of the 2014 BCS Discover Orange Bowl


1.       Winning the 2014 BCS Orange Bowl—Awwwww yeah! It literally came down to the last minute when Ohio State was down 40-35 with the ball at the 50 yard line. Braxton Miller threw a beautiful interception, caught by Clemson’s own Stephone Anthony. This sealed the deal for the Tigers and bonus points: Urban Meyer didn’t react by punching Anthony in the throat.

2.       Tajh Boyd—In his final game as a Clemson Tiger, Tajh went out with a bang. As Dabo Swinney said, “He put an exclamation point on his legacy.” Tajh finished the game with five touchdowns and 505 all-purpose yards, 78 more yards than the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’re really going to miss his leadership and I can’t wait to see him play on Sunday’s.

3.       Dabo Swinney—You could probably make a highlight reel of just Dabo after the game, he was animated to say the least. Personally, his best moment was this magnificent sound bite, “we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game”. Ah yes, not only did we get the sweet victory but getting to rub it in Steve Spurrier’s face doesn’t hurt either. For whatever reason, if any Gamecocks are reading this, I say, suck it up. Spurrier is no angel in this fight. You’re mad because Dabo’s comment was the truth and it was said on a bigger national stage. You know, seeing as it was the stage of a BCS Bowl. BOOM, roasted.*

4. Sammy Watkins—Saving the best for last. Sammy set an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions and a Clemson and Orange Bowl record with 227 receiving yards. He was unbelievable. With an average of 14.2 yards per catch, he was Tajh Boyd’s go to receiver and his talent is going to be greatly missed. As a true junior, Sammy has declared for the NFL Draft. While we’ll miss his lightning speed and magnetic hands, he’ll represent Clemson well in the NFL next season.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Clemson Defense—While the score might reflect a shootout, it was truly entertaining watching the Tigers contain Ohio State QB, Braxton Miller, to a mere 35 yards rushing. They completely shut him down on the ground. With 18 carries, he rushed an average 1.9 yards per carry, his lowest of the season.
  • Santa Claus—if you read my last article, the only thing on my Christmas list was a Clemson win. Ole’ Saint Nick pulled through. Thanks big guy.
  • The Referee’s—One song comes to mind when trying to describe the officiating from Friday night, “these boys can’t hold us back, these boys can’t hold us back, we too deep (ay, ay)”. The anthem of a generation Clemson Football. Good try ref’s, you’ll need some more flags to stop this excessive celebration.

Check out the video here:



*Let the record show I have a much deeper opinion on this matter but for lack of reader attention span will not disclose it here.

A Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

As much as it pains me to say, please disregard my previous letter asking for $1,000,000 and Luke Kuechly to be my boyfriend; instead I’d like to make a more selfless request.

This Christmas, I’d like it if you and your elves could conjure up a Clemson win this post season. It would really mean a lot to me, my family, and the rest of the Clemson faithful. I’m sure you’ve gotten plenty of letters from Buckeye fans, Gamecock fans, and Jesse Palmer, asking for a Clemson loss, but I really hope you’ll consider my request. Here are some cold hard facts as to why you should give me what I want grant my wish:

1. I’ve been good this year—I graduated and became a proud Clemson alumni, joined IPTAY to show my support for Clemson athletes, and I continue to pay my student loans on time (Joy to the World!)

2. It’s Tajh Boyd’s last game—Tajh has been a true blessing to the Clemson program and I’d really hate to see him go out on a sour note. Breaking all kinds of ACC and school records, he will go down as one of, if not the best quarterback in Clemson history. This win could be the cherry on top to an already outstanding career.

3. You look really good in Orange—Look! Seriously, you’re killin’ it.

Clemson Santa

4.  Last time Clemson played Ohio State we didn’t punch anyone—this is a no brainer. Last time we played the Buckeyes it was 1978. Their coach literally grabbed Clemson middle linebacker, Charlie Bauman, and punched him through the facemask after he caught an interception. Shouldn’t they be punished? 36 years later. Sure the coach was fired, but I still feel like the whole team hasn’t fully felt those repercussions.

5.  Finally, Clemson doesn’t just need this win, the entire ACC needs it—please consider this selfless request not only on the behalf of my Clemson Tigers, but on the rest of the ACC as well. Try as we might to become a strong football conference, it just hasn’t happened yet. With a Clemson win, you’d be showing the nation that the ACC can produce teams that win…even without that SEC speed.

Merry Christmas and I’ll be looking for you on Santa tracker.


Mary Stewart Bailey

P.S. If you’re feeling extra jolly, I won’t turn away a million dollar stocking stuffer.

ORANGE You Glad We’re Not Playing Alabama

As this college football season comes to a close, so does the Bowl Championship Series (thank goodness, bring on the playoffs). In the final season of BCS bowl games, the Clemson Tigers will make the trek down to Miami to play in the Discover Orange Bowl, their second trip in three years.  The Tigers are looking to prove the naysayer’s wrong with a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 3, 2014. The theme of this year’s Orange Bowl is one of redemption.

Read more…

Card Nation Address

Hello my fellow Louisville and college sports fans. The state of Card Nation can be described in one word, hopeful. Besides scoring enough style points this Cardinal football team has done all that they can do. They are 5-0 and currently ranked 8th in the country. All of this is pretty incredible considering that just four years ago they were struggling just to make a bowl game. It’s been a rapid climb back to the top, thanks to coach Strong. Cards fans came into this season with a shot at the national championship dancing in their heads, so where do they stand after week six?


We knew the Cards were along shot for a title shot and that their destiny wasn’t solely in their own hands. That they would need help from their scheduled teams, from their conference and that they would need teams ahead of them to lose. So far none of this has happened. The American Conference (AAC) has been worse than expected, who knew that was possible. The two best teams the Cards have played are Kentucky and Ohio. It’s understandable to wonder what if Ohio State had balls and chose to play the Cards instead of San Diego St? Or what if ESPN could have swooped Virginia Tech for the Cards in the opener against Alabama? What if the Big East didn’t fall apart and West Virginia and TCU was still on the schedule? There’s a lot of ifs and buts about the schedule but it is what it is.

So why do I describe Card Nation as hopeful? There are some positives to look forward to.  Besides joining the ACC next season and having teams such as Florida St, Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame on the schedule and opening the 2015 season against Auburn, there are some positives for this season as well. The Cards have the best conference teams ahead of them yet so the schedule will get more difficult, starting this Thursday night against Rutgers (4-1 1-0) at home. On 10-18 Central Florida (4-1 1-0) visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. On 11-16 Houston (4-0 1-0) comes to town before the Cards finish the season at Cincinnati (3-2 0-1).

A shot at the national championship may be out of their reach but a second straight BCS Bowl bid, third overall, is well within their grasp. Current projections include Florida State in the Orange, Baylor in the Fiesta and South Carolina in the Sugar. One can’t discount the Rose just yet either. Since the Cards defeated Alabama in the Fiesta back in the 90’s, pre BCS era, the Rose remains the only BCS caliber bowl that they haven’t won.

If the Cards can’t play for the championship then we still have a couple of ACC teams to pull for. The current BCS projections has two ACC teams ranked in the top six. Alabama has a solid lock on the top spot but what happens when/if they lose? Here are the BCS projected top ten according to

1 Alabama 0.9980, 2 Oregon 0.9107, 3 Clemson 0.8750, 4 Stanford 0.8661, 5 Ohio State 0.7804, 6 Florida St 0.7704, 7 Georgia 0.7671, 8 Oklahoma 0.6502, 9 Louisville 0.6191, 10 LSU 0.6111

The actual BCS rankings will be released after week 7.

Here are the current AAC standings

1 Louisville 5-0 1-0

2 Houston 4-0 1-0

3 Rutgers 4-1 1-0 (beat Arkansas)

4 Central Fla 4-1 1-0 (beat Penn St, lost to South Carolina)

5 USF 1-4 1-0

6 UConn 0-4 0-0

7 Cincinnati 3-2 0-1

8 Memphis 1-3 0-1

9 SMU 1-4 0-1 (Louisville does not play this year, 8 game schedule)

10 Temple 0-5 0-2

In 2013, Louisville Again Proves Its Worth



If any doubt still existed as to whether the University of Louisville was the right choice for membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference, those doubts were dashed on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

As I watched my beloved Cardinals struggle, persevere and then triumph against the Syracuse Orange in the last Big East Championship title game of the modern era, I couldn’t help but think about all the naysayers and detractors of Belknap’s athletic department as the ACC made its decision in 2012.

Louisville basketball has come a long way, to be sure. We were always the known unknown who entered and left conferences. From the Metro Conference to Conference USA to the Big East Conference, the pride of Louisville proved and proved and proved themselves to fans, outsiders and future conference brass by winning national titles and battling our way into Final Fours. When Rick Pitino was hired as head coach after legend Denny Crum wrapped up his career, fans instantly knew the future was bright and we would give our new coach as much time as he needed.

What we have accomplished as members of the Big East is still unfathomable in my eyes. I’m sure the Villanovas and Syracuses and Georgetowns and Connecticuts chided the decision to add us and others to their ranks and assumed they would continue to dominate the league. No one could have written the memorable storyline the Cardinals have produced since 2005.

Louisville became the winningest program since the realignment of 2005 and has now won its third conference basketball championship. As finalists of the tournament in four of the last five years, the Cardinals have continued to prove their worth on the hardwood.

2013 Big East Champions(Credits:

2013 Big East Champions

In football, Louisville has always faced an uphill challenge. Scheduling juggernauts like Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame had been a difficult feat to claim, and recruiting the best players from around the country has never been our trademark. However, the football Cardinals made it their mission to always be satisfied with the progression of the program and to constantly improve from within.

Having won our two Bowl Championship Series matchups (2006 FedEx Orange Bowl and 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl), we put everything on the field when we are placed on the stage and told to perform.

When Coach Charlie Strong chose to extend his contract at Louisville rather than take the Tennessee job with the Southeastern Conference, fans surrounding the university knew what he thought about his current job and the institution. The sigh of relief throughout the River City came from fans who realized that our time had finally come to keep our coach and strive to maintain and surpass our accomplishments.

Although elevated, it is clear head coach Charlie Strong is not satisfied with the heights of the program under his tutelage. The invitation to the ACC combined with the fashion in which Louisville dealt the Gators the loss in the Sugar Bowl sent the city into overdrive.

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory(Credits: Getty Images)

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory
(Credits: Getty Images)

All we ask is for a chance to prove our worth. That is all we have ever wanted, and it appears we will soon get our chance once again in the prestigious ACC in 2014.

FSU News: The Monday Chop

Latest news on everything FSU

FSU holds junior day:  FSU is in the middle of two big recruiting weekends.  Jimbo got a commitment from Kamryn Pettway, who is a 220 pound junior running back.  It is clear Jimbo is trying to find the next Lonnie Pryor.  Pryor played an enormous role in Jimbo’s offense, even as a “fullback” so I don’t think it’s a hard job to sell.  Jimbo is also pursuing QB JJ Cosentino pretty hard.  JJ tore his ACL in his sophomore year, so he might be a little underrated.  He comes from the same school as Dan Marino and… Sal Suneri.  Sal’s impact on the coaching staff, just from a recruiting standpoint, has been immense.  On the other side of the ball, all he pretty much has to say is that he coached Julius Peppers.

Looking forward to spring:  There will be many position battles this spring–the most important being at quarterback.  The candidates are Clint Trickett (an undersized coach’s son who knows the playbook in-and-out), Jacob Coker (an underrated QB out of high school with all of the physical tools), and Jameis Winston (a two-sport star who was the top dual threat QB in 2012).  One thing I’m worried about is the fact that Jameis Winston is playing baseball and does a good deal of pitching.  Pitchers get all sorts of elbow and shoulder injuries.  Wear and tear aside, the effect this can have on his throwing motion is unknown.  Folks have cited to the fact that Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson both played, at a high level, football and baseball.  Yes, but neither Sanders nor Jackson played QB.  This will be a story line to watch going forward and count me in the Coker camp.  Less wear and tear, one more year in the system than Winston, and a sole focus on football.

The lack of news on FSU’s new offensive coordinator:  The last public bit of knowledge about FSU’s offensive coordinator position was that Jimbo would be interviewing candidates.  Last week, we heard of two candidates, the former UCLA OC Mike Johnson and the current USC WR coach Tee Martin.  No other candidates have surfaced.  This could mean a few things–Jimbo liked one of them and is working on a contract or Jimbo was upset that information was leaking and is trying to do things more covertly.  My preference is still Chris Weinke to come in and be the QB coach.  It’s a bit delusional to think Jimbo would defer coaching QBs to Weinke, but it would be in the best interest of the program.  It is one thing to bring in recruits and show them sealed lockers of FSU greats.  It is another thing to actually have one of those greats on the sideline and recruiting.  Chant Rant was the first to float this idea, so I will give them due credit, but this just seems like a no-brainer move.

In other news:  Mario Cristobal, the former FIU head coach and current (well, no longer current) UM offensive line coach, has accepted a position with Nick Saban as their offensive line coach.  A lateral move in title, sure, but a tremendous opportunity for Cristobal.  Cristobal was on the UM staff for all of two months.  He even helped court former FSU OC James Coley to UM.  This won’t likely have any real long-term effect on UM, but for FSU fans, it’s a bit of a consolation prize to see Cristobal up and leave.  Also, and quietly, UM has lost a considerable amount of coaches this off-season.

Speaking of coaching changes:  FSU almost lost another assistant.  This time around it was Lawrence Dawsey.  Noles247 reported that NFL teams have called Lawrence Dawsey.  I really can’t speak to Dawsey’s coaching prowess–to be honest, I have expected more out of some of the FSU WRs like Rodney Smith and Kelvin Benjamin.  Those two receivers have the ability to control a game just with their size.  We just never seem to utilize them the way they should be and maybe that’s just more of a reflection of Jimbo’s offense than Dawsey’s ability to coach them up.  I will say this, however:  Dawsey is a loyal Seminole.  It’s clear he wants to be at FSU and so I hope they repay him in kind.

FSU’s ACC Championship Game woes getting attention:  A few outlets have been picking up the FSU story about the half-a-million-dollars-in-debt that it incurred just for appearing in the ACC Championship game.  One outlet, NBC Sports, opines that the only loss in this setting should be on the field–not in the pocket book.  If you want examples of how the ACC is not helping football schools, this may be one of them.  The current formula is not working.  Sure, Swofford has said that they are working to ensure that no school suffers a financial loss because of its appearance in the game, but the ACC Championship games haven’t been relevant or exciting in a long time.  That indicates to me something has to change… granted, they’ve tinkered with the venue a few times, but is Charlotte really the best place?  I think it is too difficult to try and predict who will be in the championship game, so it’s not worth placing it in Charlotte or Jacksonville.  The right place should be at the stadium of the team with the better record, or a tie-breaker of some sort.  They can work out a 60/40 split and it may even be an added incentive for teams to push harder down the stretch.  The fact that FSU lost half a million dollars playing in this game is not going to help the ACC’s cause in trying to stick together.

My other hope for change is some divisional realignment.  FSU fans could care less about Pittsburgh–it is Georgia Tech that FSU should be playing every year.  It is one of the easiest things the ACC can do to help Florida State… a trip to Boston is more expensive and less exciting (on the field) than it is to Atlanta.  This is an ACC Blog, so I’m confident my colleagues will have varying opinions, but I like to stoke the fire some.

The only bright spot of the ACC Championship game, and winning it, is this awesome video about FSU going to the Orange Bowl.  Enjoy.

Reports: Orange Bowl Deal Finalized

CBS Sportsline is reporting that the Orange Bowl deal has been finalized.  According to the report: “The ACC champion will play the highest-ranked team among Notre Dame and available teams from the SEC and Big Ten beginning after the 2014 season.  As the article notes, this deal secures the ACC within the five power conferences that will be dividing most of the college football money.

Left unsaid, of course, is how it will be determined that an SEC or Big Ten team is “available.”  Nevertheless, even the 3rd or 4th best team in these two conferences will present an outstanding gate/matchup for the Orange Bowl.  Georgia-Virginia Tech anyone?  Clemson-Nebraska?  Florida State-Michigan?  LSU-Miami?  Notre Dame-Wisconsin?  Yeah, the ACC and the Orange Bowl will be fine.

The report also notes at length the way the playoff structure will work in just a few years.  There will be ample tie-ins for the 5 major conferences, and then six more slots reserved for all teams.  If it is 6 SEC teams in the top 12, so be it.  If it is 3 teams from the Big East, so be it.  Everyone will have the same access and it will be filled based on merit.  Or, at the very least, the merit as determined by human beings.

Orange Bowl Details Still Being Finalized

As reported last week, the Orange Bowl is looking to set itself up with an ACC team on one side and Notre Dame/SEC/Big 10 on the other.  ESPN is now reporting that a deal is close–details are being discussed as to how to make the determination of opponent.  This is important to the ACC, which owns the TV rights to the game.  Locking up the valuable ND/SEC/B1g trio will be huge for marketing purposes.

The interesting thing is that Notre Dame’s arrangement means that they could be on either side of the game.  If, for example, Florida State is a playoff team, the Orange Bowl could select the ACC runner-up–say a 10-3 Virginia Tech team to play a 10-2 Notre Dame team.  Or, if Virginia Tech played the Orange Bowl the year before, perhaps it would select 10-2 Notre Dame to be the ACC team and have the Irish play a team like Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, etc.  The flexibility of the Orange Bowl will give it additional marketability.  To be sure, Virginia Tech getting bumped in that example will be controversial.  But the financial rewards for the conference as a whole will be significant.

What is clear is that the Orange Bowl will NOT be an ACC vs. Big East game.  And, for that, the Confidential is pleased.

The Orange Bowl Issue

A few months ago, the SEC and Big XII announced a Championship Bowl that would add another pile of money to those conferences’ already large piles of money.  Many saw this as a sign that the ACC was relegated to second tier status as a football conference (or 19th tier, if you are a Florida State fan and looking for excuses for why the team cannot win 10 games anymore).  Some time later, the ACC announced that it had extended its relationship with the Orange Bowl AND earned the right to take the TV revenue from that game.  On the heels of that, the Confidential noted that Notre Dame would likely be a partner with the ACC in the Orange Bowl (here) or perhaps more.  Well, with the news of the ND/ACC partnership, left under-discussed was this tweet from Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick: “We are on track to participate in other side of the Orange Bowl along with SEC & Big Ten. Details to follow.”

This is huge news for the ACC.  Granted, the SEC or Big 10 opponent would be a #3 or #4 level opponent, but these are outstanding matchups.  With all the SEC power teams, the Orange Bowl would feature an outstanding matchup from a regional basis.  If it is a Big 10 school, Miami becomes a great vacation destination.  The Orange Bowl could see a Florida State-Nebraska game.  Of course, if both programs return to their 1990s days, they would be playing that game in the playoffs.  But assuming those teams are 9-10 win teams, that would be a great TV matchup, meaning more revenue for the ACC.  Needless to say, Notre Dame being an option is also very lucrative from a TV standpoint.  While the potential for a rematch is always there, with ND playing only 5 games, that is far from a certainty.  This, of course, is why the Orange Bowl would have the flexibility to go the B1G or SEC route.

One has to note the absence of a comment by Swarbrick regarding a Big East relationship with the Orange Bowl.  Maybe that was an oversight.  Or maybe the Orange Bowl wants nothing to do with the Big East programs.  While Louisville would probably be a good fit, as well as South Florida or Central Florida for geographic reasons, it is doubtful that an ACC-Big East matchup involving those schools would move the TV dial.  And Boise State is just too far away from Miami to think that there would be a large crowd.

In any event, ACC fans will have to continue to monitor this Orange Bowl situation.  Like the TV contract, the Orange Bowl is about ACC revenue.  The more, the better.

UPDATE: Frank the Tank is FAR more optimistic that the Orange Bowl opponent will be a high-quality SEC or B1G opponent, with the arrangement being one of timing:

The upshot of this would be that ACC #1 will be playing either Big Ten #1, SEC #1 or a highly-ranked Notre Dame team in the Orange Bowl in any given year, which will likely yield a media rights payout for the ACC that will be in line with what the Big Ten and Pac-12 are receiving for the Rose Bowl and the SEC and Big 12 are receiving for the Champions Bowl.  Thus, any chicken little beliefs that the ACC is going to end up playing subpar opponents in the Orange Bowl are going to go by the wayside.

If so, the Confidential was way off in suggesting that it would be a #3 or #4 conference representative in the Orange Bowl.  All in all, with the exception of the TV revenue flowing from the ESPN deal, ACC leadership has really rallied quite well.

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