Well, Monday marked the time for someone else to take the heat for Clemson's disappointing 3-3 start to 2008. In two meetings with athletic director Terry Don Phillips this morning, Tommy Bowden came to this basic conclusion:
It was best for the program that he step down as head coach of the Clemson Tigers.
Even with the benching of QB Cullen Harper, it was pretty clear following their 12-7 loss at Wake Forest on Thursday that heads were going to roll. But give credit to Bowden for bowing out gracefully in the face of howling legions who wanted him gone after last season, only to see him sign an extension after talking briefly with Arkansas about their opening. "Terry Don Phillips approached me this morning and we agreed that this is the best solution for the direction of the program," said Coach Bowden in a statement on Monday.
But even with the departure of Bowden, there had to be a feeling that there would be a puzzling action to follow. Dabo Swinney, who coaches the wide receivers and is the assistant head coach, will step in on an interim basis and finish out the season. The hope has to be that Swinney, known in many circles as one of the better recruiters in college football, can hold things together on the recruiting front for the remainder of the season. That's rather routine. But some of the comments attributed to guys expected to be leaders of a team ranked in the Top 10 to start the season? Wow.
Both Cullen Harper and C.J. Spiller made statements about how Coach Bowden's motivational tactics were essentially falling on deaf ears, and the father of Harper referred to his firing as "karma" in an article on ESPN.com. Spiller even cited an issue with the playcalling that fans from Clemson to Carson, CA. and everywhere in between had stated from Day One (or at least after getting whipped by Alabama): that he and James Davis weren't getting the ball enough under the direction of offensive coordinator Rob Spence. You don't say. And for good measure, one of the first changes made by Coach Swinney was the dismissal of Spence. Doesn't look like a program on solid ground if you ask me.
Weekend honor for Texas and Oklahoma State.
For the first time in the seven-year history of the honor, two teams shared the FWAA/Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week award. Texas (now ranked #1 following a 45-35 win over Oklahoma in Dallas) and Oklahoma State (beat then-#3 Missouri 28-23 in Columbia on Saturday night) share the award...and first place in the Big 12 South. Nominated for the award due to their play on Saturday were Florida (who beat then-#4 LSU 51-21) and Toledo (who won at Michigan 13-10).
Knee injuries end season for players at North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and Washington State.
The following players suffered season-ending knee injuries in games on Saturday:
North Carolina WR Brandon Tate, Kentucky WR Dicky Lyons Jr., Georgia LT Vince Vance (whoever replaces Vance will be the fourth left tackle this season) and Washington State QB Marshall Lobbestael. The biggest loss of these four is Tate, thought of by many as one of the most dangerous players in all of college football. But these are cases, along with Oklahoma LB Ryan Reynolds, of players who are important parts of their team going down. How there are replaced will tell the story of each squad's season.