Thursday, January 1, 2009

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Kelly morphed into one of Clemson's best

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. â€" It's a call Clemson coach Dabo Swinney gets a thousand times a season. It's usually from a high school coach or a friend and sometimes even from a fan who has just seen the "next great Clemson player." Normally, Swinney is polite, asks a few questions, takes down the information, and files it in the "you've-got-to-be-kidding-me" cabinet.

The town of Tampa is ready for Garcia time

TAMPA, Fla. â€" Driving down Dale Mabry, a couple of miles south of Raymond James Stadium, the sign's message grabs you. Beneath the flashing green letters lighting up the Tahitian Inn, there's this: "It's Garcia time." As you might have heard by now, in so many respects, today's Outback Bowl is about Stephen Garcia. Take a step back. Think about how odd who's.

October losses were key for both Clemson, Nebraska

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. â€" Clemson and Nebraska arrive at today's Gator Bowl with similar histories and circumstances. Both schools have rich football tradition, national championships and zealous fans. But they have also known how easily it can all slip away with coaching changes and turmoil in the ranks.

Outback Bowl Head to Head

Heard enough about Stephen Garcia yet? The USC freshman's been the talk of his hometown. Can he back up all that chatter? Garcia's been playing with a spotlight on him for years. Why would this be any different? He'll play well. But he'll basically need an Outback MVP-type performance if the Gamecocks are going to win. Might be a bit too much to ask. At least at this point. You haven't heard much about Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, but he's been pretty steady since taking over early in the year.

Tampa's recruiting pipeline flowing well for Gamecocks

TAMPA, Fla. â€" South Carolina's Steve Spurrier has been asked several times this week how much the Outback Bowl stands to bolster the Gamecocks' recruiting efforts. The reality is they were doing pretty well in this town without the game. "I think we're doing OK here," Spurrier said, smiling, earlier in the week.

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