Tigers honor ’81 team, hope to follow in its footsteps

It will be deja vu all over again in Death Valley today, when Clemson plays host to North Carolina with visions of a national championship dancing in the Tigers’ fans heads.

And how appropriate that Clemson will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its only national championship squad. The 1981 team will be honored at halftime, but the 85,000 orange-clad fans on hand will be thinking about repeat performance.

This year’s squad has a lot in common with the ’81 Tigers. The old guys didn’t throw as much as the current Tigers and QB Tajh Boyd, but there are some similarities.

Both came out of nowhere to contend for the title. Both are led by former assistant coaches who were promoted to the head job – Danny Ford in ’81 and Dabo Swinney in ’11.
And both are underdogs to claim the crown. The No. 8-ranked Tigers to hope for several teams ahead of them to stumble while they stay on the straight and narrow.

Clemson avoids the upset today, and the halftime ceremony should be enough to inspire them to run the table and see how the BCS computers shake out. … Clemson (-10) 34, North Carolina 20.

* Gardner-Webb at Coastal Carolina: The Chants are coming off a 63-27 depantsing at the hands of Liberty and hope to get back on track today against the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

Both teams are banged up, but Coastal has the depth advantage and the home field edge before a homecoming crowd at Brooks Stadium.

Look for quarterback Aramis Hillary to get the Chanticleers offense rolling and the defense to show some pride after the Flames put up 63 on the them last weekend. … Coastal Carolina 31, Gardner-Webb 17.

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