Clemson cleared one of its biggest hurdles on Saturday night with a 26-19 victory over Auburn in Atlanta. The Tigers have a couple of creampuffs in the next two weeks, then travel to Tallahassee for a matchup against Florida State.
A promotional flier for a "Naughty or Nice" Christmas party at a Fort Myers bar/restaurant has caught the attention of NCAA investigators after four current college players were listed as hosts of the Dec. 23 event.
Brothers Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Jaylen Watkins (Florida), Brodrick Jenkins (West Virginia) and Spencer Boyd (South Florida) had their names on the flier, which was posted Monday on the Twitter account of Marcus Price, a former Fort Myers High basketball player who is known as DJ LowKey. Price, who will perform at the event, said the flier was being reworked to remove the names of the players.
"We don't want them to get in any trouble," he said.
Thirty years ago, Clemson won a national title. Now the Tigers are trying to rebound from a 6-7 season, which included a 27-24 overtime loss to eventual BCS champion Auburn. Dabo Swinney is entering his third full season as coach, but with the program appearing to be in decline, the Tigers will have to turn it around to keep Swinney employed.
The Wiz of Odds is conducting a comprehensive study of bowl game expense reports. All of the data collected — expense reports for 56 teams and bowl surveys for 40 teams — are being posted on the site. Here is the latest installment. For an overview of the project, click here.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl, which is played in Charlotte, opened for business in 2002. The game, which is owned and operated by Raycom Sports, has undergone several name changes. Continental Tire sponsored the event for three years before Meineke took over from 2005-10. Meineke dropped its sponsorship early in 2011 and Belk, a department store chain based in Charlotte, has become the new title sponsor.
2010 participants: Clemson and South Florida.
Clemson expenses: The school reported absorbing 3,023 tickets at a cost of $328,095. Total expenses were listed at $941,294. Download Clemson Expenses
Survey: Although it was a short 114-mile trip to Charlotte, Clemson sold only 7,118 tickets. Athletic director Terry Don Phillips nearly apologized to the bowl for Tiger fans' tepid interest in the game.
"The [bowl] staff did everything possible to assist us in the sale of tickets," he wrote. "We wish we could have sold more."
Clemson's biggest expense — meals and lodging — gobbled up 44.2 percent of expenses. Phillips gave a "neutral" response when asked about the cost of hotel rooms. Download Clemson Survey
South Florida expenses: A whopping 51.5 percent of the school's reported expenses of $1.4 million came from absorbed tickets. The team reportedly absorbed 9,548 tickets at a cost of $728,745. The school sold only 2,328. Under other expenses, the Bulls listed credit card fees of $4,049. Download South Florida Expenses
Survey: Absorbed ticket costs were apparently on athletic director Doug Woolard's mind when he filled out the survey. Woolard gave a "neutral" rating when asked about the ticket requirement and cost of tickets.
He was critical of the practice field location.
"The proximity of the practice field to the hotel was inconvienient [sic]. In future bowls, we would hope that the practice venue would be closer to the team hotel," he wrote.
Woolard also gave "neutral" responses when asked about the cost of hotel rooms and whether the accommodations were adequate for VIPs, the team, fans and alumni.
"There was a shortage of complimentary tickets for some of the events (e.g. Welcome Reception), while others we had hoped would be open to the rest of the travel party (e.g. Charlotte Motor Speedway).
"VIP Room (hospitality) needs to be more closely monitored. Donors and miscellaneous guests at the hotel often came in to the room, disturbing players and coaches." Download South Florida Survey
The big question surrounding the Tigers centers on quarterback Kyle Parker, who was taking batting practice last week with the Colorado Rockies. Parker, an outfielder, slugged 20 home runs and led the Tigers to the College World Series. The Rockies selected him No. 26 overall in June's Major League Draft, and teams don't waste a top pick on a prospect who is going to play football. Parker threw for 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns last fall, believed to be the first time a Division I player had hit 20 home runs and thrown 20 TDs. Side note: Parker's mom, Cathy, was the driving force behind Project Alaska Turf, the fundraising effort to bring an artificial turf field to the Barrow High Whalers. If Kyle decides to sign with the Rockies, the Tigers are in a pinch. Backup Willy Korn transferred to Marshall, leaving redshirt sophomore Tajh Boyd and fifth-year senior Michael Wade to compete for the starting job.
As a run up to the start of the season, the Wiz will display one poster each day until our supply is exhausted. Last year, the site displayed 69 posters.
Then we turn it over to readers, who will vote on the poster of the year. Until then, send your team's poster schedule to jayzuma (at) gmail.com.