Bowden, Clemson Just Peachy


Clemson is headed to the Peach Bowl, completing a stunning turnaround under new coach Tommy Bowden.

The Tigers (6-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) tied for second in the ACC and qualified for bowl consideration with a 31-21 victory at South Carolina in the traditional season-ending game for both teams.

Clemson will face a Southeastern Conference team to be determined after the SEC's championship game Saturday, said Gary Stokan, president of the Peach Bowl. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Mississippi State all are in the running.

The Peach Bowl, sponsored by Chick-fil-A, will be played the night of Dec. 30 in Atlanta and televised on ESPN.

It will be the fifth Peach Bowl appearance for Clemson. The Tigers' only win was 14-13 over Kentucky in 1993. They lost to Auburn after the 1997 season, Louisiana State in 1996 and Baylor in 1979.

The game will be Bowden's first bowl game as a head coach. Last year, he led Tulane to an 11-0 regular season and a Liberty Bowl berth, but left for Clemson before the bowl game was played.

Last year, Clemson finished eighth in the ACC (3-8, 1-7) and missed bowl play for the first time since 1994.

"With not going to a bowl last year, we would have been excited to go to any bowl," Bowden said. "And going to this bowl, with so many players from the Georgia area, from our area, I think if you had to pick one they'd prefer they would surely pick this."

The Tigers' turnaround is more remarkable considering their schedule. Clemson played each of the only three teams that remain undefeated No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Virginia Tech and No. 11 Marshall and those ACCfor three of the Tigers' five losses.

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