8-4 overall, 4-4 conference, 3rd ACC Atlantic
Against the spread
8-4 (4-3 home, 4-1 away, 8-3 grass)
5-7 (3-4 home, 2-3 away, 5-6 grass)
+.75 per game
Six seasons after Tommy Bowden arrived as the touted “savior” of the program, Clemson was coming off a most average 6-5 straight up and 4-7 against the spread season that ended with a brawl against arch rival South Carolina , which cost the Tigers a bowl appearance.
Bowden was clearly on the hot seat entering 2005 as he went from the man who led Tulane to an undefeated season in 1998 to the man that had struggled to keep Clemson above .500 in three of the previous four seasons. Former coach Danny Ford, who lead Clemson to their greatest glory during the 1980's, had created a monster that his successors had been unable to feed ever since but Tiger Nation would not be satisfied with anything other than a return to national prominence, a level that Bowden was failing to reach.
Notorious for inconsistency
Bowden's teams were notorious for their inconsistency and playing to the level of their competition. Clemson had enjoyed wins against powerhouses Miami , Florida State and Tennessee in the previous two seasons but that was countered by losses to traditional doormats Wake Forest and Duke.
Great expectations were followed by a letdown…AGAIN!
Clemson kicked off the 2005 campaign with a Saturday Night national television home game against highly touted Texas A&M, who's win over Clemson the previous season served as a springboard to launch them back into national prominence. The hype turned the Tigers into a live 2-5-point dog that bit A&M hard in a 25-24 win. Next was a trip to Maryland where, again, the Tigers were 2.5-point dogs. Clemson scored a 28-24 win to start the season at 2-0 and with new founded great expectations will from both boosters and gamblers alike. Unfortunately the great expectations were followed by a letdown…AGAIN!
The Miami Hurricanes came calling to Clemson in an ACC showdown. Clemson was a hefty 7-point dog and got the cash in a 30-36 loss that seemed to deflate them for their home game the following week against Boston College . The Tigers lost to BC 13-16 as 3-point chalks but the worst was yet to come. The following week at Wake Forest , as 6.5-point chalks, Clemson dropped their third consecutive game straight up in a 27-31 loss that had Clemson faithful enraged and again calling for Bowden's head, as they had been doing for the past few years. All of the good will gained from that 2-0 start was now nuked, and Clemson was written off by the general gambling public.
The dogs continue to bite!
Now ignored, if not out right opposed by the general gambling public, Clemson was a 4-point dog at struggling North Carolina State and scored a shocking 31-10 win and cover. This was followed by a 37-7 home win over Temple as overvalued 37-point chalks.
Clemson next traveled to Georgia Tech where they lost a tough 9-10 decision as 2.5-point dogs. In this matchup of similarly inconsistent roller coaster type programs, taking the points once again proved to be the smart way to go as the dogs continued to bite in 2005. Clemson now stood at 4-4 SU with the dog getting the cash in all 8 of those games.
Decreased public appeal equaled increased value
Clemson came home fighting for their bowl lives as they faced Duke. The Blue Devils were just what the doctor ordered as Clemson got the cash in a 49-20 win as 28-point chalks. The puppy struck again the following week as Clemson defeated Bowden's daddy and Florida State 35-14 as 1-point home dogs. This was followed by the intra-state rivalry game at South Carolina where the Tigers were somewhat surprising 3-point chalks in a game that was considered a coin flip. It was a nice trap that was set by the oddsmakers as a lot of cash was sucked in on the Gamecock side as the masses of asses figured USC coach Steve Spurrier would be a live home dog. Clemson took the game 13-9 to finish with three consecutive straight up wins and with four straight covers proving once again that decreased public appeal equaled increased value on the betting boards. In fact, they would prove that one more time in their bowl game against unwanted Colorado , who was reeling after two humiliating losses that cost their coach his job. Clemson failed to cover in a 19-10 win as 10.5-point chalks for another value lesson.