A significant streak is at stake for No. 19 Clemson (9-3) when it battles Iowa State (7-5) in the Cheez-It Bowl this evening.
The Tigers are vying for their 11th consecutive 10-win season to join Florida State (14, 1987-2000) and Alabama (14, 2008-21) as the only schools to reach double-digit victories in at least 11 straight seasons.
ACC Network analyst Kelly Gramlich, who co-hosted the Packer and Durham show on the network this morning, talked about the streak that’s on the line for Clemson and previewed its Cheez-It Bowl matchup vs. Iowa State.
“That’s a big deal. The 10-win streak is a huge deal,” Gramlich said, “and I think Iowa State is also very motivated — trying to get to eight wins, trying to get a big win over Clemson. This is a marquee opponent for Iowa State. At 7-5, they probably didn’t think they’d get a chance to play this kind of a program in a bowl at 7-5. So, it’s huge for both teams. And I think the 10-win mark — I know how important that is for Clemson, having covered this program pretty closely over the last 10 years.”
Gramlich compared Clemson’s season this year to the 2014 campaign, when the Tigers earned their 10th win with a 40-6 victory over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl on the same date that the Cheez-It Bowl is being played today — Dec. 29.
“You look back at a season like 2014, where they also found a way to get 10 wins — nine wins in the regular season, then the win over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl, which is what this bowl used to be,” Gramlich said. “And then that season really propelled you to the 2015 playoff, and Clemson fans still take a lot of pride in winning 10 games in that year where you had a lot of injuries, at quarterback specifically. So, I know that’s a big deal.”
Gramlich also believes the consecutive 10-win seasons streak is a big deal to Clemson’s seniors, who are hoping to go out on top with a victory over the Cyclones.
“I know it matters so much for these seniors,” she said. “They didn’t have the season they wanted, but to go out and say I never had a year where I didn’t at least win 10 games, even a COVID year, that’s huge for (James) Skalski and (Nolan) Turner and (Darien) Rencher and all of these guys who have been at Clemson for it seems like decades.”
The Cheez-It Bowl will kick off at 5:45 p.m. at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and be televised on ESPN. Clemson is a 1.5-point favorite.
“When you look at bowl games, you look at motivation and you look at location,” Gramlich said. “The location doesn’t really affect either of these teams, it being in sunny Orlando. But I think both teams are highly motivated, so I expect a really fun and exciting game in the Cheez-It Bowl.”
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