The criteria established by Clemson president Deno Curris earlier this week to hire a new football coach has narrowed the list of candidates considerably.
The school began its search for a new coach last week after it fired coach Tommy West after five seasons, and former Clemson coach Danny Ford was eliminated from consideration for the job on when the list of criteria for the position that included "an unimpeachable record of NCAA rules compliance."
The Tigers were twice sanctioned for NCAA violations during Ford's tenure as Clemson's head coach from 1979-89.
The criteria also eliminates Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Ricky Bustle and Clemson offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, stating that candidates must have Division I head coaching experience.
Curris said the school's board of trustees and athletic director Bobby Robinson, who is conducting the search, supported the criteria.
Associate athletics director Tim Match said the school did not want to release the criteria eliminating Ford but did so because "things threatened to cost us some good candidates if we didn't put an end to it."
The top candidates include Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, Tulane coach Tommy Bowden and former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.
Robinson has received permission to talk to Beamer and Tommy Bowden once their regular seasons are over. South Carolina also received permission to talk with Beamer. However, reports out of Blacksburg have said that Beamer has already withdrawn his candidacy at Clemson.
Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary wouldn't dare to predict a Yellow Jacket victory Saturday over cross-state rival Georgia at Sanford Stadium, but he sounded pretty confident in Tech's chances earlier this week.
The No. 17 Yellow Jackets and 12th-ranked Bulldogs each enter the game 8-2.
"I think we're peaking when we need to be peaking," O'Leary said. "I think our team has played very well away this year. It's a great competition and we've got the rivalry back in the game."
The Jackets are 0-4 against Georgia under O'Leary, including a 19-10 loss in 1996 and an 18-17 loss in 1995 -- a game decided in the closing seconds.
"We need to win those games," O'Leary said. "We've had some heart-breakers with them, but close doesn't count. We've got to get it done."
PLEASE, NO SHOOTOUT:
Despite North Carolina's vast improvement on both sides of the ball following a miserable start, coach Carl Torbush says his Tar Heels (5-5) aren't good enough to get into an offensive shootout with archrival North Carolina State (7-3) on Saturday.
"We're dealing with a football team that is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now," Torbush said of the Wolfpack, which hasn't beaten North Carolina in five years and boasts the top offense in the Atlantic Coast Conference. "They've beaten some really good football teams."
N.C. State is averaging 448 yards and 29.7 points per game, but has scored 45, 38 and 35 points during its recent three-game winning streak.
The North Carolina defense has improved drastically since opening the season 0-3. The Tar Heels are 49th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 23.6 points per game.
"I know we're going to have to play a great game on defense to slow them down, but we don't need to get into a situation where the score is 40-38."
North Carolina is a bit thin in the secondary with Errol Hood and Anthony Anderson nursing injuries. Former running back Tyrell Godwin, who played about 12 plays in the secondary last week against Duke, could be matched up with Wolfpack All-American receiver Torry Holt.
"What we've got to do is make sure we match up and mix some things up and try to give our guys a chance to be successful," Torbush said. "I know our cornerbacks are looking forward to the chance of playing Torry."
N.C. State coach Mike O'Cain should be on top of the world. The Wolfpack sits at 7-3 headed into a showdown with rival North Carolina, and they are headed to the Micron PC Bowl, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 29.
But O'Cain spent the early part of the week dealing with tragedy, after three reserve players were involved in a shooting that killed another student over the weekend.
Instead of enjoying the build-up to Saturday's showdown and basking in the successful rebuilding of his team this season, O'Cain has spent most of the week distracted by the shooting.
"It has settled down for the team, but in my mind it has not, there still are a lot of things going on," O'Cain said. "But that's what I'm here for. I'll absorb all the distractions."
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