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Gator Bowl: Will CJ Spiller's Finish Trump Bobby Bowden's Farewell?

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 05:  Running back C.J. Spiller #28 of the Clemson Tigers runs the ball as defensive back Mario Butler #2 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets knocks him out of bounds in the 2009 ACC Football Championship game at Raymond James Stadium on December 5, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Chad HensleyCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2009

Unfortunately for the Clemson Tigers, their Orange Bowl dreams were crushed when they lost to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the ACC Championship game.

During the game, the ESPN announcers said that Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney referred to C.J. Spiller as a "program changer".

After the unbelievable performance that Spiller put on, Dabo might have another name for him—"Bowl Saviour".

Everyone knows that college bowl games other than the National Championship game are based on money.  There are some rules here and there, but in the end it comes down to whoever can bring the most dough.

Based on their ACC record (6-2), the Tigers should be going to the Gator Bowl.

But some old man down in Florida St. is retiring.  

That old man just happens to be a college football icon—Bobby Bowden.

Tiger fans travel much better than Seminoles fans—even to bowl games in Florida—but tickets sold will probably be about even with Bowden retiring.

The Tigers have a better ACC record than the Seminoles (4-4), and beat them head-to-head 40-24.

Still, the legacy of Bowden and the lure of his last game has the Gator Bowl committee salivating.

That was until Heisman candidate C.J. Spiller had the best game of his life, in the biggest game of his college career.

I believe the Gator Bowl committee will now consider the more deserving Tigers based on Spiller's performance alone. 

I am not comparing Spiller's career with Bowden's, but it is Spiller's last game too.   And you can believe Tiger fans want to see the best player in Clemson's history one more time.  

Are the Tigers the better team? Yes.  Will that matter?  Probably not.

But if the Tigers get to play in this year's Gator Bowl, Clemson fans can thank No. 28 one more time.

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