CLEMSON -- Game-time temperatures for the Dec. 27 Music City Bowl are expected to be in the 20s. An Orange Bowl appearance in Miami typically features highs in the mid-70s.
It's another measure of the cost of Clemson's loss in the ACC title game.
After a blowout loss to rival South Carolina snapped a six-game win streak, Clemson followed by losing a fourth-quarter lead to Georgia Tech. The two-game losing streak chilled the Tigers' bowl forecast and sense of achievement in 2009.
When the media arrived to take the team's temperature as the Tigers returned to practice this week, Clemson players insisted there will be no hangover. They along with Dabo Swinney say there remains incentive Dec. 27 as the Tigers (8-5) attempt to end a streak of three straight bowl-game losses.
Rendrick Taylor is the only Tiger to have experienced winning a bowl game -- the 2005 victory against Colorado in the Champs Sports Bowl.
"You want to create momentum for your offseason," Swinney said. "A bowl game is a part of that. Everybody is going to finish. It's a choice how you finish.
"Winning this game would be meaningful and create momentum."
Some argue there is far more for Clemson to lose with a loss against
Kentucky -- the perception of losing to another middle-of-the-pack SEC team - than there is to gain with a win.
To allow the Tigers to regroup physically and mentally, Swinney gave the Tigers an extended break last week.
"We had a nice long break to go home and recharge a little bit, get mom's cooking," Clemson senior tight end Michael Palmer said. "We're back out here ready to work, trying to put it behind us."
Swinney believes the Tigers will be better able to put the loss behind them by revisiting their last meeting with Kentucky -- a 2006 loss in the Music City Bowl. Notable Clemson seniors like Palmer, C.J Spiller and Jacoby Ford were a part of that team, which had also come off a loss to South Carolina.
"Our seniors are the main guys who were in that game," Swinney said. "They're aware we got embarrassed the last time we went there. We weren't prepared to play … it was pretty obvious." Swinney said the Tigers will be better prepared this time. And the Wildcats have refocusing to do, too, coming off a heart-breaking overtime loss to Tennessee.
"We'll prepare relentlessly, coach hard and get guys to play with great effort," Swinney said. "Hopefully we'll play smarter than we have the last couple of games.
"It's the last time to put a last stroke on the picture and finish on a real positive note."
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