CLEMSON -- Clemson president James Barker supports the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, explaining his position in an email to The Post and Courier on Monday.
"The University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University are both outstanding institutions and we welcome them and their strong football traditions to the ACC," Barker wrote. "They are a good fit for our conference because each university has a history of excellence in athletics competition and academic achievement. That balance is a hallmark of the ACC and an important value for all of its member institutions, including Clemson."
Barker said entering the New York and Pennsylvania markets will benefit Clemson.
"This expansion also gives us a chance to tell the Clemson story to a broader audience up and down the Atlantic seaboard from Miami to New England," Barker wrote. "That's a very positive outcome of this conference expansion."
Virginia Tech game time announced
The ACC announced Clemson's Oct. 1 game at Virginia Tech will kick off at 6 p.m. and air on ESPN2. The raucous environment of Lane Stadium will be a tough first road test for first-year starters like Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Clemson is the 10th most popular college football program in the country with 1.7 million fans, according to research by the New York Times. Clemson was the most popular team in the ACC. South Carolina was ranked as the 24th most popular team with 1.06 million fans.
The ACC's newest members, Pittsburgh (No. 37) and Syracuse (No. 39), each have roughly 800,000 fans, according to the Times. Texas A&M, which plans to join the SEC, ranked sixth overall with 2 million fans, following No. 1 Ohio State (3.1 million), No. 2 Michigan (2.9 million), No. 3 Penn State (2.6 million), No. 4 Notre Dame (2.3 million) and No. 5 Texas (2.2 million).
He said it
Offensive coordinator Chad Morris on his tough coaching in practice: "I don't need any 22-year-old friends." He was pleased with the improved toughness he saw from his offense against Auburn. He said the receivers and offensive line blocked with more aggressiveness.
Morris said he expects RB Andre Ellington (hamstring) to return to practice today and be available for the 3:30 p.m. Saturday game with No. 11 Florida State (ESPN). QB E.J. Manuel left FSU's loss against Oklahoma with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday that Manuel could be out "one day to two weeks." Clemson coach Dabo Swinney expects Manuel to play.
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