CLEMSON -- Like a year ago, Clemson went unranked in the USA Today coaches' preseason poll Friday, and that is OK with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
"We weren't ranked last year," Swinney said. "No one picked us to win our division. All that matters is what we believe as individuals and as a team. I think there were eight teams last year that finished ranked that weren't ranked (in the preseason)."
Clemson was not ranked in the final USA Today poll last year, though the Tigers received 75 votes, which would have been good for 28th place had the poll extended further. Clemson received enough votes to be slotted 31st overall Friday.
The Tigers will have plenty of opportunity to climb into the top 25 during the season's early months.
Clemson plays five ranked teams, including three in succession early in the season: at No. 23 Auburn (Sept. 18), No. 13 Miami (Oct. 2) and at No. 18 North Carolina (Oct. 9). The Tigers also face No. 17 Georgia Tech and No. 20 Florida State.
Clemson went 2-2 in meetings against Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami last season.
"We have a difficult schedule," Swinney said. "We have five top 25 teams right now that we get the opportunity to play. What a great opportunity. That's the way I look at it. It's going to take a real commitment."
Spiller OK with late birthday gift
A day after turning 23, former Clemson star C.J. Spiller signed a five-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. The contract could be worth as much as $37 million dollars, and $21 million is guaranteed.
In the category of good decisions, Spiller elected to return for his senior season after receiving a late first-round to second-round projection following his junior year. Spiller made at least $15 million in guaranteed dollars by returning last fall, the difference between a late, first-round signing bonus in 2009 and his contract for a ninth overall selection in April.
Swinney exchanged texts with Spiller on Friday.
"I couldn't be happier or more proud of a guy," said Swinney, who recruited Spiller. "He's a guy who has worked awfully hard for a long time. It's always been about excellence, and he's been committed to it ever since I've known him. To see him reach a life goal like that is very gratifying, especially to know you might have helped him along the way."
Might Spiller make for an excellent donor?
"I have his email and his number if you want to shoot him a text," Swinney said.
Tigers visit the library
The Tigers will be in full pads today for the first time this summer, but Swinney says the team has already begun installation of plays.
"You are installing your library," Swinney said. "It's a big library on both sides. Everything we are putting in is something we feel like we are going to use at some point in the season. When we get ready for North Texas we go to the library and check out the books we need."