For James Skalski and the rest of his teammates, a dominating, attention-grabbing trend in college football's postseason did not apply.
"Opt-out? What?" was the Clemson senior linebacker's response when asked why there's been a high level of commitment from the team for Wednesday's Cheez-It Bowl against Iowa State in Orlando, which is expected to be a close game according to FanDuel, who currently has the winning margin for Tigers at +165 for a win of 1-13 points.
"I think it's just the culture of this team," Skalski said during Sunday's media day. "We get to play football."
Clemson Offer Would Be 'Very Special' for 2026 QB Julian 'Ju Ju' Lewis
After recently working out at one of Dabo Swinney's high school camps, Julian "Ju Ju" Lewis recaps the experience and talks the possibility of a future offer from the Tigers.
Hoffler 'Blessed' to Be Part of Clemson's 2023 Recruiting Class, Says Tigers Aren't Done Yet
2023 DE AJ Hoffler committed to Clemson on Tuesday, continuing a hot streak on the recruiting trail, and the SI All-American candidate told All Clemson the Tigers aren't done yet.
All Clemson Recruiting Mailbag
Each week All Clemson tackles your recruiting questions.
That seems to be the theme for this No. 19 Tiger squad, which is going for double-digit victories for the 11th consecutive season in this game. Clemson (9-3) had five players enter the NCAA transfer portal after the end of the regular season, but none of them were starters or were going to be major contributors in the bowl game.
The rest of the roster, at least the healthy Tigers, are present and accounted for in Orlando and ready to play, even though this isn't the kind of postseason experience a program that had been to six consecutive College Football Playoff semifinals before this season is used to.
Still, there is no opting out of the Cheez-It Bowl for Clemson veteran seniors like Skalski or NFL draft hopefuls who have a shot at going in the first round like cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. Iowa State star running back Breece Hall, like many players around the sport, decided to skip the bowl game to get ready for the next level.
"Yeah, we've been in the playoff and on the bigger stages but to us, we get to go play the game again," Skalski said. "We get to represent Clemson and show everyone what we can do ourselves. I think we all love playing ball and we love being together so...(opting-out) isn't a thing."
Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw, recruiting analyst Jason Priester and staff writer Will Vandervort on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!