CLEMSON - It was hard to tell whether Dabo Swinney was classifying Clemson as the heavyweight favorite, Virginia the overwhelming underdog - or both.
Regardless, Swinney figures the 18th-ranked Tigers have heard their share of outsiders declaring Saturday's 3:30 p.m. with the struggling Cavaliers (3-7, 2-4) a sure-fire victory to clinch the ACC's Atlantic Division title.
Virginia has lost four in a row, but Swinney thinks no one points out the Cavs dominated surging North Carolina on the road in early October.
"Mike Tyson, I think, was 30-0 (37-0) when he went and fought Buster Douglas," Swinney said Wednesday. "(Douglas's record) wasn't very good, but when he left, he took the belt. And nobody cared that Tyson was (37-0). When you step in the ring, you'd better perform.
"Mike Tyson probably lost his focus on what made him successful in preparation and got complacent, that kind of stuff. This team has not done that. But you just want to finish. You can't overlook anybody in this deal."
Sophomore end Da'Quan Bowers (sprained MCL) is expected to return after missing the past two games.
Swinney was not sure how much Bowers will play, but he figured it might take a game for Bowers to shake some rust off, as it did when left tackle Chris Hairston played tentatively in his first game following a return from a comparable injury earlier this year.
"Hopefully, he'll be able to play some and get his confidence back," Swinney said. "I think that would be a real shot in the arm going into the final few weeks here."
Heading for cover
Rain forced Clemson indoors for Wednesday's practice, and Swinney said the Tigers probably have squeezed more from their inclement weather practices this season because of their increased frequency.
"It's really almost become routine for these guys," Swinney said. "We've been inside this year more than we were in all six years (as an assistant) for me combined."
Because they do not have a separate indoor practice facility, the Tigers must adjust their schedule to have either the offense or defense go to the indoor track, with the other unit conducting meetings before they swap positions.
Swinney acknowledged the inconvenience but said an indoor facility is far from atop his wish list.
"I've got a few other things in front of that on the list," he said.
Swinney declined to divulge his specific desires.
Upon further review
N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said Wednesday that the ACC informed him replay officials should have overturned C.J. Spiller's apparent fumble in the third quarter of last Saturday's game.
Clemson was ahead 24-14 in the third quarter when Spiller was ruled down, and the Tigers went on to score another touchdown.
"It was a huge play in the game and devastating for this football team," O'Brien said. "So I hope someone learns from it, and it doesn't happen again."
Spiller needs 140 all-purpose yards to become the fifth player in NCAA history to reach 7,000 for his career. He is 103 shy of the ACC's single-season record, held by former Virginia back Thomas Jones (2,054), who likewise had Andre' Powell as his position coach. ... ... Because of the ACC's schedule rotation, this will be Clemson's final regular season game against Virginia until 2013.