I came to Clemson when Bowden did. I remember Tony Lazzara's sorry ass kicking and missing FG's against Marshall....g-d forbid we throw somebody out there after he missed the first 2. It was the first and only game I watched entirely from the Hill. I distinctly remember two girls standing beside me, laughing at me because I was cussing Bowden for continuing to throw Lazzara out and some of his play calls...."You've been exactly right all day," they said. We lost that game 13-10. He wouldve only had to make one of the several he missed...
Still though, we showed up ready to play at VT and stayed in it til the late 3rd Q, so I was encouraged. Bowden Bowl I was the toughest loss I remember ever going through, but still I was hopeful things would be great someday. It was, you remember, arguably the toughest schedule in the country that year.
I came into 2000 hopeful, and wasnt disappointed. We played like shit against Duke defensively, but the offense was so good that the score didnt show it. Most of it was against the 2nd team D, and Bowden dressed them down for it in press conferences thereafter.
They were forboding omens though, as our D barely held NC State the next week, and was spotty against UNC. I knew we were in for a fight against GT, and it was one....the 2nd toughest loss I've had to go through. We were #4 and I was still wide-eyed and optimisitic, seeing things thru orange-colored glasses, and hoped I'd see a National Title. I sat there at my seat for a half-hour staring into space after that catch. Then we got slammed by FSU, which I predicted after that GT game, and throttled by VT. The Catch II happened right in front of me, I was on the 2nd row from the bottom that cold day, and I covered my eyes for Hunt's FG to win. We shouldve put 30 points on them that day, but its a rivalry and shit like that happens.
The Gator loss was rough, but I was still encouraged by the 9-3 record, and thought we'd do the same the next year.
We came in ranked preseason, overhyped with "Woody for Heisman" everywhere...and looked bad against UCF. I thought, "ok, we'll recover". Then Reggie's defense blew up for 4 straight weeks late in games, and though we lost to a couple good teams, we gave up tons of yards each time we played. We came in with essentially the same starters from 2000 and finished 7-5. No question, we shouldve never let Rich Rod go. Woody was up and down all year. Many of us thought Willie Simmons would take over and throw for 300 yd/game the next year.
I believe you should give a coach 4 years, so though the orange colored glasses were gone, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for one more year. The opening UGA loss was tough, but we did look good against a team that went 13-1. But I beleived that the loss to UGA took the wind out of their sails early, and they couldnt recover. Had we won that game, it wouldve been a different year, I still believe....despite the way NC State raped us on Thursday night. I was so sick to my stomach that I left early in the 4th Quarter, still the only time that ever happened.
Then came Texas Tech. I started to want Bowden to go. A 7-6 record.
But we were hyped again the next year, with "Charlie for Heisman" posts all over TNet by those unrealistic idiots, and got our balls chopped off and handed to us 30-0 by UGA at home. After that I was done with him. You dont get a whole year to prepare and come out and look like that. We looked like ass against Furman for most of the game, and lost to Maryland when we shouldnt have. Then came WF. I was ready to hang him, literally.
Remember the infamous lip quiver?
Then came FSU, Duke, 63-17, and UT, and an extension I wasnt 100% on. At the very least, the buyouts shouldnt have been as big. But I knew, everytime he had gotten my hopes up before, he'd blown it. I wasnt going to get excited about 2004, but I couldnt help it.
The GT loss in '04 i could take, but the way we played against A&M was unforgivable, they werent even any good. A shitty loss to UVA. Then came another loss to Puke, even after the win at the Orange bowl AT NIGHT that I was extremely proud of at the time. At this point I had given up entirely, no hope. The fight was started by Holtz' boys, and they egged it on the whole game. The fact that it actually happened can be blamed on the Refs for letting shit go all day without throwing flags. 6-5, and I was glad we didnt go bowling because we didnt deserve it.
In 2005, the Miami game was a tough loss, which like the UGA game from 2002, I thought took the wind out of our sails. Then he lost to a 4-7 WF team again, you guys wouldnt fire him because he pulled an 8-4 year from his ass.
2006: An awful loss to VT, get outcoached by Spurrier, and a loss to Kentucky, and you guys wouldnt fire him. I predicted the loss to VT ahead of time, because I knew that team hadnt proved they could throw the ball to win, and the "Proctor is the greatest QB we've had since Rodney" posts on TNet were making me sick. Still, the offense stayed at home, even at run blocking. The Fightin Spurriers...well, all I need to say is "reggie." A month to prepare for UK....wasted.
Nope, cant fire him now can we? After another one of those games where the team just didnt show up at all.
2007: Another bad loss to VT, choked against BC (again) and gets another extension for "almost." Lets not give the ball to Davis against Auburn on the goal line, ok? It makes more sense to give it to CJ, doesnt it? its like "reggie" all over again.
And now we come in preseason overhyped again, and dont even bring the 'A' team to Atlanta. We brought a High School team, and not even a good one.
And they LITERALLY brought a HIGH SCHOOL TEAM.
Now I'm sure he'll right the ship, win 9 games, and beat SC because they are our bitches. He'll get another extension for "almost."
Bowden didnt fail us, Clemson fans did.