We are getting into the home stretch of this baseball season and the results to this point have been less than impressive. After getting off to a fast start our Tigers have quickly descended into ACC mediocrity, boasting a record that is barely above 0.500 in ACC play. This past weekend showed why Clemson finds itself in such a shaky situation. The Tigers' hitting has been inconsistent and this team continues to make silly mistakes and costly blunders as we stumble to the finish line. Clemson has a series with Florida Gulf Coast this weekend followed by a a series in College Park, a single game against Furman in Greenville, at Wake then the season finale series against FSU at BTF.
These games are all critical games for the struggling Tigers. Fortunately, though, the schedule should be manageable as only the Seminoles are ranked in Collegiate Baseball's April 19th poll. Should the Tigers falter further, they could easily miss the Tourney, a disappointing end to a season that opened with many questions. We will need to see the CU bats heat up and the on-field mistakes decline if the Tigers are to make any real waves in 2010.
Kevin Steele is showing a few more signs of comfort with the 2010 LB corps. Steele has been speaking highly of the improvement shown by several young Tigers. RS Freshman Quandon Christian along with Corico Hawkins and Jonathan "Tig" Willard have added some much needed depth to this group. These guys have gotten added reps as Scotty Cooper and Brandon Maye are recovering from injuries allowing the youngsters to get more snaps. We will all be looking to see what impact freshman Justin Parker will have when he makes it to campus this summer. I still will not be surprised to see a lot of nickel out of the Tigers this fall, but am hoping this added depth will allow for more base looks out of this defense.
I would highly recommend viewers visit some of our professional sister sites through SBNation. Buffalo Rumblings chatted extensively about C. J. Spiller 's pick and what it will mean for this franchise. Spiller has obviously left his mark on the college game and Clemson University and I think we all anticipate good things out of the Florida native.
The one pick no one should be surprised of would be Al Davis' decision to take the speed once again. No doubt Ford fits the typical Godfather draft pick...speed, speed, speed. Now if only Jim Plunkett could get back there and toss bombs, Ford may have a chance in the Black Hole quickly. The only thing that surprises me here is that Al hasn't yet tried to recruit Asian Bolt himself to this squad.
Ricky Sapp's fall to a 5th round pick kind of surprised me. On one hand, scouts and coaches alike salivated over his pure athleticism. On the other hand, Sapp was injured and never really reached the level of play that we thought he was capable of here at Clemson. Hopefully he can get the motor running and will make a difference in the pros. I really hope the youngsters pay attention to this fall and realize that it takes a complete player to become a big player in the draft. We congratulate all of the former Tigers who will get the opportunity to represent Clemson in the professional ranks.
The final item I would like to chime in on is the ACC. Personally, I am all about some Clemson football. What sucks about that is our performance over the past 20 years in the sport. I will admit that I am extremely disappointed about the lack of championships in a win-able ACC. This drought can be blamed on several features, including the university's attitude (mostly the attitude of the University, starting with Max Lenon and continuing to this very day).
Nonetheless, and even including the shortcomings, I would love nothing more than to get out of the ACC and into a conference that actually gives a crap about schools not located on Tobacco Road. The level of support that Clemson gets from the conference is laughable. The efforts of the conference are embarrassing. The TV deal that is winding down does not maximize the potential of this league. As much as it doesn't seem fair, MONEY is the driver in college athletics. I know it, you know it. If Clemson cannot get into the capital stream of the big boys, they will be left behind. The way this thing is shaking out, I think Clemson would be foolish to turn down an opportunity to enter the SEC (if the chips fall in this direction) because the Tigers risk falling into a further should the expected superconferences emerge with their added revenue. On top of the money, Clemson would get to play Georgia every year, and that really may be enough for me.