I consider myself a pretty rational fan. I figured there would be some bumps in the road and that we would have a letdown at some point following the great start to the season. Georgia Tech happened and I figured we would rebound. Then NC State happened and I thought it could be chalked up to a letdown following the team wrapping up the Atlantic Division. Then came Saturday. A beatdown at the hands of a rival that you have dominated for an entire century, a program that is one of the worst programs in the history of college football, and a program that has now seemingly passed this program in every way.
The Gamecocks were stronger, tougher, and more prepared. It showed on the field and it showed in the box score. Did anybody show up to play outside of Cody, Ellington, and maybe Branch? This is your rival, who previously embarrassed you the two years before. If you can't get up for this game, there's not much hope from a fan's perspective for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, I think it runs much deeper. This whole program has demonstrated that they are still Clemson, the team with all the talent in the world that collapses when it counts.
There’s no doubting it anymore, no masking it as a fluke or aberration.
A once-promising Clemson football season has gone off the rails.
Following an 8-0 start, the Tigers are 1-3 since. The latest disaster? Saturday’s 34-13 whipping at South Carolina, which ensured the Gamecocks’ first three-game winning streak over Clemson since 1968-70.
Saturday was domination. 153 yards of total offense and a whopping 453 yards given up to the South Carolina offense is inexcusable. Tajh looked lost at times in the pocket, the receiving corps dropped several big passes, and the offensive line was dominated up front all night. And that was just on the offense side of the ball. As for the defense? Nothing has changed. The zone read is still a rubik's cube for the defense, tackling was poor as always, and once again no turnovers were forced. Both sides of the ball weren't prepared, again.
Where's the fire? Does this team enjoy getting embarrassed through essentially the entire month of November? We know this team is capable of winning football games, they did it through two months of the season. Can they get the mojo back? They've got one game to do it.
What began as a spectacular season for Clemson has since fizzled with back-to-back losses and three losses in the past four games. It's the opposite direction Virginia Tech has headed, as the two teams prepare to meet in the ACC championship game. With the Hokies coming off a 38-0 shutout of rival Virginia, and Clemson's offense playing flat in the past three games, the Hokies clearly have the momentum heading into Charlotte.
I just don't see us turning this around. This team is in the gutter. They have been stomped in three of their last four games. Are we as fans just suppose to assume we all of a sudden are going to turn it around against a Virginia Tech team that is A) out for revenge and B) playing as well as anyone in the country. Just don't see it happening. As of now, I think Saturday gets ugly for this team, and fast.
Virginia Tech clearly appears to be the class of the league, Clemson seems to have peaked in October, and the Atlantic Coast Conference can't hang with the Southeastern Conference. The fifth-ranked Hokies' 38-0 beat-down of upstart Virginia sends them into the ACC championship game for the fifth time in seven years. David Wilson ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-1), which handed the Cavaliers (8-4, 5-3) their first home shutout loss in 172 games reaching back to 1984.
This team is soft. They've shown that over this last month. To start the season 8-0 only to lose three of four is mind-numbing, even for a Clemson fan. On Saturday, Clemson has an opportunity to do what they haven't in 20 years. Win a damn ACC title. Nobody thinks they can do it, not Vegas, not the pundits, and not most of its fans. Prove us wrong. Prove everyone wrong. Bring home the hardware that one of the most loyal fanbases in the entire country deserves.