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Clemson has been extremely frustrating to watch for most of this week. The Clemson basketball team had a piss poor outing last Sunday, repeated that performance against UNC on Thursday, then got beaten by the worst team in the ACC last night. I am not calling for Brownell's job just yet but will admit that he should be further along than he currently is moving this program forward. I understand coaching basketball in Tigertown is an uphill battle all the way, but his predecessor was able to win games so it is not impossible.
Tiger baseball equally pissed me off Friday. I guess part of this is just Leggett being Leggett (we complain here about game management and his demeanor overall). Clemson's bats were silent yet again, we made some costly mistakes in the field, and ultimately gave up 1 earned run in the 6-0 loss at Tiger Field. When you play good baseball teams, you must make them earn everything they get. Saturday was much more encouraging. I believe we were all impressed with the Schmidt/Campbell combination yesterday afternoon. Clemson was able to work its way out of a couple sticky situations and looked composed on Saturday-well, everyone but Jack who always looks like he is involved in a life or death scenario. I think we all know how this season will play out. Clemson looks to have a lot of freshmen who have a ton of ability. Getting performance out of the youngsters will be critical. We'll see if Clemson can go into Columbia this afternoon and take the series from the Gamecocks. While this is a long season, getting an early series victory over a Top 10 team would definitely be encouraging for many reasons. It would give our young team more confidence while hopefully shifting the tide against a baseball program that has been a nightmare for Leggett and crew.
I wasn't as fired up about the mid-week loss as a lot of Clemson fans. I am not saying that losing a bunch of non-weekend contests is acceptable nor encouraged but do try to see these games for what they are. I'll repeat my perspective on mid-week games and why they are not the ones to get overly excited about. First off, it is baseball. Any team can beat any other team but fortunately they play a ton of games allowing the better teams to reflect their superiority through their record. In most mid-week games, Clemson plays a smaller school. These smaller schools want nothing more than to beat one of the big boys. Typically we'll see the opposition's ace in those scenarios while Clemson will throw their 4th or 5th best starter and save the top three for the weekend. While the smaller schools may not be as deep on the mound, most of these schools have a #1 who is very, very capable of challenging good hitters. Add to it that the Tigers have a bullseye square on their back in these situations and you'll realize quickly that these things just happen.
In football news, the release of the '13 schedule has fans all fired up. A large portion of the radio talkshow fodder revolves around Coach Dabo's comments regarding Clemson being a team of MNC quality. We've noted that here and, since the head man said it, we'll hold them to this standard. So far as the way the schedule plays out, it is favorable to our Tigers. The only complaint I have is that I would like to play Florida State earlier in the season. Hosting Georgia and Florida State really helps the cause. I am not a big fan of Thursday nights simply because of Clemson's struggles but am encouraged that we have an open date prior to these games.
The golf is a bit perplexing. After we all thought Tiger was back to dominance, he has struggled a bit the past couple weeks (relatively). Losing in the opening round of the match play last week in an unimpressive fashion combined with the early tournament struggles this week make Tiger look very "normal" compared to his peers. I understand he is working on some things, though, and would not be surprised at all to see him put it together for the tourney at Bay Hill and heading into this year's first major championship.
NASCAR is out in Phoenix this weekend. After a good 500 last week, the boys get into the schedule and focus on racing for the Chase instead of just trying to win the biggest race in the sport. It is way too early to start making predictions and such, so I'll hold off putting those items out there. Kyle Busch dominated yesterday out in the desert, taking his first checkered flag in the Busch Series in a year and a half. We'll see how the series moves along over the course of the next couple months.