March is here. For most who follow sports, and in particular those who follow this website, that means several things. (A) it is football time again--the Spring variety (B) basketball is winding down with conference tournaments on the horizon and (C) it's baseball time.
Clemson did all it could to eliminate itself from NCAA contention with a complete collapse at Wake Forest earlier in the week. K. J. McDaniels didn't have his A-game and the balance of the team just could not pull through on this off-night. The schedule laid out well for Clemson to possibly run the table and have a legit argument that they belong in the Big Dance. Instead, this team will once again miss out. This is a shame because our Tigers lost a few games that easily could have been wins. Clemson hosts Maryland today then Miami and Pitt in the upcoming week.
It is hard to believe that it is already football time again. Spring Drills will begin this coming week. The most highlighted item is the battle for starter at quarterback. Cole Stoudt has the most experience and also pushed Tajh Boyd several years ago. Chad Kelly has impressed a lot of readers with his limited but effective playing time. Many readers also point to Kelly's ability to run as an added plus. We just hope he doesn't get hurt acting a fool and performing sweet spin moved while in a non-contact jersey. Then there is Deshaun Watson. Watson is a tremendous talent and a guy that many already consider the next superstar quarterback. We believe he should (and will) redshirt this season. If he doesn't then (A) he is better / more polished than any of us expected or (B) we endured some serious injury problems. You all know our views on freshmen playing. Quarterback is no exception as the college game is much faster than the high school game and the signal caller has a tremendous number of decisions to make on any given play.
We've discussed replacing Roderick McDowell, Sammy Watkins, and Martavis Bryant here before. Needless to say, these spots will be highly visible and on all Tigerfans' radars. Chad Morris clearly has his work cut out for him as he will be without All-World competitor Sammy Watkins and loses a good bit of size and speed with Bryant leaving early. Dye's injury further clutters the runningback projections. Combine that with replacing Thomas and Shatley up front and the offensive expectations for 2014 drop significantly year over year. I suspect we'll be having this conversation again and again until the Tigers tee it up against Georgia.
The baseball game Friday night was very difficult to watch. Clemson managed to piss away a five run lead in the loss. The Tigers looked silly in the field--particularly Boulware behind the plate. You cannot win baseball games--particularly against good competition--by playing that sloppy. The only thing worse than the play on the field was the announcing. Andy Demitre should be banned from media. He is the Tommy Suggs equivalent for non-football broadcast. Just like Suggs, I am surprised that others in the booth haven't slapped him on multiple occasions. I loved hearing his insight on Friday, particularly deep insight like "this team wants to score as many runs as it can score." That is right up there with "the team who scores the most points/runs in a game generally wins the game." WOW, I never could have imagined that was the case. Thanks again Andy.
Saturday was no better. Clemson was sloppy as hell and the result was a beatdown in Greenville. Fielding mistakes made through the first two games of this series are unacceptable. Again, you cannot beat a good team when you give them baserunners and extra outs because your fielders cannot make routine plays. This team will be good this year and it is early but year after year Clemson forgets how to play basic baseball when South Carolina is in the opposite dugout.
NASCAR is in Phoenix this week and the 88 is looking for the first back to back wins of his career. I am still getting used to the new playoff system (and still don't like it) but believe that now Junior is somehow in the playoffs after one race. That makes no sense to me but whatever. I guess that means that now the 88 team doesn't really care about points and will use the next 20 or so races however they please because the new points system pretty much assures anyone who wins a race makes the playoffs.
Rory McIlroy is poised to gain another win today. He has been able to cap off all 54 hole leads since the epic meltdown at Augusta several years ago. This March swing is one of the more exciting portions of the schedule as the guys will play some nice Florida courses this month in anticipation of the year's first major in April.