After watching the draft play out, it is again frustrating to see how little Clemson has done with its recruited talent. We have been putting together recruiting comparisons for some time now and we can say that Clemson routinely brings in talent comparable/better than the majority of its opponents. Draft results confirm that we have pro-level talent on our squad year in and year out. At the time of this writing, Clemson had three defensive players picked in the second round and two offensive players picked in the fourth. Byron Maxwell got picked later in the 6th. One year ago we had five players taken including C.J. Spiller in the first round. The talent is here to win games, and the talent is definitely better than seven losses overall and a 4-4 conference record.
You cannot argue that we are in a much better position staff-wise than we were a year ago, so we are praying staff newcomers like Caldwell and Morris can put systems in place that will cure some of the fundamental deficiencies we have seen in the past. We absolutely have to translate recruiting success into fall victories.
The topic all the draft talking heads have been rehashing is Da'Quan Bowers' drop from projected #1 or so to his actual mid-second round selection. What I want answered is how did his health get in such bad condition to begin with? I've chatted this conversation up with a couple folks and I still don't understand why Bowers -- who was slotted as a Top-5 draft pick -- played in the Tire/Muffler/Belk Bowl last December with this knee issue. Were the Clemson team doctors flat out unaware of the seriousness of Bowers' knee? Was it worth playing Bowers in this piece of crap bowl and risk further injury to this young man? There is nothing positive that Da'Quan could have gotten out of this football game and I am a little disturbed someone at Clemson was not thinking about his future. Hindsight being what it is (and me not being a doctor), I would guess that he would have been better off skipping the prestigious Queen City Bowl and beginning a program that would allow him better medical and rehab options in anticipation of the draft. At a minimum, assuming you'd have to get into that knee to see the problem, the surgery should've been done right after Thanksgiving.
In the wake of questionable injuries/recoveries to J.K. Jay (back surgery requiring him to quit and lose 50lbs just to live), Willy Korn (how many shoulder surgeries?), Ricky Sapp (knee that we were told was 99%), Cullen Harper (shoulder), James Davis (shoulder), and now Da'Quan Bowers, you have to question Clemson's ability to manage injuries in addition to what we feel are inadequate and outdated S&C methods. If I were a guy like Andre Ellington, I would be extremely cautious during rehabilitation efforts. If I were Dabo Swinney or anyone else in the athletics department, I would be looking long and hard at both the S&C strategy as well as the medical staff that works with our student athletes.
Other items that concern me include the NCAA and its definition of acceptable behavior by a "governing body." This organization seems to care little about the student athlete and even less about the concept of amateur athletics. Cam Newton urrrr....Cecil Newton demanded $200 k for quarterbacking services. Auburn effectively buys a national title. No Problem. John Calipari leaves a legacy of vacated wins and cash gifts at UMass and Memphis. No Big Deal. A.J. Green sells a jersey and he gets suspended immediately. Terrelle Pryor and company get caught slinging gear at a tattoo parlor and the response is "We'll just suspend them NEXT year." I doubt the sweater vest will get anything more than his current suspension for his role in tattoo parlor-gate even after proof that he lied like hell. Jim Calhoun gets dinged in February and the NCAA is so appalled they suspend him for three Big East games NEXT year. Reggie Bush brings in a fortune at So Cal and half a decade later USC is punished. The list goes on and on. The NCAA only enforces the rules when it feels like it and when it will least adversely affect things like advertising dollars. Either it is amateur athletics or it is not. If creating an atmosphere for "student athletes" is your goal, don't let the stuff mentioned earlier go on and, especially, don't make it completely obvious that the almighty dollar is the lone driver for most of these decisions. At least try to hide the hypocrisy and arrogant attitude for the sake of the average fan out there.
This upcoming football season is going to be a little confusing for most fans and especially me. I am not sure I will be able to keep up with the conference musical chairs and all of the ridiculous names that the conferences gave their subdivisions. Colorado to the Pac-12 jumps up the list for me. First off, the Pac-"12" is a new name and will take a little getting used to. At least they can count and recognize the true number of teams in their league. Second, Colorado is geographically nowhere near the Pacific Ocean for which the conference is named. I could make a similar complaint about Utah, but at least Utah is a little closer to the Pacific than Colorado. Then there is the Big 10...
First issue with the Big 10 is there have not been 10 members since 1990. Then there are the names for the divisions. I agree that the ACC's names are pretty worthless and contain little information about the teams, but what in the hell is a "Legends" division and what is a "Leaders" division? If you are in the "Legends" can you not be a leader? Conversely, if you are in the "Leaders" division can you never achieve "Legend" status? I would be happier if they put the founding teams still in the league in the "Old Ass Teams" division and called the other division "New Kids on the Block." At least that would let you know which teams started the league and which didn't, which is more than the current naming scheme allows.
The final concern is with TCU to the Big East. What in the hell kind of business does TCU have in the Big East? Maybe someone should send them a map. TCU is in Texas, which is nowhere near the Eastern portion of the US. I get that TCU is licking its chops at the prospect of a cakewalk to a BCS game, but wouldn't it make more sense for TCU to take either Colorado or Nebraska's place in the Big 12 (which now should be the Big 10)? I think this change won't take place for another year, so at least I have some time to ramp up on it.