I was hoping this week's discussion would be relatively low key due to the semester winding down and our Tigers taking a weekend off from ACC action to host the College of Charleston. This obviously changed with developments involving superstar wide receiver Sammy Watkins. I'll get to that in a second, but first we want to introduce the newest contributor to the STS crew, QuackingTiger. QT will focus on Clemson recruiting items but is knowledgeable on all things Clemson. We are excited to add his capabilities to the folks we currently have on our writing/editorial board.
The NASCAR folks are in Talladega and this may be Jr's week to win. Also, the PGA Tour is at Quail Hollow, so if your are in the Charlotte area you may wish to hi that bad boy up. Should be a great day to (A) play golf (B) watch the race (C) watch the Tour golfers. Obviously, if you live near Clemson you will be watching our Tigers play C of C.
By now, you all are aware of Watkins' legal trouble following a traffic stop Friday night. His transgressions are typical of college students nationwide. That is not an excuse but a generalization. Yes Sammy is a role model for many youngsters out there but he is also a freshman in college and still has some maturation ahead of him. He made a mistake and will pay for this mistake no doubt so I will not persecute him further. I believe Watkins is a good guy and carried himself well prior to his recent arrest. Assuming SW's record is clean, he will likely receive some sort of probationary punishment from the law and will hopefully use this experience as a positive lesson moving forward. His punishment on the field, however, will be more severe.
The receiving star will likely see an impact to his playing time. I would not be surprised if he were suspended for the season opener against Auburn. Watkins' teammates will likely be without the young superstar and will have this as a distraction heading into the 2012 season. Further, this will be an issue when he moves on from Clemson and into the league. While he can overcome this item with NFL teams, it will be something that is on the back burner heading into draft time. In all, it will be a tough lesson for a young man who was on a meteoric path in the football world. Obviously we will be interested in how this situation plays out and wish Sammy all the best dealing with this setback. Based on his work ethic and the talent we've all seen on the football field, there is little doubt that Watkins will rebound and be a resounding force when he does take the field this fall.
In a bit of uplifting news, Clemson and UGa are upping the ante to keep their upcoming series on pace. A cancelled game would ding one school a cool $3 million. This almost assures we'll play the two games as giving up that much cheese along with outlash from the fans following the cancellation of a game would be over the top. Since it is on, I recommend going ahead and getting your Georgia hate on. Each morning you should roll out of the rack, put the paste on the toothbrush, splash your face with water, then yell "Fuck Georgia" at the top of your lungs just to get ready for this one. I recommend repeating the yell portion immediately after you park your sled at work, prior to your post lunch siesta, then at night before heading back to the rack.
Other rumors continue to swirl regarding Clemson's future in the ACC. It is obvious (particularly following the slap on the wrist given to Swoffy's Alma Mater earlier this spring by the conference) that this is a league dominated by the Tobacco Road schools. These schools' agendas clearly trump what's best for other member institutions and what is best for the conference as a whole. I am still bummed out with the addition of Syracuse and see this move as a dilution of an already mediocre football conference. Would Barker allow his Alma Mater to entertain advances from another conference? I sure hope so given the huge piles of cash at stake due to television contracts. If the Big 12 came calling, I would sure entertain their advances even if it means dealing with a group largely dominated by Texas' wants and demands.
Nothing indicates summer is approaching more than lacrosse coverage on ESPN. It's about the only time I recall seeing the name Johns Hopkins on the world wide leader. I'll be the first to tell you that I have no clue what's going on in a lacrosse game other than a bunch of dudes are beating the hell out of each other in an effort to use the hand hammock to throw a ball into a goal. No disrespect to the game...it is certainly better than soccer. However, it is a red flag that I need to get off my ass and get up to the lake or keep my tail on the golf course.
The pro game has given us more items to discuss. Our condolences go out to the family of great Junior Seau. Seau was a ridiculous force on the field and I remember watching many games and highlights of #55 over the years. The seemingly alarming rate of issues involving ex-NFL players is tough and does make me analyze my point of view on rules changes and game safety. As these athletes get bigger, faster, and stronger, the equipment and guidelines have to be investigated particularly in light of the recent tragedies we've seen.
I would argue that Roger may be the most feared man in professional sports these days. The NFL commish dropped the hammer repeatedly on bounty-gate. The most shocking item was that he did not stop with the coaches and drilled players as well. While I think there will be a barrage of lawsuits stemming from these suspensions, Rog is sending a message that you'd better on eff with that man. One minute he is rocking out a preplanned handshake at the draft, then he gives a swift shot to the groin as a warning signal to others out there. Roger doesn't play.