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Pre-Orange Bowl Sunday Thoughts

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and excited about the Bowl Season.  We are on the verge of the mother of college football enjoyment.  To this point we've seen Louisville slaughter the U, Michigan get rolled up by Kansas State, UNC beat the crap out of Cincinnati, and Notre Dame win at Yankee Stadium.  This week ushers in the New Year and, obviously, the full litany of Bowl Week.  New Year's Eve is the Peach Bowl, our Tigers play on Friday, and the games in between should be entertaining.

I will say that I am sick and tired of hearing the stupidity I hear every single day from Clemson fans.  Clemson won games against nine bad football teams and Georgia.  Clemson again was embarrassed against Florida State and South Carolina.  Let's call it what it is, and not view this season as something it isn't.  A win over Ohio State would be a nice cap to the year BUT let's remember what we are after here.  We want a National Championship.  Coach Dabo screamed and yelled that this was a championship team and we held this team to that standard.  Unfortunately, the year proved that Clemson still lacks pieces to be a championship team as we saw in Death Valley in the embarrassment that was the Florida State game then again in Williams-Brice against South Carolina.  Let's also be honest here...Carolina does not hold a recruiting edge nor does it have nicer facilities than Clemson.  They are committed to improving S&C and Spurrier and crew have been able to transform that program from one that was completely dominated by it's in-state rival / most of the SEC into a group that has throttled Clemson the past half decade.  Yes, read that again, the past half decade.  Does that sound like championship caliber to you?  Nevertheless, Clemsonfan seems quite happy in spite of these shortcomings.  2013 was supposed to be the year and until the rest of the fanbase increases their expectations and demands better, we're stuck as the second best football team in the division and second best in the state.

In other areas, I somehow overlooked the $5 million per year contract that Kevin Sumlin signed with aTm.  That is crazy but those guys are obviously very happy with the work he's done there.  There is no doubt that he has elevated that program to time will tell if Sumlin can keep the momentum going or if they sputter following Johnny Football's departure.  He was successful at Houston and has been terrific so far.  I didn't realize that he was pushing 50 so locking him into a 6 year deal in what appears to be the pinnacle of his career makes sense.  It is just mind-blowing that coaches not named Nick Saban make that kind of loot in college football but this is the new norm out there.  When you consider how much money football programs contribute to the universities, it is a no-brainer to go out of your way to make the program's supporters happy because, let's face it, aTm brings in a ton of loot--most of that driven by football success.

In other news, pornstar extraordinaire wannabe Uncle Rico Brian VanGorder will be running Notre Dame's defense next season.  Most of you will remember his incredible success at Georgia a decade ago and his less than successful tenure at Auburn last season.  I am not sure why I care where VanGorder is year in and year out, but will certainly be watching to see how successful he is in South Bend.

Today is a monster day in the NFL.  We'll see if the Cowboys can overcome their tradition of choking late in the season.  Bears/Packers is huge and there are quite a few intriguing stories evolving in the AFC.  This afternoon is essentially a playoff week for a lot of teams and it should be fun to watch.

Obviously I am looking forward to the new year and the new golf season.  It will not really pick up for a month or so but rest assured I'll be focused on seeing the pros tee it up in 2014.

One final note, the 3 car will be back on the track next season with Austin Dillon in the driver's seat.  You all probably realize that this is Dale Earnhardt's ride so there will be a lot of mixed feelings for me when I see that #3 hit the track.  The pictures I've seen so far feature a Dow and Cheerios car with neither looking particularly like the famous Goodwrench paint scheme.

That is about all I got today.  Everyone enjoy the week of football and hopefully the Tigers can pull through with an Orange Bowl victory to start off 2014.