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End of April Sunday Thoughts

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

This week was a bit less exciting than the past couple as I believe everyone has beaten the Chad Kelly story into the ground.  Now we can move forward.  As you all likely know, there is the Chick-Fil-A Bowl challenge then little other than recruiting news and releases from the university until August approaches.  Dabo will again be teamed with Steve Fuller for this year's golf tournament.  For you youngsters, Steve Fuller is arguably the best quarterback in school history and played at Clemson in the late-70's.  Fuller is a member of the Clemson Hall of Fame and the Ring of Honor.  His number 4 was retired (although Fuller has agreed to allow Deshaun Watson wear #4 with a uniform patch honoring Fuller) after Fuller won award after award both on the football field and in the classroom.  This golf tournament is unique and interesting to watch as football coaches, celebrities, and pros from all over the Southeast participate in this annual event.  Clearly, the media will be interested in anything they can squeeze out of the coaches here.  With the quarterback controversy combined with religious criticism, I am sure Coach Dabo will be talking a good bit.

No, I will not extensively address the Freedom from Religion issues that have emerged other than to say I think it is a non-issue and is pretty ridiculous.

The NCAA had a lot of items going on last week.  The Northwestern Football unionization is likely the first step of many that could result in anti-trust discussions that will radically change the way collegiate athletics moves forward.  This is likely several years away from coming to a complete head.  More immediate is the decision to give the power conferences more authority over the rules by which their member institutions abide.  In short, the NCAA has given the "haves" the power to govern themselves and allows all others to choose if they want to use the rules.  The most obvious items here include health care, scholarship / stipend items, and other such.  Because smaller schools would not have the money to implement a lot of the items the larger ones want, this is necessary to allow those who can afford more to do more while allowing those who cannot to opt out.  This could be another precursor for the larger schools as a whole to leave the NCAA--though that is in no way an immediate option.  I have not fully digested how this affects Clemson or the ACC--though it does bode well to at least be a part of the "Big 5."  Immediate concerns I have involve the ACC's poor job negotiating TV deals and the impact of being on the lower end of the "Big 5" in terms of revenue.  This is always a concern and I guess we'll get a better feel for some of these items as this plan plays out into August then put in play in January, 2015.

Jack Leggett is rapidly gaining displeasure from the Clemson faithful.  That Leggett has always been determined to get his teams as wound up and tight as possible in order to blow big games / winnable postseason series games is one thing.  Refusing to sincerely recruit in-state players then having these in-state players win big time while our national recruiting strategy annually results in ending the season in Columbia is even more frustrating.  Now, Clemson looks to be in big trouble heading into this post-season.  At this rate, Clemson may not even be considered as good enough to host a Regional Series.  I really have no good coaching replacement names (the guys I'd originally consider with ties look to be very content where they currently sit) but do think that many of the Clemson loyalists are in the same boat as me.  The overall fan attitude towards this program appears to be constantly deflating.  We as a group have begun to accept that this is no longer a program that will challenge for greatness.  Several talking heads have noted such, particularly during the early season series against South Carolina.  I've heard murmurings that Jack may even be considering retirement.  If not, maybe it is time for the administration to nudge him in that direction.  Leggett has done some great things for Clemson Baseball but this once elite program is not where it was 5 - 10 years ago.

Ben Martin got off to a very fast pace down in New Orleans earlier this week.  The former Clemson golfer opened with a 62 and was -15 after two rounds.  Saturday was not as great for Martin and Ben now sits at -14, four shots off South Korean tournament leader Seung-Yul Noh going into today's round.  This puts him in the third-to-last group and in need of a big day.  The biggest name ahead of Martin now is Keegan Bradley in 2nd place at 16 under par.  In case you were wondering, Kyle Stanley sits at -7 and Lucus Glover starts todays round at -5.  The TOUR is in Charlotte next weekend then heads down to Ponte Vedra Beach to tee at up at TPC Sawgrass.  This is a good stretch and clearly the highlight of the month of May.

NASCAR was in Richmond last night for an interesting race.  I thought Gordon was going to be the class of the field but was unable to out-duel Joey Logano.  This is Logono's second win so far this season, tied for the most with Happy Harvick.  Kyle Bush was aggressive all night and able to lock up third spot.  I was a bit concerned that he would again piss off half the field by taking them and himself out by pushing too hard but the strategy moved him through the field so you cannot argue too much.  Junior got another Top 10 by finishing 7th.  I believe Jeff Gordon still leads the points though cannot confirm this because the new system is too damn stupid to understand all the dynamics (one win and all last place finishes is apparently worth more than a whole season of top-5 finishes-thanks NASCAR).  Maybe I'll have this thing figured out before The Chase begins (then again, maybe I'll be tired of Winston Cup action by then and won't even bother to try and figure any of this out).  The Cup series heads to Alabama this weekend.  I always look forward to them heading to Talladega and expect the typical superspeedway excitement you get out of this track.

I got little more this weekend other than a PANIC Attack to get your week going.