I had something sort of novel set up for this week…but I’ll leave that for another week, because I’ve just got too much hate in my heart after the football atrocity I watched last Saturday. Instead, I’m turning my attention to Clemson’s greatest opponent this season …. Clemson. Sure, Wake is a competent team that gave Louisville all it could handle for 3 quarters before collapsing in a truly unique and impressive manner (possibly assisted by Louisville’s intimate knowledge of the Wake playbook) but let’s be for real, they only way Clemson loses to Wake is if Clemson drops an anvil on their own head, Wile E. Coyote style. Consider this a place to purge your system of Clemson angst so we can start fresh against Wake. Let’s get to it; I’ve got a few things to get off my chest.
Wait, just one second, before I get started on Clemson, I need to talk about the refs for a second. They were terrible. When I saw that the head ref was a USCjr grad it all made sense. Now, before Aaron Brenner and accuses me of wearing a “tin foil hat” let me say that I don’t think Duane Heydt intentionally called the game in favor of Pitt. It makes sense to me because Duane Heydt is terrible at his job as are most people from the fine institution. That being said, I’m sure the ACC will schedule his crew for the ACC Championship game because the ACC is going to ACC when it comes to Clemson.
Let The Hating Commence
My 2 year Old Daughter: This season was supposed to be a gentle introduction into the world of college football for my 2-year daughter. We were going to watch a few blowouts, learn the cadence count, maybe knock back a few juice boxes…nothing too stressful. Instead, my poor Lilly must equate Clemson football with her father stalking around the house like a caged animal, binge drinking Miller High Life tall boys, and muttering streams of obscenities at the floor.
I’m waiting her to start screaming, “Cover the tight end…he’s wide open, how can we not see him” at random strangers.
Sure, she’s learning life lessons like “never play down to your opponent” and “don’t throw the ball when running the ball seals the game” but I had hoped this season would teach her, “it’s not bragging when you back it up”.
I absolutely hate that Lilly had to watch Clemson lose to a team like Pittsburgh. I lived the horrors of Tommy Bowden football and it’s not something I ever wanted my daughter experience, even if she doesn’t fully understand the potential global implications of Clemson’s loss to Pitt quite yet. Clemson football has made me dig deep into my swear word vocabulary in front of my daughter and I hate that.
Below: Not my daughter...but a reasonable representation of sad Lilly.
I have a few ideas on how to improve our third quarter performance:
1. No More Halftime Waffle House
I know, this seems cruel, but you can’t have nice things if you don’t perform. I love a good country ham dinner with covered smothered and chunked hash browns as much as the next God fearing American, but I think it’s sitting a little heavy in our stomachs. We come out of the locker room looking like we’ve got “the itis”. Maybe just orange slices and some bananas until we get things back on track.
2. Gatorade/water instead of buttermilk
Clemson tries to be cutting edge, but our new buttermilk hydration system seems to be taking away some of our fire at halftime. Again, I love a rich, thick glass of cold buttermilk with a little fresh pepper ground on top, but everything has a proper place and a proper time. Perhaps halftime is not the proper occasions to slake our thirst with full fat buttermilk.
3. No more naps
I’ve got it on excellent authority that after our players finish their Waffle House and have consumed at least 3 glasses of buttermilk, mats are furnished, lights are dimmed, the mellow sounds of Yanni come on over the speakers and all players are encouraged to take a nap. Again, nothing wrong with napping, but I’m just wondering if it’s beneficial at halftime.
Overall, Clemson has left the halftime locker room looking like Snoop Dog and Willy after a long night in Amsterdam. I’m not sure why we are boycotting the third quarter, but if we could please get that sorted out, I would appreciate it, because at this point, I hate halftime.
Below: Halftime Meal
Making Twitter Difficult: Do you know how hard it is to be a Clemson fan on twitter? I’ve got Louisville, USCjr, Tennessee, and now Pitt fans blowing up my @’s these days. I actually had to block a deranged Pitt fan that spent the good part of 3 days @ing me in his incoherent rants. Look, I just want to be smug and point at the scoreboard Instead, I’ve got to break out 12 different reference sources and work out 3 different equations to defend Clemson’s place in the CFP because we keep crapping all over the field at home. Hell, someone today was trying to argue that LSU is better than Clemson. Sure it’s an argument you can make only after consuming nothing but bayou water and lead paint chips for 50 years, but it’s an actual argument someone tried to make because Clemson has been so uninspiring.
I’ll admit, I get some satisfaction listening to Louisville fans weep and gnash their teeth over Clemson’s ranking, but if we’re playing like this just to troll Louisville we should probably pick it up now, because it’s getting a little too close for comfort. I like Twitter and I hate the fact that Clemson is making me work hard (self plug,: follow me at Drew Schneider@drewtigeralum).
Below: Louisville, USCjr, and UT fans unite on twitter.
The Jumbo Package: I thought the jumbo package with Wilkins and Lawrence in the backfield was a cool idea at first. I mean, you’re basically running behind 2 elephants in football pads. Then we ran it again, and again, and again, and now it’s obvious that the coaches have no faith that our offensive line can move the other team off the line of scrimmage without the aid of an extra 600 pounds. It’s really not the jumbo package that I hate; I just hate the fact that we have to run the jumbo package in order to gain a yard.
I remember at the beginning of the year an anonymous ACC coach said that Clemson’s offensive line “couldn’t move anyone off the ball”. I was ready to take up my Internet pitchfork and torch and burn Dave Doeren to the ground (I know it was you Dave…or maybe Paul Johnson) but it turns out they were right.
We’re back to not being able to gain a yard. I’m completely convinced that if we commit a false start penalty on 3rd and 2 against Pitt on our last drive we win the game. That’s right, our running game is so pitiful that I’m way more confident in our ability to pick up 3rd and 7 than I am in our ability to pick up 3rd and 2, and I put most of that on the offensive line. At this point, I’m just happy when we don’t get pushed backwards. Last year we ran the “smash mouth” spread. This year we’re running the “get smashed in the mouth” spread, and I hate it. I hate it so much.
Below: The O-Line in one image
If we didn’t commit (X) number of turnovers: You get to use this phrase once a year. Football is a weird game, things happen; sometimes the ball bounces back into your hands, sometimes a West Virginia player plucks it out of the middle of the pile and runs 30 yards before anyone realizes he has the ball.
“Well, if we didn’t commit so many turnovers” is now the Clemson mantra. I waiting to hear, “Clemson welcomes you to Death Valley. If we didn’t commit so many turnovers you guys would be in trouble!”
At some point this season, we’ve got to stop handing the ball to the other team like it’s a participation trophy. I understand that we’re a family friendly program, but it’s getting a little out of hand.
“Oh, hey, sorry you can’t stop us from moving the ball up and down the field at will, would it make you feel better if we let you have the ball?”
“Sorry we made it into the redzone. What if we throw the ball to you in the endzone? Would that help your self esteem?”
“Look at this big lead we have. Is it hurting your feelings? Here you take the ball a couple of times, see what you can do with it.”
Oh, we’re about to seal the game? It doesn’t seem fair that you don’t get a chance to win, you’ve played so hard. Here, you take the ball, we’ve won a bunch of games anyway.”
I’m sick and tired of making excuses. I’m sick and tired of saying “Well, if we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot over and over again we’d be really good.” I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
Let’s go out there on Saturday and finally do what we are supposed to do. I hate hating on Clemson.