Folks, I’m back.
I needed a shot of football adrenaline to the heart, and North Carolina stuck the needle into my chest Pulp Fiction style. It’s easy to get complacent when you’re on a 20 game heater. I wasn’t focused on the UNC game, and we almost paid the price.
I didn’t change into my lucky IPTAY shirt until kickoff.
I told my wife she could knock out her errand list at halftime because “the game will be over by then and you can watch the rest on DVR later.”
My beer supply was completely inadequate.
I’m not going to lie, it was fun watching a competitive football game again. I’d forgotten what it felt like to live and die on every play. I dug the vilest liquor I could find out of the back of the cabinet (some sort of butterscotch moonshine someone left after a party...for good reason) for 4th quarter rally shots. When Tee snuck down the seam for the go ahead score, the wife and I executed a perfect running chest bump. The entire neighborhood was treated to a full throated Cadence Count after the 2-point conversion stop. The dog was so excited she crashed into a wall doing zoomies. It was….dare I say….lit.
The Noles, however, won’t catch me unprepared this week.
My Iptay shirt is clean, folded, and ready to roll.
Our social calendar is clear and all errands have been arranged around game time.
I’ve been sampling growlers from the local brewery this week to make sure I have my growlers filled with the perfect beer this Saturday (I’m going with a 7.2% A.B.V. amber called Blood Moon and a 6.2% A.B.V. robust porter called Zombie Monkey). I’ll also have my traditional “break in case of emergency” 6 pack of Highlife tall boys in reserve.
Clemson is riding on the R.O.Y. bus again. The “What’s wrong with Trevor Lawrence” think pieces have been flowing like U of SC excuses.” Dabo is fired up and laying into reporters during press conferences. Clemson is on “upset alert”. Ohio State fans are swarming twitter and talking smack about a team they’ve never defeated.
This feels..right. This feels like Clemson football.
The Tigers are limping into this game as the most mediocre defending National Champion on a 20-game winning streak in the history of college football. The offense can’t put together consecutive drives. Trevor is missing throws like he’s attempting to hit golf carts at the Manning Camp. Travis is coughing up the ball up like Doc Holiday coughing up blood in Tombstone. The defense can’t stop the power running game and can’t get off the field on 4th down. Sure, they’re “undefeated” but nothing means less in college football than wins and losses. If your All-American quarterback isn’t carving up a 2-2 Mississippi team deep into the 4th quarter of a blowout, what’s the point of even playing?
I sure don’t know.
The mighty Seminoles are rolling into Death Valley on the back of their most impressive victory in three years after dismantling the Dave “Dirty Diaper” Doeren led Wolfpack. They didn’t even need a laptop on the sideline to get the job done. Is there a hint of optimism wafting out of Tallahassee?
FSU fans are peeking their heads out of the swamp and surveying the college landscape like baby snapping turtles looking for their first piece of meat. It’s going to be fun watching them dive back into the mud. There’s something about crushing a team that thinks they might have a chance that makes my soul smile.
Let’s Get To the Hate
Willie has escaped my wrath during his tenure with the Noles because he hasn’t been worth the time. Hating on Willie is like hating on a middle manager crashing and burning after being unexpectedly promoted to CEO. Do y’all remember the Simpsons episode where Homer is hired to design a car and comes up with “The Homer” because he has no idea how to actually design a car?
Willie Taggart is Homer and the FSU football is his “The Homer.” What do you expect from a coach whose best resume point is “figured out how to win in a G5 conference with P5 Florida talent.”
I gave Willie a break his first year. Jimbo left him with five turnstiles masquerading as offensive linemen and two quarterbacks that spent more time running than Harrison Ford in the Fugitive. Sure, he has talent that 95% of college football would cheat for, but the fact that Jimbo phoned in two consecutive seasons took some time to overcome.
I watched the FSU opener against Boise State with interest. At halftime, I was making statements like, “Willie looks like he has this thing figured out” and “I guess Kendall Briles is a genius, an unethical slime ball, but a genius none-the-less.”
Then the second half happened, and all I could do was laugh at the most inept display of coaching I’ve seen this side of hunched over Tommy Bowden with a play sheet shoved down the front of his pleated khakis.
It looked like the Seminoles forgot everything they knew about football in the locker room at halftime. I’m surprised the medical spotter in the booth didn’t stop the game and put the entire team and the coaching staff in the concussion protocol. If you told me that they skipped the Gatorade and passed around a rag soaked in ether during the break, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
They followed up their epic post surgery peanut butter crackers and no water (this happened to me) choke job against Boise with a narrow home escape against...ULM? No offense to ULM, which I’m sure is a fine institution of higher learning, but Willie, come on man, you’re not a USF anymore. FSU schedules ULM for a break, not an overtime nail biter decided on a missed extra point.
It’s one thing to lose to Boise State, which is an overall respectable football program, but giving up 44 points to ULM...at home? The FSU fan base thought Mickey Andrews was washed, but Mickey could call in defenses from his lounge chair after three bourbons and not give up 44 to ULM. I’m not sure where Willie found Harlon Barnett (actually, I do know, it’s Michigan State, that line was just for effect) but he needs to return from whence he came, because this FSU defense has talent across the board and couldn’t stop the (checks google) Warhawks from putting a 40 spot on the board.
I know “we win, we dance” but I can only assume the Brent Venables would be in a hulk rage, ripping apart lockers with his bare hands and requiring copious amounts of elephant tranquilizers to get his blood pressure down to merely dangerous levels if his defense surrendered 44 points to Sun Belt team coming off a 6-6 record, and had to be bailed out by a missed extra point in overtime.
Look at this picture from Overtime....LOOK AT IT.
The background looks like a Rutgers vs Umass noon game and Kendall Briles is on the field celebrating like he just found out that he avoided a show cause in the Baylor investigation.
FSU have you no shame
This is Florida State Seminole football we’re talking about.
Home of Bobby Bowden, Deion Sanders, Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn and Charlie Ward, and you’re celebrating because ULM’s coach didn’t go for 2 because he thought he had the superior team on his sideline and it was only a matter of time before his talent won the day...over the Seminoles…in Doak Campbell Stadium?
I’m not sure if there is a bottom for the Florida State football program, but Taggart is going to plumb the depths to see what he can find. I’ll give him credit though, he’s cleaned up the on field discipline this year. Last season the Noles were 130th out of 130 teams in penalties per game with a mind numbing 9.2. This year, after another off-season installing his offense and discipline, Willie has the Noles all the way up to 121/130, averaging a meager 8.8 penalties per game. Seriously, it’s one thing to be bad at football, it’s another thing altogether to be both bad at football and undisciplined.
Under Taggart, FSU reminds me of the post Gruden era Raiders that were both demonstrably bad at football while at the same time being bad at not committing penalties. If you’re going to pull the “we’re football renegades, we don’t care about penalties” act, you better have the talent to back it up on the field. FSU doesn’t have the talent on the field or on the coaching staff to overcome not being able to consistently line up correctly or snap the ball before the play clock expires. For FSU, it’s not even about committing live ball penalties, it’s about not having enough players on the field and forgetting the snap count.
As a Clemson fan, I hope Willie Taggart sticks around Tallahassee for a good long while, but I’m going to assume that I’ll be hating on a new coach in a year or two. The proud Noles fan base can only stand for this charade Willie and his crew call football for so long.
Tick-Tock Willie, and watch your back, because Kendall Briles has no qualms with sticking the knife in nice and deep when your back is turned.
He’s not exactly known for his “ethics” but I guess you knew that when you hired him out of desperation to fix your Fedoraesque high school offense you somehow thought had a chance to succeed in major college football.
It’s time for the Tigers and Tiger faithful to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and start punishing teams like FSU. We’ve been complacent all season, coasting, when we should have both feet on the gas pedal. That stops Saturday.
I made it to Clemson for the A&M game this year, and I wasn’t feeling it. Sure, it was hotter than the surface of the sun for most of the game, but the intensity was lacking. Everyone was going through the motions, but there was no real venom in the stadium. It was a weird feeling.
I was also in Death Valley in 2013 when Winston, Jimbo and the boys strolled into town and showed us no mercy. Winston was in the game passing the ball deep into the 4th quarter when the Noles were up 51-7. I watched as FSU fans roamed around the emptying Clemson section, waving goodbye and tomahawk chopping. You know what, I was Ok with that, because this is big boy college football. You win, you gloat. The other team has the same number of scholarships and never stepping on the gas is how you sleepwalk against a team like North Carolina and almost get knocked off.
It’s time for Clemson and Dabo to start playing big boy college football. I’m tired of watching the Tigers play with their food, pull the starters early, and let the opponent walk out with their heads held high. Clemson needs to pull up on a team and deliver an ass whooping like Dabo usually only reserves for Bobby Petrino.
I can think of no better victim the FSU.
Playtime is over, it’s time to get down to business.