I’ve stepped away from the hate this season. I still feel it in my heart, but let’s be honest, at times this season, I hated this Clemson team more than the opposition. There are only so many times I can watch a team implode before it feels like they are intentionally inflicting emotional pain.
That’s (hopefully) in the past now. The Tigers have finally found their stride. Dabo has awoken from his post Bama beat down slumber, and taken the program off autopilot. I’m going to do the unthinkable and thank Dave Doeren and NC State for inspiring this turnaround. Dabo can excuse away losing to Duke in a weird game. He can shrug his shoulders over a missed field goal against Florida State. Losing to Miami in overtime was rough, but they’re loaded with on-paper talent, even if it only manifests on the field once every 3 games.
NC State though, that’s a bridge too far.
When your program makes Dave Doeren look like a competent coach, something has to change, and change drastically.
Since the loss in Raleigh the Tigers look like a different team. In the immortal words of Mr. Samuel L. Jackson...
Clemson's doin' that Running' straight up Yo Ass & Ain't Nuthin' You Can Do About It BALL!!— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) September 2, 2012
I’ll admit it; I wasn’t sold on the turnaround after the Notre Dame game. It takes more than one half of good football to cleanse the trash from my brain and Notre Dame isn’t that good.
Then Mafah bullied Tech.
Then the entire squad bullied the Tarholes.
Turns out turning around and handing it to the running back until the other team has to adjust makes things significantly easier for the quarterback. The turnovers (somewhat) regressed to the norm and Clemson started looking more like Clemson and less like Clemson doing their best South Carolina impression.
Speaking of which, there’s only one team left to bully in the regular season.
Let’s talk about our feathered friends from Columbia.
The Perfect Rival
Say what you will about South Carolina; they’re the perfect football rival, and they keep hiring the funniest coaches. Their latest, Shane Beamer, is a nepo baby failson riding his father’s reputation and Muschamp’s defense until someone in the UofSC admin decides they’ve seen enough and pay him to go away and fetch Nick Saban’s coffee.
When you have the chance to hire a sentient packet of miracle whip/tight ends coach with no head coaching experience and a penchant for cheating (remember Wakey Leaks?), you have to do it if you’re the Gamecocks. To be fair, I’m not sure the Gamecocks could do better.
The Chet Hanks of college football may have been their only option.
The Gamecocks thought they were getting a value brand Dabo Swinney, but instead got K-Mart Derrick Dooley. The best judge of a coach, in my humble opinion, is the players. After knocking off Clemson (in what may have been the best loss in the history of Clemson football) last season, anyone who could get out took the last Cockaboose out of Columbia.
It’s wild comparing South Carolina’s 2022 roster to the 2023 roster.
Their leading rusher from 2022, Marshawn Lloyd, is now the leading rusher for the real USC (shout out to Lincoln Riley for poaching his former lackeys’ star running back). Jaheim Bell, their Swiss Army knife tight end, took his talents to Florida State where they don’t require him to play every skill position on the field for lack of options. Jordan Burch was second on the team in tackles for loss and sacks, and third in tackles; he now plays for Oregon. Austin Stronger, came with Shane from Oklahoma and used the back end of his ticket to return to the Sooners. Gilber Edmond traded a starting spot at South Carolina for a chance to back up Jared Verse at Florida State. The man decided to sit the bench instead of running it back with the clown prince of coaching in Columbia and I don’t blame him one bit.
Good coaches don’t lose starters to other programs.
South Carolina is perfect for the nepo generation.
Unearned arrogance? - Check
Coattail Riding? - Check T
rust Fund (AKA playing in the SEC) - Check
All they need is a TikTok feed where Shane goes out and randomly harasses members of the public for the attention of 12-year-old girls, and they would hit nepo Nirvana. I’m sure that’s on the off-season to-do list.
Sorry, this is a last-second, but I wanted to give the loyal open thread folks something to peruse. Consider it my holiday gift from me to you.
Here’s the Deal Kickoff is in a half-hour and I’ve got a 12 pack I don’t intend on bringing home with me when we leave the beach tomorrow morning. I need to get to work. Remember, as you settle in to watch tonight, please take a moment to thank the divine being of your choice for the Gamecocks.
Sure, they may be a bunch of doo-doo ice-eating, halftime-leaving, tailgate-fornicating, industrial-site-dwelling, degenerates, but I can’t think of a better team to hate. When they were handing out rivals, Clemson cut to the front of the line.
Now let’s resume our regularly scheduled chicken kickin’. The rent on Willy B is due, and it’s time for Dabo and the boys to collect.
Y’all be safe tonight.