If I said I would give you a million bucks if the Tigers would be 2-2 through the first four games of the season, would you have thought I was crazy? Most likely. Especially with all the hype surrounding the talent all-over the field, on both sides of the ball. Even the most novice fan can tell that there are minimal issues on the defensive side of the ball. I could get nit-picky and say that they need to cause more turnovers, but offenses seem to be content with short drop-backs by the quarterbacks and dinking and dunking up and down the field. At least that is what the last two opponents have done (NC State and Georgia Tech) with one having enough talent to defeat our beloved Tigers.
That’s right, the Tigers are 2-2 on the season with losses to Georgia and NC State. NC State tried on three or four different occasions to try to give the game to the Tigers, but the Tigers were overly polite “house guests” and continually stepped on their own feet and ultimately lost in double overtime.
I sat down at the laptop this morning and wrote an entire eulogy for the Clemson dynasty. A ton is being said in the media and on the social media from couch-quarterbacks all over the country. But then I read the column by Marty Coleman, right here on Seldom Used Reserve dot com on Perspective and it really resonated with me. I won’t be a spoiler here, as it was very well written and, quite honestly, we want some clicks for those .0000000000000000000002 cents (see what I did there?) that we get for said click. But I digress.
2 losses in a single season is a place that Clemson fans haven’t seen since 2014. The first year of the College Football Playoff. That’s a long time ago in the dynasty. Yes, there is a chance, maybe even a good chance, for more than 2 losses this year and that will move the calendar back even further, and that is unreal to think about. At some point I will get to the point of this column, because all of the things written so far has been talked about ad nauseum.
Let me start by saying that I HATE when Clemson loses. Like, literally ruins my day and most of the following week. I hate the texts that come from people with zero affiliation to Clemson that come. I hate the comments from friends that ask, “what happened…?” As if I know. I have ideas, but I’m not a football coach. This has subsided over the years, especially after the two national championships, but this past week I was overloaded with those messages.
However, how I felt after the anger subsided was a sense of relief. I know, I’ll likely get questions about my fandom because of that comment, but it happened. A sense of relief that the expectations of a flawed football team are now put off for a bit. I mentioned in last week’s column that I think Clemson will be just fine, and I am keeping with that thought process, albeit, they may not be that fine THIS season. Things on the offensive side of the ball need help, and quickly. Injuries to Will Shipley and season-ending for Bryan Bresee are utterly heart-breaking. But this program is not dead Pawwwwwwwl. It is just fine. The recruiting is still at the top of the list every year, and the coaches are likely the right group to get this team back fighting for the top spot.
BUT, my .02 this week is to say that after that loss to NC State a week ago, I have seen and heard a lot of Clemson fans saying that they’re not going to go and support the Tigers any more this week. One prominent person said that it’s going to save them a lot of money, and I agree. No postseason trips to Phoenix, New Orleans, Dallas or Santa Clara, likely. However, I am going to be in Death Valley this weekend when the Tigers play Boston College and I. Cannot. Wait. to get there. I have been to at least one home game since 1995. And from 1995-2001, 2003, 2015-17, I was at every home game. And some years that I lived in Florida, I went to multiple games. Usually sprinkled in to a trip to Boston, or Tampa for the 2009 ACC Championship, or Phoenix with my Brown Lot Crew for the 2015 National Championship, yada yada, you get the point. HOWEVER, my streak ended in 2020 when no fans were allowed at the games, as I’m sure a lot of streaks ended.
So I am excited that the fickle fans won’t be in Clemson this weekend. I will be there. And I am so appreciative about the opportunity to go. And, as I stated on Sluggo this week, I love the Clemson/Boston College game. Outside of a few games in the series, these games have been really, really good, competitive football games. I enjoy my trips to Boston as well, and their awkward tailgating experience (we tailgate in a parking garage and pee in the library. Trust me, it’s actually very fun). So the chance to have an enjoyable, relatively stress-free experience at a Clemson football game is so appealing to me. That loss last week is going to allow me to step back and just enjoy my alma mater, and favorite team play a really good Boston College team. I hope, if you’re in Clemson this weekend, that I run into you. And if you see me, say hello. I’ll be the guy with a smile on my face from ear to ear from being so excited, and appreciative to be back in Clemson watching the Tigers play.