I was criticized quite openly here a few weeks ago when I predicted an 8-4 season with losses to Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. I suppose my normal nervousness and reserved demeanor with Clemson football was quite different than the vocal majority (or minority…possibly) that roams the boards here at TigerNet.
I’m historically one game off in preseason predictions. So, if history holds true, my 8-4 prediction will turn out to be 7-5 or 8-4 or 9-3.
I want a do-over after Saturday’s game with Boston College.
While many went into meltdown mode following the heartbreaking loss to the Eagles in Chestnut Hill, I walked away pleasantly surprised. One year ago, BC beat the devil out of us in our home stadium. The fact that the score was even remotely close was astonishing considering how much they manhandled us on both sides of the ball. The fact that we did not convert a 3rd down conversation one year ago is enough to embarrass even the most die hard fans.
Quite the opposite happened last Saturday. Clemson went on the road and whipped Boston College everywhere but special teams and the scoreboard. Unfortunately, that was enough to spell defeat in a heartbreaking fashion.
I was sick to my stomach in Alumni Stadium as the BC kid nailed the extra point to give the Eagles the win. But a few hours after the game, the reality sunk in. Clemson played a pretty good game, and is a pretty good team.
And I’d like to up my prediction, ironically enough, after the loss to BC.
I think the upside to this team is tremendous. Winning in Tallahassee will be a tough task and all bets are that our Tigers will not defeat the ‘Noles on Saturday night. It can be done, however, and I will travel to Florida thinking it will happen. And I know the team thinks it can happen.
Regardless of Saturday night in Tallahassee, however, this team seems good enough to win 9 or 10 games. The schedule, brutal right now, lightens up as the road winds through the season. UNC, NC State, Maryland, and South Carolina all seem underachievers at week two of the season. It’s tough to get a good read on Virginia Tech, but Clemson historically plays great down the stretch for Coach Bowden and will have a good chance to win in Blacksburg.
The Tigers seem good enough offensively and talented enough (even if inexperienced) on defense to make noise this year in conference.
It may not seem so if we stand at 0-2 in the ACC late Saturday night. But the reality is, unless things change from last Saturday, this is a good football team. I’m impressed, and a bit surprised, at what I’ve seen so far. 1-1 has soured the hopes of many…but the manner in which those games were played has given me more optimism than I had 2 ½ weeks ago.
And I thought more highly of this team after the loss to BC than I did prior to the kickoff of the 2006 season. For whatever that is worth.
Boston College is not even close to being ready for big time college football. Wake Forest does a better job with its game day experience than do the Eagles. The problems at BC start with reminders of when you can start and when you stop tailgating. Restrictions on tailgating are the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever seen. BC even goes so far as to promote it constantly during the game on the jumbo-tron. The stadium is ok and above average in the ACC. But Chestnut Hill gets buried among the big city umbrella even more than Georgia Tech does. Add that to the fact that these folks don’t allow tailgating as it was meant to be makes me wonder if BC really wants to be a big time football school.
Clemson fans traveled in mass to Boston. The city itself is a great attraction for Clemson fans every other year. Orange was literally everywhere in the downtown area and in the night life. Alumni Stadium was almost one third full of Clemson fans…something that irked many Eagle patrons that I spoke with. They were clearly embarrassed that Clemson fans came from so far away to “steal” away tickets from Eagle fans. Having BC in the league is wonderful since we can have an excuse to travel to the Northeast every other year. We just need to find a way to win the games against them or the losing will dampen every trip!
If we get another injury on defense, somebody on TigerNet will blame John Swofford. It will, no doubt, be a conspiracy to derail Clemson.
The North Carolina game is set to kick off at 12:00 noon. That means that the folks in Lot 1 will start lining up to enter the gates and begin tailgating at 3:00 a.m. Those dedicated (crazy) people in Lot 1 will one day go to tailgating Heaven…wherever that may be. Sign me up.
Does anybody really believe that people who run web sites for a college school are not fans of that school? Does anybody really believe that people that host talk shows in this state are not fans of a particular school? Newsflash. The world is not made up of unbiased people. We all have a bias or a favorite. That bias or favorite may or may not be Clemson or South Carolina. But the bias is there…in all of these people that claim not to be biased. If you are truly un-biased you are boring, dull, and irrelevant. And we have a few of those around this state in the media. But there is nothing wrong with admitting that you are biased. At least you will have honesty on your side.