This may end up being a nonsensical celebratory Clemson football post, but that’s ok because my alma mater, Clemson University, just beat three straight ranked opponents including an almost unrealistic 20-point beat down of ACC-power Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium! When the new polls come out in a few hours I expect Clemson to move to #8 in the nation, jumping South Carolina, after they lost at home to Auburn, who we beat by two touchdowns in “Death Valley, South Carolina, baby!”
My original objective predictions for Clemson’s season would have us 3-2 right now with losses to both FSU and VT, and two more losses coming at Georgia Tech and at South Carolina. Coming off a 6-7 season, and with as many freshman as we have to rely on, 8-4 was about as optimistic as you could get without being a Lou Holtz kinda crazy biased.
The home win against Auburn was great, but everyone has been saying they’re not that good (although better than USC evidently). The win against FSU was very impressive, another offensive showdown following the Auburn game that made you think this offense was for real. The win on the road, at night, against the reigning conference champion Hokies though, well that was the best win I’ve ever experienced as a Clemson fan.
What made the win at VT even so impressive was that Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins had mediocre performances and we still won by three scores. Boyd went just 13/32 with 1 TD and 1 INT, not horrible, but also not what we’ve gotten used to. Sammy Watkins only posted 38 receiving yards and 4 rushing yards. That is what makes me feel so great about this team. The defense and special teams where great when the offense ran into a strong defense. In years past the defense, no matter how good their numbers, would never “the big stop.” A bad holding call would be called against us when the offensive needed “the big play.” Something just had to go wrong. I kept waiting for the flag, for the defensive breakdown, for something, and it just never came. This Clemson team is something we haven’t seen in a very long time. This team has guts. This team has heart. This team will have an ACC title to their credit. This team has even those cynical alumni who sat through four years of blah football believing.
We’ve successfully navigated through the toughest stretch of our schedule. We face the weakest team in the ACC next week with BC coming to town. It should be a good test of our self-discipline to see if we’re able to play hard and not play down to their level. At this point, I expect to win, and that’s something new.
Here are my updated predictions for the rest of the season. Georgia Tech on the road still concerns me, but USC on the road looks a lot more manageable now.
11-1 Regular Season
1-0 ACC Conference Championship