In the aftermath of Wednesday night's debacle in Miami I have read a lot of dumb stuff written by so called experts in drawing a correlation on bowl performance and next season's performance along with the overall state of a program. I am not trying to convince anyone that what I witnessed from Clemson last night was pleasant or enjoyable but I do think people need to step back a minute.
I have heard a lot of people talk about the 2011 campaign as "disappointing" or "poor" this morning. I know emotions are often raw and just that full of emotion. To say that a 10-4 season for the Clemson Tigers is "poor" or "disappointing" chaps my ass to be frank. I will agree that the 2011 season was overshadowed at times with "poor" and "disappointing" performances. However, to paint the season as a whole in such a matter is shortsighted and disrespectful to the people who invested 1000s of hours into this season.
College football is driven prognostications. Those prognostications are as fleeting as meal cravings. On a week to week basis we all, myself included seek to make definitive judgement statements about a team or program based on one game performances. It's silly and juvenile to be honest. It is like a teenage boy who is in love with girl A one week, she disappoints him so he then hates her, finds girl B days later thinks she is the one who is going to be the one he goes steady with, then 4 weeks later, she finds another guy who has bigger muscles, you catch my drift.
We spend all offseason after schedules come out and say we are going to win this game, that game, there is no way we lose that one because we never lose to those guys. We make these grandiose predictions like our teams can be manipulated like figures on a video game. Just in case some of you out there were concerned, the guys on the field are not the same people that show up on your screen when you play NCAA Football on your gaming platform.
It goes back to September 2, 2011, the night before the first game of the season. If we were having a conversation that day and the football gods came to you and said, Clemson will go 10-4 win the ACC, look abysmal in their losses and get blown out in their bowl game, not many people I know would not have taken that reality and ran with it.
We can now look back at a total work and draw conclusions but this team with 42 freshmen or sophomores on the roster, under the leadership of a first year starter at quarterback, new coordinator won 10 games and secured Clemson’s first conference title in 20 years. The sting of 70-33 will not go away quickly but this team had a really good year. I hate the fact that when we lost, we were defeated by an average of 24 points. It is head scratching but were you not head scratching when you in your late teens and early twenties?
I realize that people get paid a lot of money to make in the moment commentary. Sadly it is the culture we live in, who’s up, who’s down, who’s hot, who’s not, that is the reality that we face each day of our lives. I find it exhausting myself. Just because a dude that sells exceeds his sales number by 35% for eight consecutive months but then misses his sales quota September bounces back in October going above his number, misses his sales number in November and comes within 3% of hitting his sales goal in December. Is this a guy who should be fired? Has he had a “disappointing” or “poor” year? I would say not when you look at the total picture.
I have said this in person to several people in the past “experts” put way too much emphasis or attempt to glean future success or failure based on bowl performances. Our friends in Tallahassee defeated South Carolina College in the Chik-fi-la Bowl last year, became the offseason media darlings, had a #5 preseason ranking and how did that workout?
Wednesday night was terrible, believe me I was there in my seat till the bitter end. To categorize the season as a whole as a “disappointment” or “poor” just just wrong.
In closing in all of the tweets, facebook comments and editorials coming out of the Wednesday Massacre, I found a blog that pretty much sums up how I feel about Clemson and why I am wearing orange today. A woman named Jess articulated the thoughts of most true Tigers and I will close out the 2011 Season with an exert from her thoughts. Thank you all for allowing to share my rants and thoughts. I will probably not have the time to write as much in the coming months as I close out grad school but I will be sure to send out a link when I am able to get some thoughts down.
“My alma mater is more than the color orange or purple. It is more than football or baseball or basketball. It is a feeling. And until you have experienced it, you just won't get it. My alma mater buries itself deep in your heart and thumps louder and louder and louder the older you get.
My alma mater is tradition. It's military background and agricultural education paved the way for the university we love today.
My alma mater has home-made ice cream. And for an ice cream lover, that makes for a little piece of heaven on Earth.
My alma mater has the most beautiful sunsets over the most beautiful clock tower. The sky is painted orange and purple in the most spectacular display of beauty a person can imagine.
My alma mater is family. I am forever bound by an unseen thread to men and women all over the world who feel the same feeling I do and have experienced the same traditions that I have experienced.
My alma mater is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. And there is something in those hills that beckons me to return over and over and over again. It echos in my heart day after day.
My alma mater is Clemson University. And despite the score of the game last night--or any other time--the fact still remains that I love the ground in which I tread for 10 years, first as an undergraduate then a graduate student and finally an employee. I love Clemson University to the depths of my heart. Because it was during my time at Clemson, that I learned about faith and family and friends. It was during my time at Clemson that I learned how to be me.
"There is something in these hills that brings together and binds together and holds together men and women of all persuasions, of all heights, sizes, weights, and cultural backgrounds--something that cuts across every difference, spans every gap, penetrates every wall--something that makes a man or a woman stand taller, feel better and say with high pride to all within earshot, "I went to Clemson." ~Joe Sherman, Class of 1934
So today--just like any other day--I stand tall, feel better and still am proud to say that I went to Clemson.
Go Tigers! Congratulations on an amazing 2011 football season!"