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Alpha, Thanks for starting the BC conversation. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the Eagles vs. the Wolfpack that hasn’t been said – 2 very young teams, both needing a win, both needing to get themselves bowl eligible. The Eagles have had 2 WTF games — a win vs. USC and a loss at home vs. Colorado State. The Wolfpack has had 2 WTF halves — a great first half vs. FSU and a miserable first half vs. CU. (You could say that we had WTF halves in both the GSU and ODU games.)
I have a somewhat different view of the Clemson game. Standing in Clemson’s shoes I think they were apprehensive of the Wolfpack offense getting a good start, settling the team down and giving Clemson a good game. That Clemson took the ball instead of deferring is telling. Pure speculation but I’d say the Clemson game plan was to score early and unsettle the Pack before we could settle in with our previously potent offense. They did exactly that. Doeren said in his presser Monday that at 14-0 he had trouble getting his team to focus. Perfectly executed game plan.
In a manner all to familiar with Wolfpack Fandom we have tried to make the Clemson game more wrong with us than was right with Clemson. Admittedly after the smoke cleared in the first half, we were out of the game. Had they made Watson their QB before the UGA game, they likely would be undefeated and ranked at or near #1. It’s no secret our defense is suspect but they didn’t allow Clemson’s juggernaut offense but a field goal in the second half. On the other side of that coin with the score at 41-0 Clemson likely lost it’s edge.
Were the score more what was expected at the half, Clemson’s offense no doubt would have scored more in the second half but so would have we. But they didn’t and that’s the point. Looking for something to take from the Clemson game? This Wolfpack team does not quit. Some young defensive talent is starting to emerge. I’ve said before there’s not much a coach can do about the talent level in the first year of recruiting but he can do something about attitude. In that regard mission accomplished.
Yes, this season may be at some kind of fork in the road. Is the football program really at a fork in the road? Only with those who have already decided it’s the south fork. And we all know who they are.