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Dec
04
2011

Clemson silences critics and other ACCCG musings.

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk about the ACCCG. Clemson crushed Virginia Tech 38-10 in a result nobody saw coming. Maybe some figured Clemson could win the game but never by that margin. First let me say the ACCCG should never ever leave Charlotte, NC. Now maybe it was two teams playing but what an atmosphere there. There was a sold-out stadium, and the pre-game festivities were great. I’ve been to a few other bowl game FanFest’s, and the one they had in Charlotte was the best I’ve ever been too. Big Screen TV’s showing the SEC Title game, and concert. It was spread out enough that tent locations weren’t clogged up. Nice job Charlotte… Now to the game.

After Clemson got whipped by South Carolina the week before, the common theme you heard was that was Clemson being Clemson, streaky, inconsistent and in the end never winning anything of note. There were whispers of Dabo Swinney just being another Tommy Bowden. Not this time… The Tigers played well like the Tigers, the ones from September and October. They were opportunistic on defense and explosive on offense. Both the offensive and defensive lines played with more fire than they had in weeks. Tajh Boyd the game MVP, look every bit a 2012 Heisman candidate, and Sammy Watkins was Sammy Watkins. The win gave Clemson their first ACC Title in 20 years. Clemson now is back in the Orange Bowl for the first time in 30 years. My how 1 game can totally change the direction of a season, but not just for Clemson.

Everyone’s been talking about Clemson pulling a Clemson, but in the end it was really about Virginia Tech pulling a Virginia Tech. The bigger the game, the bigger the opponent, the worse the Hokies play. My one and only consistent criticism of the Hokies is that this program has a ceiling under Frank Beamer. He truly does an outstanding job. They are consistently in contention for the ACC Title, and winning 10 games is virtually automatic. A lot of programs would love have the apparent issue the Hokies have, but one does exist. Pick a season and you’ll find 1 or 2 games a year the Hokies fail to grab the greatness that’s right in front of them. 2011 – Somewhat of a rebuilding year, but a very soft schedule. They were outscored by the best team, Clemson, they faced 61-13. 2010 – a 40-12 blowout to Stanford, and virtual home game loss to Boise St. 2009 – Beat by Alabama in a 34-24 loss that wasn’t that close, 2007 – a 48-7 defeat at the hands of LSU. You get the picture… The concern for me is often these games against the better teams are routes.

Virginia Tech has without question been the ACC’s best team in recent years, but you get the feeling if the ACC is to have a national title contender in the next 5 years it will be Clemson or Florida State. Two teams that can recruit at a level the Hokies simply haven’t been able and maybe just can’t. That said Virginia Tech will remain a conference contender as long as Frank Beamer roams the sidelines.


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