What the *$@!%&# happened to Clemson in the Orange Bowl?

I’m not a negative guy. I don’t like to write negative blog posts, but each ACC bowl game result seemed to get worse as the post season continued. Teams that lacked effort, questionable coaching decisions close losses, blowouts, on and on, but the bottom fell out Wednesday night in one spectacular meltdown by the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.

West Virginia scored 70 points against Clemson. Let me put that into perspective; Alabama gave up 71 points after their 10th game! The Mountaineers couldn’t score SEVENTY against a 6 person defense. Not to dis-credit West Virginia. This was a team that had over 500 yards of offense against LSU, but the Tigers should be humiliated by what happened on the field down in Miami.

For all of the fire power has Clemson has on offense, the defense is and has been a liability all season. They gave up 45 points to Maryland, 38 to North Carolina, 37 to NC State etc for a total of 8 games that the Tigers D gave up 27 or more points. Basically unless the Virginia Tech Hokies were lined up on the other side, the defense employed what is known as the Matador Defense. Ole!

The scary thing is that the Tigers lose their 3 best defensive players DE Andre Branch, DT Brandon Thompson, and CB Coty Sensabaugh are all seniors, so the defense might actually be worse next season. Kevin Steele the DC has a good reputation but this national spotlight debacle might force head coach Dabo Swinney to make a move. Steele may end up the fall guy. Enough about the defense, I’m not letting the offense off the hook.

We knew the defense was an issue but when Andre Ellington fumbled at the 1 yard line only to get the ball returned by West Virginia 99 yards for a TD, the wind got knocked out Clemson and they never recovered. 3 Clemson turnovers resulted in West Virginia touchdowns. It was a nightmare in every way a football game could be. Sometimes you just can’t explain a disaster like this. West Virginia was great, Clemson was terrible. I don’t know what else you can say. So what about the Tigers moving forward?

Before the game I probably would have made the Tigers the ACC favorite for next year, followed closely by Virginia Tech and Florida State. Now you just don’t how much scar tissue will remain with the Tigers. Will Clemson go into a shell the next time things start going the wrong way for them? QB Tajh Boyd clearly was pressing once the Tigers got behind. Will they be able to use the game as motivation in the off-season? There’s talent returning and recruiting is going strong, but Dabo Swinney has a lot of work ahead him to restore the psyche of his football team.

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