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I graduated from Clemson University on December 19th, 2019. During my 4.5 years at Clemson University I have been told by many people that I am going to Clemson during the best era in Clemson Football History. Monday I will be watching Clemson play in their 4th national title game since I became a student. After making their 5th College Football Playoff Appearance since I walked on the beautiful campus. However, this past season has felt…boring.
Of course, it is very privileged to say that a 14-0 season, winning a 6th consecutive ACC championship, going to 5th consecutive College Football Playoff, along with some of the greatest players that the school has ever seen, is boring. How could the greatest era of Clemson Football be considered boring? Well…let’s start with the schedule.
You start the season with a Thursday night home game vs Georgia Tech. This game kicked off the brand-new ACC Network. It was the celebration of the 2018 national champions, who were coming off a 44-16 beating of the “best team ever” Alabama Crimson Tide. All this excitement, hype, adrenaline led to a 52-14 beating of the Yellow Jackets. A game that was pretty much over by the end of the first half, which is a common trend for Clemson this year.
Next up was the Texas A&M game, which had some hype around it. The Aggies were ranked 12th when they came into Death Valley. This was a sequel to the exciting game last year that went down to the wire after Kellen Mond had the best performance of his career. There were some controversial calls in the end including a fumble that may have went out of the endzone. This edition of the game was expected to be just as good as Jimbo Fisher had another year with the Aggies and Clemson had a lot of question marks on the defense. This hype went away very quickly with a mostly boring game with Clemson holding a 24-3 lead for most of the second half.
The next few games were very uninteresting with a 41-6 trouncing of the Syracuse Orange and an expected drubbing of the Charlotte 49ers. Then the annual “trap” game appeared. The Tigers went to Chapel Hill expecting to win big again and continue with their easy schedule. Mack Brown and Sam Howell had different plans though. As the Tar Heels kept the game close throughout and went for 2 to take the lead with a minute left in the game. However, this was the last challenge that the Tigers would have for the rest of the regular season.
In the last 7 games of the regular season Clemson won each game by an average of 41 points. Which is absolute madness. This stretch of games included a 5th consecutive win over Florida State, and a 6th consecutive win over in-state rival South Carolina. To add onto it, Clemson beat Virginia in the ACC championship game 62-17 to bring home their 6th ACC championship in a row.
The offense has performed as expected as Trevor Lawrence produced 3,431 passing yards this season, while basically only playing half of the games. Travis Etienne proved to be one of the best running backs in the country despite not being a finalist for the Doak Walker. As he had 1,536 rushing yards on 192 attempts, averaging 8 yards per carry. Then you have the receiving duo of Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, Higgins getting 1,115 receiving yards on the year and Justyn Ross being an athletic freak as always. All this offensive power is sitting behind the Joe Moore semi-finalist offensive line.
Then you have the defense. Most teams usually have a rebuilding year on defense after losing 4 NFL players on their Defensive line. However, Clemson just reloaded with a new scheme to mask some weaknesses they had on defense. Going with a three-man front and blitzing enough to make Denzel Washington happy. The Tigers defense leads the country in scoring defense and yards allowed. Isiah Simmons emerged as one of the best players in the country.
All these amazing things happening on this historic Clemson roster, but I just can’t help but look at this season as nothing more than boring. Clemson was favored in every single game, except for the upcoming national championship game versus LSU. It has also gotten to the point where this isn’t the Clemson of old, where they would lose games they weren’t supposed to lose. “Clemsoning” is a thing of the past. When Clemson comes out flat in the first half, I mostly expect them to make adjustments and come out on top. They have the talent, the coaching, and the right mentality to beat the lesser teams on their schedule.
This may seem privileged, but I know for a fact that the loudest I heard Death Valley all year was for a fake game that will be turned into a Disney movie.