By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush.
My, what a difference a week makes.
Think about what you were feeling this time merely one week ago. Think about what you were talking about. Think about your mindset.
Deshaun was back, so Clemson was beating Georgia Tech. Georgia State would simply be an epic beatdown to prepare for a streak-busting win against South Carolina.
The freshman phenom at quarterback would ignite an otherwise dormant offense. He would inspire a defense that barely needed inspiring in the first place. His presence meant everything.
Chad Morris could be Chad Morris again. Brent Venables could get a nice cushion to work with for the first time in a while. Dabo Swinney could do Dabo things, leading the program as he wishes into a bright future.
Then Deshaun got hurt, again. Cole threw the ball right to a Tech player. Suddenly, everything changed.
Now, the conversation has radically shifted. It has gone from arrows-up to doom-and-gloom—all in a matter of seconds.
Clemson is a 40-point favorite against a Georgia State team that has one win in ten tries this season, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find many fans willing to bet the Tigers will score that many points against the Panthers. Even fewer feel good about the semi-important game next week against the Gamecocks.
Talk has shifted to how quickly Clemson’s shiny new quarterback can return to action, whether next week or a few months from now or the start of next season. Fans have gone from pondering margins of victory to questioning the appropriateness of booing a student-athlete on his Senior Day.
Florida fired its coach, and now everyone has an expert opinion on who should be the next guy. Could it be Swinney? Morris? Even Venables?
Suddenly, the bright future of invincibility doesn’t look so bright. Or invincible. Or even that much like a future, to tell you the truth. The sunny skies over the Clemson football program as it made its way down to Atlanta have given way to a dense fog, and there are no signs it will dissipate.
On top of all of that, the men’s basketball team has gone from an intriguing collection of talent to a team that can’t win games in the Big South. (Look, folks, it’s two early-season losses by a combined five points. No need to shut down the program. But the point remains, and I digress.)
The Clemson men’s soccer team won an ACC Championship in improbable fashion one week ago Sunday, winning a third consecutive game in either extra time or penalty kicks. Now, just one week later, before perhaps the biggest game in Historic Riggs Field in a decade or more, there’s a 100 percent chance of rain.
Coincidence? I think not. Not this week. You know, the one where seemingly everything changed—and not for the better.