For all of the talk about the Big East not deserving an automatic BCS bid, if Clemson is the best the ACC has to offer, then maybe the ire directed at the Big East should be focused on the ACC. (The Big East and non-BCS conferences have actually played better in these big games than the ACC.)
For a bowl season that has seen several poor defensive efforts, Clemson topped them all with one of the most pathetic defensive efforts in a bowl game EVER. (Ever, as in the entire history of college bowl games.)
Clemson’s performance would not be excusable if they were playing on short rest in October, let alone to be playing in a BCS Bowl with A MONTH TO PREPARE. It is simply an embarrassment to Clemson’s coaching staff to have their team this ill-prepared to play. It is even more embarrassing to see a conference champion quit in the second quarter of a bowl game.
If anyone questions that Clemson quit, watch the number of defenders running at 3/4 speed when Geno Smith ran the ball in for a touchdown from seven yards out when the score was just 28-20. That was a clear signal to back West Virginia even if one had to give more than 3 to 1, especially with the Mountaineers set to receive the second half kickoff.
To be fair, maybe the defenders were exhausted, but if that was the case, Clemson would have been better off to have their second string defenders in the game than to have their starters trotting around the field.
While West Virginia deserves credit for coming well prepared and motivated to play, Clemson’s defensive effort certainly aided them. It appears like the more money some of these college coaches make, the worse the defenses play.
College football is not like the NFL where receivers can run clean after five yards. Defenses can molest receivers all over the field. It is simply inexcusable for so many receivers to be running so wide open when defenders can knock them off their routes and destroy their timing. Heck, even if you get beat in college football you can tackle the receiver 40 yards down field before the ball arrives and only be penalized fifteen yards!
The Clemson coaching staff should donate every penny they made in the past month “preparing” for this game to the World Wildlife Federation’s ‘Adopt a Tiger’ program at: http://www.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Tiger.aspx?gid=33 It is the least they can do for insulting the prowess of the last few thousand remaining tigers in the wild.
I hope this game puts to rest why Alabama and LSU are playing a rematch for the national title game, they can play defense. There are 105 teams that have given up more points per game than LSU and Alabama yield per game, COMBINED!
There are probably over 100 overpaid defensive coordinators that should be skipping their summer vacations and spending time earning their pay by watching film of LSU, Alabama and NFL teams to learn how to play defense. Alabama and LSU may have slightly faster players on their defenses, but they are not that much faster. It is just as much defensive coaching, desire and effort (and harassing receivers to not allow them to run clear) as it is athleticism.
Heck, if you can’t stop a team, drop 8 into coverage, beat up the wideouts, and make them work the ball up the field. You may yield yards, but you won’t be giving up 70 points!!! Watch how the pros play cover 2 on third and long. With bump and run defense, you should be able to keep everything in front of you and come up and make a tackle. (It is amazing how many teams have converted on third and long this bowl season!)
While I love college football, I am not the only one concerned about so many of the games turning into arena ball. While few people enjoy 3-0 games, people love the NFL because not only are points earned, first downs are earned. It makes the game exciting. Arena ball becomes monotonous after a while when teams can slip one tackler then run free for touchdown after touchdown.
This is also why Oklahoma State fans need to give it a rest that they should be playing in New Orleans next Monday. The Cowboys would be lucky to be 17 point dogs. If Stanford could walk up and down the field and put up 38 points on you, so could Alabama and LSU, only you would not be putting up a 3-handle on offense against those defenses. Teams that lose to Iowa State don’t deserve to be in the conversation anyhow.
I will say, a bad blowout is still better than no football at all, which is what we unfortunately have tomorrow. At least the next game between Arkansas and Kansas State will likely be a good, defensive fought, 45 to 35 game. (not exactly the 1966 Michigan State-Notre Dame game, but at least its football.)