Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clemson keeps playing with fire

Interesting statistic: Clemson's football team has recovered from a deficit of 14 or more points to win a game nine times in the program's history.

Three of those escapes -- versus Auburn, Maryland and now Wake Forest -- occurred this season.

You can look at this two ways: Either, as the sign in the football complex reads, the Tigers "Never, ever, ever, ever give up.'' Or you might wonder if the Tigers developed a false sense of security about how long they can afford to let opponents hang around.

This is a team with a sometimes-spectacular offense and an often-unreliable defense. They have managed to reach 30 or more points in eight of their 10 games so far.

If I were a Clemson fan contemplating a likely rematch with Virginia Tech in the Dec. 3 ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, here's what would concern me: In the 8-0 start, the Tigers were strikingly efficient in avoiding turnovers and penalties. They had roughly half as many turnovers and penalties as their collective opponent.

That's changed rather starkly of late. They had more turnovers and penalties than Georgia Tech in their one loss. Then the coaches spent the bye week harping on precision and ball-security.

So what happens? They have three turnovers against Wake Forest (to none for the Deacons) and six penalties (to one for the Deacons).

The Tigers really can't afford to put more pressure on the defense by stalling out drives with penalties or by flat-out giving away possessions. You don't want to test that against an always-aggressive Virginia Tech defense with a BCS bowl bid at stake.

-- Rick Bonnell


Anonymous said...

I've seen this movie a dozen times.

Bet the farm on these annual occurences: VaTech winning the ACC and Clemson blowing it.

Anonymous said...

Well they sure won't get down 14 this week. NC State will be lucky to even score 14 points. Well maybe after the Tigers rest their starters when the score is 49-0.

Anonymous said...

Don't think I'd bet on that. Gotta remember, this team had 45 hung on them by Maryland. Finally had to outlast them at the end, but how does anyone give up 45 to Maryland?

Anonymous said...

The best reason for the NBA strike to be over is Bonnell will have to retiurn to the Bobcats. Maryland at the time was still in the race and Maryland played up to Clemson and Clemson played down to Maryland. VT is overrated every season and fades in the big games.