COVID-19 Creates A New Kind Of Rivalry Among College Football Fans

Since the current pandemic caused all of the sports world to come to a screeching halt, many Tiger fans have been looking and hoping for any news they could get on the upcoming season. With good reason too.

When word came out that Travis Etienne was returning for his senior season, the Clemson fan base was ecstatic. The season couldn’t come quickly enough as the Tigers were quickly anointed a favorite win another national title.

However, since March, COVID-19 has created nothing but uncertainty. Up to this point there have been countless ups and just as many downs regarding the possibilities of the 2020 season, but it still looks like there will be a season.

So often in today’s society it seems that many can’t accept any kind of positive news. It’s all doom and gloom, despite so much news to the contrary. This Tiger fan was raised to be a positive person. I grew up in the country. I am a lifelong Clemson fan that has always remained the eternal optimist.

As some of the older fans know, Clemson used to dominate the series with Virginia. Literally. Clemson won the first 29 games against the Wahoo’s. They didn’t lose to Virginia until 1990, a game that was played in Charlottesville.. That is the very definition of the word dominant.

The next season they came to Death Valley as the favorite, and I was fortunate enough to be in attendance. Virginia dominated the first half and led 17-7. The game wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated.

It was so bad that the person I rode up with decided to leave and head to the car before halftime. Meanwhile, I sat in my seat and continued to cheer the Tigers on.

Needless to say, Clemson made a comeback. They held the Cavaliers to only 3 points in the second half and scored 10 points in the final 3:22. With Clemson down to one timeout and down 20-17, Tigers safety Robert O’Neal forced a fumble.

Kenzil Jackson recovered for the Tigers at the Virginia 49, and eight plays later, Nelson Welch’s 40-yard field goal tied the game at twenty with 46 seconds remaining. Welch had missed earlier kicks of 27, 33, and 34 yards.

Even after Welch’s tying field goal, Virginia wasn’t done. They had a chance to win. They eventually drove to the Clemson 17-yard line with just seconds remaining. However, Wayne Simmons would get a hand on the winning field goal attempt to preserve the tie. When I got to the car afterwards and explained to the other guy what happened, he could not believe it.

For me personally, there are numerous stories just like this one when it comes to the Tigers and athletics. The way I have always approached any game that Clemson plays is simple. There is always a chance. Always. As long as they have enough time left on the clock or there are outs left in the game.

With that said, this is how I, the ultimate optimist, look at the upcoming season. Over the last month alone fans have heard about the large number of Clemson athletes that tested positive. The majority of those football players. Now there are NO current active cases and no one in isolation.

All signs point towards the season happening. Kirk Herbstreit continues to stand by his statement that he believes there will be some type of football this year. There are so many inside the sport that share that belief. Yet, so many of the casual fans still insist there will be no season.

The question becomes, are you the guy that leaves early on when you are down by ten? Or are you the one who sticks around to see how his Clemson football team will respond after getting smacked in the mouth early?

As of now, the season is scheduled to happen. Until there is official confirmation otherwise, why not approach it that way? I am pretty sure there’s enough pessimism in the world as is.

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