Clemson Football: Monday Armchair Perspective; Tale of Two Teams

Everything that can possibly be said about this 2021 season (2010 season, 2.0), has, ad nauseam.

Every Tiger fan, from all corners of the earth are collectively scratching their heads. The answers are few, the questions are many and seem to increase with each passing week. So, at this mid-point of the season, I thought I’d give my overall, fair and balanced perceptions of the this edition of the Clemson Tigers.

To quote the opening lines of the Charles Dickens classic, “The Tale of two Cities” : “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it …”

No assemblage of words could describe this program, this season better.

To be fair, the defense is quietly, unassumingly magnificent. Despite injuries, despite being the one working cog of this team, they just keep on allowing/enabling a very offensive offense to stumble, fumble and tumble, yet remain in every single game until the end. In its perfect form, a team is a collaboration of two distinct parts.

Unfortunately, one part is humming like a finely tuned engine, while the other is stuck somewhere between neutral and reverse. One has to ask, how long can one unit, the fine tuned engine, perform without the other unit unable to find “drive.”

This offense has been, well, offensive. The defense as been the defenders of this weird, funky season. The really frustratingly compassionate part, this offense has slipped past the point of merely being questioned to now being pitied.

No competitor wants pity, it’s not in a warrior’s DNA. No mistake here, they’re prideful but for whatever reason, that pride has yet to transfer itself into on the field success. Despite of the effort, it’s pitiful but they’re still loved.

If that sounds cruel and incendiary, that’s not the intent. Honesty hurts and the truth, for this offense is brutal. It’s gone past the point of just “waking up” and then, the magic will return. Just not this season, there is no magic.

Fans must accept this, like when Harry Potter lost his “cloak of invincibility,” so has this offense. The remedies thus far haven’t worked, the diagnosis is elusive and the treatment has now shifted from aggressive therapy to palliative therapy. Everyone has to just “make themselves comfortable, take the lumps, hunker down, survive and by dammed, still love these guys.

It’s said, “Success has a thousand Fathers and failure is an orphan.” However, there has never been, nor will they ever be, any Clemson Orphans. Because when the chips are down, at Clemson, the failure and all the associated pain changes nothing for the tens of thousands of “Fathers and Mothers.” This place is different, this place is special and the people are uniquely exceptional.

Sure, the schedule is only half complete. Sure, in theory anything can still happen, but why torture ourselves and each other with the “why’s and what-if.” It’s too painful and frustrating but the most prudent course is to complete the task ahead and accept what the fates hold for this season as gracefully and as dignified as possible. This is not only the task of this offense, this team but of all Tigers everywhere.

“it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it …”

The light may seem distant but most know it’s there, the darkness is consuming but all know with certainty, it will pass. The Tigers are in a perfectly, imperfect storm where the best course for this team is to batten down that hatches, navigate, learn, heal, believe and resolve they will be back, next year.

My coffee is getting cold and the bacon is smelling good so I’ll end it here but one last pearl of hopeful wisdom from this Armchair, “it is better to live 50 years as a Tiger, than a 100 years as a chicken…” And that’s a great, great thing. Have a great week.

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