The frustration of another loss to an opponent believed to be inferior has sapped virtually all the patience from even the most Job-like of Clemson fans.
They don't want to hear that:
- The Tigers still hold much of their own destiny in their own hands, and that a win over Wake Forest on Oct. 2 gets them back on track;
- The players were their own worst enemy on Saturday, and that the major mistakes are correctable;
- Tommy Bowden has shown in past seasons that, for some odd reason, he and his teams have a knack of reaching great heights from the ashes of a crushing loss (of course, in fairness the reverse has been true as well. See Miami and Duke in 2004);
- Georgia proved Clemson isn't the only team which can be embarrassed by Alabama (yes, I know the Bulldogs rallied in the second half and certainly showed more moxie than the Tigers. But still, down 31-0 at halftime at home on national television is pretty embarrassing. Especially if you were the preseason consensus No. 1 team in the country);
- The sun did, indeed, come up Sunday morning;
- In a world in which we remain at war on two fronts, gas purchases could soon require collateral, and our nation's economy was closer to complete collapse late last week than perhaps any time since the Great Depression, the outcome of a football game doesn't warrant much lost sleep;
All of the above is accurate. But to many, none of it matters.
There is no sense of perspective in the fish bowl-existence of a college football fan, be it in Clemson or Clinton. Coming up for air simply isn't an option.
To them, the undeniable truths center only around underachieving teams and an abundance of money spent on everything from coaches' salaries, to tickets and parking, to facilities. The value of a dollar. The return on an investment.
The bottom line.
The recruiting. The grades. Player behavior. Bowl eligibility streak...It's all insignificant to them. All that matters, when you get down to it, is the line from Ricky Bobby:
If you ain't first, you're last.
And that after three years of being one play away, this team is one game away from an unwanted change of course. Instead of the Road to Tampa, it will be faced with trying to stay out of Charlotte or San Francisco.
No, there is no perspective for many of the faithful today. Only outrage, confusion and bewilderment.
And honestly, how could one expect anything else?
Because if you've been a Clemson fan for the last nine-plus seasons, you've seen more ups and downs than a drill sergeant at boot camp.
And that's the true test of being a fan. Or anything else for that matter.
Are you willing to stay with your program, warts and all, through adversity? Even if it's the same adversity you've faced time and again over the years?
Well? Are you?
Monday Morning QB
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