It was one of the stranger columns I can remember reading in recent memory. I like Bart Wright's work for that reason.
Wright's transition during the course of the piece may be indicative of the befuddled and confused afterthoughts of those who proclaim themselves unbiased observers - what they all must be experiencing this morning.
I myself however, like so many of you, am biased. We do not like Clemson.
The players and coaches at Clemson seem to be simply going through the motions these days. Win enough games against a blah ACC schedule. Go to a lesser bowl. Lose big. Yada yada yada. Same old same old. But what baffles me this morning is the question that I keep asking myself ... how did we lose to that pathetic Clemson football team? They are the same team they were all year. A team with no focus, no leadership, no offensive line and a very poor coaching staff. Yet we lost to them ... again?
A Florida friend of mine in the business and I were talking yesterday and he laughed at our ineptitude when it comes to winning against Clemson. Brian told me, "It's sort of like us against FSU. Sometimes, even when we have the far better team, we still lose to them."
That was certainly the case this year. And even the superior one himself, Steve Spurrier, never beat FSU in Tallahassee. Or maybe he did once in 1996? But he lost to them in Gainesville a couple of times - in The Swamp no less!
Of course I had to remind Brian that his malady and that of his fellow Gator fans is a fairly recent phenomenon, whereas ours seems to be in the water that we drink in the central part of the state.
I take no great pleasure in Clemson's loss other than the fact that I just enjoy seeing them suffer from time to time. They feel the same about us. But I keep asking myself, how did we lose to that Clemson football team that we saw last night? How did we lose to them two years ago - in 2000? I know I know ... the "push off." But both years we were the better football team. Historically the better football team wins our games. We should, by all rights, have a three game winning streak over them right now in my humble opinion.
Our fans were quick to credit Whitehurst this past year. I'm not sold on Whitehurst other than to say he is a tough kid with a lot of heart. That may be saying something in and of itself. And he has a decent arm. Maybe he is better than I am giving him credit for, or perhaps it's just that heralded group of receivers that are so overrated making him look good against teams like us? I do not know. I do not understand. It is beyond me but I am fairly sure it is something mental that only extreme disdain is going to cure.
All I know is that they beat us this past season and that for someone like me, the beating Texas Tech put on Clemson last night, it almost makes me feel like Texas Tech beat us as well for some reason? It's like the antithesis of a contact-buzz. I feel worse this morning for losing to them this season than I did the day after we lost to them, 24 November. It's like I am hanging out with the wrong crowd or something? You know ... having them on our schedule and letting them drag us down through their failures, into the stink of their poop pits. They slimed us with their putrid goo by first beating us ... and then losing like they did last night on national TV. Does that make sense?
I don't want to feel like this anymore. I want our head coach to dislike them as much as I do. I want our players to despise them on a personal level. I want us to continue to sign prospects that want to go out and do to Clemson what NC State did to Clemson earlier in the year and what Texas Tech did to Clemson last night in Orlando. I want us to do it to them in front of huge audiences thirsting for blood with their collective thumbs pointing down demanding the kill. That would be me. I would be one of those down-thumbers.
Most of all I want Clemson's fans and their program to suffer on their own from this point forward. What I never want to happen again is for another team to sling Clemson's slime on me by proxy ... not ever again if at all possible.