1. Clemson is NOT going to be as good as you (or anyone else for that matter) thinks they are going to be.
2. Any school that had a successful, ambitious head coach leave the program only to have a loyal, devoted assistant take the reigns is doomed for failure.
Constant #1 explained:
Clemson came into the opening weekend ranked #9 in the nation. They were set to battle, yes, a ranked opponent, but a youthful #24 Alabama. I wish I could say that it was a good game, a well fought contest, a game that went down to the fourth quarter with the team who just "wanted it more" rising to the top and claiming victory. But that is not what happened.
Clemson was completely and totally man-handled. They were pushed around from the first play and, frankly, embarrassed in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. The 34-10 Alabama beat down proved once again that Clemson is not the team that they think they are.
Now, I'm not saying that Clemson won't win a bunch of their games and eventually capture an ACC title but are they a top-ten team? Hardly. The part that makes ESPN dub this massacre a "shocker" is that no one expected the Tigers to collapse this early. Many probably felt they would win their seven games and then slip up when playing back-to-back games at Boston College and at Florida State. Instead they trip over their own feet early on and leave, of all teams, Georgia Tech looking like the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Constant #2 explained:
One of the top programs in the country over the past few years has been the West Virginia Mountaineers. They have ended the last three years, respectively, ranked 5, 10 and 6. Rich Rodriguez lead them to a point where they were in the National Championship conversation each year and put them on the map with a marquee win over the, then SEC Champ, Georgia Bulldogs in the 2006 Sugar Bowl. He pushed them into the national spotlight and made them a force to be reckoned with - despite playing in the Big East.
Then Michigan came calling. The glitz and glamour of a big-time, storied program lured Rodriguez away from what he had built. That's going to happen though. In college football, where you find success, you'll also often find poachers.
Enter Bill Stewart. Named the interim head coach prior to the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, Stewart had served, loyally, under Rodriguez as Quarterbacks Coach. He had also accumulated a lengthy resume of other schools and positions where he had served. Yet, never as head coach.
After a meaningless win over Villanova in week one, Stewart found himself traveling down to meet with Skip Holtz's East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium...
...How many of you have EVER asked yourself what East Carolina's stadium was called?...
...and the giant-killing Pirates took care of business, 24-3. East Carolina not only kept the Mountaineers from getting into the endzone but also held them to 251 yards of TOTAL offense.
I'm not going to say that Stewart has lost control of the program but they look bad...really bad. Not to mention that when you look at their schedule you begin to realize that UWV might be a 4-5 loss team. The bad thing is that there may not be anythign that Stewart can do about it. People just aren't going to by into what he's selling adn that will be most noticeable in his recruiting over the next year or so.
Florida State, Penn State...heed this warning. It's right around the corner.