Orange Bowl and the Season Wrap Up

 

By now, you’ve all probably erased the 2012 BCS Orange Bowl from your memories. The 70-33 defeat at the hands of West Virginia was not only one of the worst defeats in Clemson history, but it was also one of the worst defeats in BCS history. West Virginia set the BCS bowl record with their 70-point game, along with a handful of individual BCS records. However, through all the scoring, penalties, turnovers and downright embarrassing gameplay, there were some positives to take away from this game.

 

Being in Miami for the game, I got to experience all the hype leading up to kickoff. All day my eyes were glued to SportsCenter. ESPN’s college football “experts” spent all morning nutting their pants over Chad Morris, Tajh Boyd, Dabo and Sammy. Watching former South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz spit and lisp his way through a Sammy Watkins sportsgasm was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life as a Clemson football fan. Along with a special piece on Dabo’s…um…unique dancing skills, and Clemson was dominating the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” all morning. This domination in coverage culminated with a clean sweep in pre-game picks by Lee Corso and the Gameday crew and a predicted “offensive shootout”. 

 

Once it was time to head to the game, ESPN had hyped up Clemson fans everywhere. But nothing could prepare me for the sight I saw when our bus pulled into the stadium. A sea of orange and purple flooded the parking lots, filled with speckles of hideous mustard yellow hoodies that every toothless, bearded WVU fan was wearing. Clemson fans were everywhere. You literally could not go more than five feet without seeing a Clemson fan, beer in hand, stumbling and belting out a “Go Tigers!” It was a beautiful thing. The color orange ruled the pre-game, along with the smell of BBQ and the sound of cadence counts. Immediately I realized that the time to pound brews and shout obscenities at WVU fans had come. Let’s do this.

 

On the hike up to my upper deck seats, I noticed a wave of familiar faces. Famous alumni along with current students passed me by, each smelling of alcohol and beaming with excitement and pride. The first quarter went just as expected: ending in a 17-14 Clemson lead involving a long Andre Ellington run and a Sammy Watkins reception both going for TDs. Then I blacked out for a little, and when I came to, we were on the losing end of a boring, disappointing 70-33 result. 

 

But despite the ugliness of the loss, Clemson fans everywhere should already be looking towards the future. Sammy will be here next year. Tajh will be back under center. Andre Ellington will return. We have the 5th overall recruiting class coming in. Chad Morris is ours forever (almost), and to the delight of anyone who watched the Orange bowl, according to rumors, Kevin Steele is most likely taking his talents somewhere (anywhere) else. The future is bright for this young Tiger team. 

 

So when we remember the 2012 Orange bowl, let’s not recall the 70-33 shlubbing (that’s definitely a word) that WVU handed us. No, let us instead remember the positives: the pregame, the first quarter, and the future (and the fact that we’re not Penn State). Because like Dabo said, we will be back, and we will be better. “Tweet that!”

 

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