PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE
By Leo Haggerty
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY
Ok, let’s deal with the facts. The Clemson contest with Florida State at Tallahassee last Saturday with a noon kickoff was canceled. That’s not a surprise as there were almost 20 others that could not be played due to positive Covid tests.
Now, the way it was postponed is what I have to question. As the teams were both having a pre-game meal, it is alleged that the medical professional for both institutions couldn’t come to an agreement after one (yes, you read that right) Tiger player was ruled out after a Friday test that came back positive.
As Jack Webb as Joe Friday on Dragnet said, “Just the facts” and that what I have given you. Now, I’m going to throw out my thoughts as to what actually went down.
Let’s look at this from the Seminoles point of view. Yes, Florida State was playing at home but that’s the only positive.
FSU is 2-6 and 1-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Garnet & Gold are on a three-game losing streak having been blown out on the road by Louisville (48-16) and North Carolina State (38-22) that sandwiched a home crushing by Pitt (41-17).
To add insult to injury, the Seminoles entered the tilt as a 35-point underdog. That may have even been low especially when the opponent was Clemson. The Orange & Purple are coming off a bye week and Heisman Trophy front runner (yeah, I’m on that bus already) Trevor Lawrence is chomping at the bit after having to sit out the last two contests with the coronavirus.
Now, let’s look at this from the Tigers’ standpoint. CU is coming off a double overtime loss to Notre Dame in South Bend playing with a backup QB D.J. Uiagelelei who played extremely well. That defeat was followed with a bye week that allowed Lawrence some practice reps and the rest of the Tigers to get healthy.
I believe that FSU was looking for any excuse to not play this football game because Florida State was facing a buzz saw. Clemson was motivated and wanted to prove to everyone that the outcome against the Irish would have been different if #16 was the signal-caller.
The Seminoles got the opportunity to cancel and jumped at it. The FSU coaching staff knew the game would have to be rescheduled to December 12th and felt they would have a better chance of being competitive at that later date.
I also believe this will backfire for the Seminoles. All this did was, as Admiral Yamamoto said after he was informed that the Pearl Harbor attack was a sneak attack, “We have awoken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.”
Don’t be surprised if Clemson HC Dabo Swinney tries to hang a C-note on Florida State and, frankly, it’s what I would do. This is a distinct possibility especially with the propensity of the Garnet & Gold of “folding the teepee” when they get behind.
The big question that someone needs to ask is why didn’t the ACC step in and mandate that the game be played. That makes you wonder who’s running the show, right?
No matter what, this is “Must See TV” whenever it’s played. I know I’ll be watching. How about you?