Heading into the season, my goals for the Canes were typical. Beat FSU. Win 9 games. Win 10 games. Win the Coastal. That’s it. I am watching the ACC Title Game completely satisfied.
Others around the U verse spoke nothing but negatives after our loss to Pitt. Rightfully so. Malik Rosier reminded us all of the Brock Berlin days. Casual friends around the country texted me and said Miami’s loss was the worst loss of the season amongst top ten teams.
Yes, it was an ugly defeat, but there were many other top ten losses that were as ugly, if not uglier. Here are some.
Clemson losing to Syracuse 27 to 24.
Georgia losing to Auburn 40 to 17.
Miami beating Notre Dame 41 to 8.
Ohio State getting smacked by Iowa 55 to 24.
All bad losses. All extremely disappointing showings. All equally terrible.
But for the most terrible. That’s for a team currently ranked 13th, Washington State.
WS were ranked 8th in the country and undefeated. They visited Cal Berkeley, who finished 2017 with a losing record. WS lost that game 37 to 3. If WS didn’t lose a couple weeks later to Arizona, we’d be talking about WS as the lone PAC 12 rep in the College Football Playoff heading into their rivalry game against Washington. (yes, WS were steamrolled after I finished writing this article).
So one loss shouldn’t be an indictment of an entire college football season. Not when one loss puts a team in the top 5 percent in terms of wins and defeats in 2017. One mishap is pretty impressive.
Another note is that finishing undefeated in a season, especially in the playoff era, is incredibly difficult. Bobby Bowden coached for over 40 years. He had one undefeated season.
In the last 6 seasons, FSU and Ohio State once each are the only teams to finish with an undefeated record. Factoring 119 division one football teams on a 12 game schedule, give or take, and that’s a 0.0002 percent success rate if success is based on a perfect season.
Looking ahead to the Clemson game, I like our chances, depending. We played Pitt perfectly. I liked the scheme. I loved the defensive intensity. I liked the offensive play calling.
If Malik made a few of those throws, we would have won. The onus is on Malik to make plays. The run game opens up if our QB is throwing dimes. The offense can’t function when its QB completes less than 50% of his passes.
My big takeaway from Pitt is that our season ultimately hinges on one person: Mailk Rosier. If he plays a strong game next Sat, we’ll win. Somehow I think Malik will bring tremendous intensity to the Clemson showdown.
Win and we play for the title. Lose and we get to play for an Orange Bowl. Who could have predicted either?