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Posted at 01:19 AM ET, 09/21/2014

Against Florida State, Clemson’s ‘Clemsoning’ was the most ‘Clemsoning’ Clemson ever Clemsoned

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, a man with a front-row seat to an epic night of Clemsoning. (Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press)

Top-ranked Florida State, without Jameis Winston, rallied for an overtime win Saturday, 23-17, over No. 22 Clemson. The game is sure to spawn innumerable articles and blog posts about Winston, the performance of his backup, Sean Maguire, and the Seminoles in general.

This isn’t one of those blog posts. This post is about “Clemsoning.” Or, as it trended on Twitter on Saturday night, #Clemsoning.

See, there it is, to the left, just after “Winston” and a word from one of Twitter’s fine sponsors.

So what is “Clemsoning”? Well, it’s a term that’s made its way far enough into common parlance that it gets defined in Urban Dictionary. That Web site’s first definition reads thusly:

“The act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season.”

A helpful example of use within a phrase is then offered: “Oklahoma State’s overtime loss to an unranked Iowa State was a full-blown Clemsoning.”

The fact is, Clemson’s performance Saturday, in which it repeatedly declined opportunities to beat the No. 1 team in the country at their crib, was very much par for the course. It’s just what Clemson does, year after year. The team has an uncanny knack for putting together talented squads that inevitably become less than the sum of their parts.

The Web site Lost Lettermen cites, as an example of Clemsoning, the 2012 Orange Bowl, pitting Clemson against West Virginia. The Tigers had finally not done a lot of Clemsoning that season, winning the ACC for the first time in 20 years and reaching its first-ever BCS bowl game. So what did it do in that bowl game? Clemson got blown out, 70-33.

But we need not go back any further than Saturday to find immaculate examples of Clemsoning. In the third quarter, with the game tied at 10, the Tigers had a first-and-goal from the Seminoles 1-yard line. Here comes a touchdown, right? Wrong. Two extremely predictable running plays right up the middle went nowhere, but wait, there was a penalty on Florida State, giving Clemson another second-down play, mere inches from the goal line.

Then Clemsoning happened. The snap to quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was in a shotgun formation — raising the question, “Why are the coaches having you stand back in the shotgun when your team is on the goal line??!!” — sailed right past, and Watson could only sprint back and fall on the ball at the 24-yard line. Two plays and a missed field goal later, the Tigers had nothing to show for near-certain scoring position.

Suffice it to say that Twitter noticed.

And that was well before Clemson blew a stone-cold, no-doubt, mortal-lock chance to win the game near the end. The Tigers had a second-and-two at the Seminoles’ 18 with about a minute and a half left in the game. All they needed was a field goal to take a lead with very little time left, but there couldn’t be any harm in running the ball to try and get a shorter kick, right? Wrong. Fumble! So very much … well, you know what.

Oh, and that was before Clemson, with no reason to have any confidence in its kicker, went for it on fourth down in overtime, needing less than a yard. Sure enough, that got stuffed, and two players later, Florida State was celebrating.

At this point, it wasn’t enough to point out that Clemson had just Clemsoned in epic fashion. Now it was time to discuss other life experiences that could qualify as #Clemsoning.

And on it went. Congratulations, Clemson, not every college football team could add such a fun, new term to the lexicon.

By Des Bieler  |  01:19 AM ET, 09/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Clemson Tigers

Posted at 12:26 AM ET, 09/21/2014

Booing wasn’t the only thing raining down on Michigan

By the time play resumed following a rain delay in the Utah-Michigan game, the Big House had a very small crowd. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

For Michigan, the following phrase was never more true: When it rains, it pours.

A home game that had already been going very poorly for the Wolverines took a soggy turn in the fourth quarter, when the skies opened up and caused a rain delay. During that delay, called with 7:51 left in a game Michigan was losing to Utah, 26-10, the field flooded.

Eventually, the rain subsided, the field drained to an acceptable level, the game resumed and Utah finished off the Wolverines by the same 26-10 margin. At the time of the restart, the vast majority of seats at Michigan Stadium (capacity: 109,901) were empty, except for a throng of red-clad Utah fans who took advantage of the opportunity to move right behind their squad’s bench.

So, yeah, that couldn’t have been too much fun for the Wolverines. Nor was this moment earlier in the game:

That was Utah’s Kaelin Clay returning a punt 66 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, then striking a Heisman pose. You know, shades of Michigan’s own Desmond Howard. Respectful homage? Crass mockery? Either way, Michigan couldn’t have enjoyed that particular addition of insult to injury. But then again, when it rains …

By Des Bieler  |  12:26 AM ET, 09/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Michigan Wolverines

Posted at 12:15 AM ET, 09/21/2014

Did Lindsay Lohan really draft the 49ers defense with her top pick in fantasy?

If Lindsay Lohan really does play fantasy football, she made a very curious first-round draft pick. (Jonathan Short/Invision/Associated Press)

So Lindsay Lohan, who’s set to star in a play in London, posted a tweet Friday about how she was going over some of her lines. For some reason, that prompted a Twitter user named “Billy” to ask her this question: “who did you draft first this year in fantasy football?”

And, for some reason, Lohan responded on Saturday: “Niners.”

So many questions here. Does Lindsay Lohan actually play fantasy football? If so, does she play in a league where drafting the 49ers in the first round would make any kind of sense? Is there any point in using the phrase “any kind of sense” where Lohan is concerned?

Assuming Lohan actually is in a fantasy football league, actually is aware of that, and actually drafted the 49ers in the first round, she’s probably not getting good value on that pick so far, as ESPN has the Niners tied for sixth in fantasy points.

Unless, of course, Lohan’s league puts such a premium on defensive or special teams scoring that not only did it make sense for Lohan to take the 49ers in the first round, but everyone else took a defense, as well, and Lohan had, like, the 10th overall pick. In that case, she’d be doing fairly well.

I just tweeted at Lohan myself, asking who she took second. Stay tuned.

(H/T Next Impulse Sports)

By Des Bieler  |  12:15 AM ET, 09/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Lindsay Lohan, San Francisco 49ers

Posted at 09:47 PM ET, 09/20/2014

Cadet saves Texas A&M’s beloved dog from getting trampled

Reveille VIII almost got a painful wake-up call Saturday. (Scott Hlleran/Getty Images)

Reveille VIII, as her name implies, is the latest in a long line of dogs to bear that name and serve as the Texas A&M mascot. In fact, according to the school, the collie is “the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets being the only bearer of five silver diamonds.”

So it’s only proper that a cadet should do whatever it takes to protect a superior military officer. That very situation arose during the Aggies’ game Saturday, when defensive back Nick Harvey shoved SMU wide receiver Der’rikk Thompson out of bounds. Thompson’s momentum took him across the sideline and toward a wall, on a beeline to where Reveille VIII was lolling about.

That’s when the fearless member of Company E-2 sprung into heroic action:

Nice block, cadet! That could have gotten almost as ugly as the final score (58-6 in favor of A&M). As for Reveille VIII, she’s got to be thinking that retirement, scheduled for this spring, can’t come soon enough.

By Des Bieler  |  09:47 PM ET, 09/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Reveille VIII, Texas A&M Aggies

Posted at 08:09 PM ET, 09/20/2014

The comparison Will Muschamp is desperately trying, but failing, to avoid

Will Muschamp, right, was an assistant coach to Nick Saban at LSU and the Dolphins, but they find themselves in very different positions at Florida and Alabama, respectively. (Butch Dill/Associated Press)

For Florida, it was a 42-21 loss to Alabama on Saturday. For Gators Coach Will Muschamp, it was a missed opportunity to dig himself out of the Zook Zone.

Muschamp watched his unheralded squad march into Bryant-Denny Stadium, absorb an early haymaker, and go toe-to-toe with the heavily favored Crimson Tide for most of three quarters. However, games that don’t turn into wins are never going to sit well with Gators fans, and the fact that their squad could be fairly described as “unheralded” goes a long way toward explaining why Muschamp’s seat isn’t just hot, it’s positively Swamp-y.

The last thing a Florida coach wants is to be compared to the much-derided Ron Zook, but it’s impossible to ignore the similarities. Both Muschamp and Zook were defensive coaches tasked with taking over for brilliant offensive minds who had led Florida to national titles. In Zook’s case, that was Steve Spurrier; for Muschamp, it was Urban Meyer. Zook’s record after three seasons in Gainesville was 23-14 overall, 16-8 in the SEC; Muschamp’s was 22-16, and 13-11.

Of course, one difference is that Muschamp is being allowed to coach the Gators for a fourth season, whereas Zook didn’t even make it to the bowl game that ended his third. Another difference is that, while Zook’s teams were consistently blah (8-5, 8-5, 7-5), Muschamp has taken fans on an emotional Gator-coaster.

Muschamp went 7-6 in 2011, his first season in Gainesville, but was given a bit of a pass because the program had experienced similar struggles in Meyer’s final season. In 2012, Florida was back in business, posting an 11-2 record, including 7-1 in the SEC, and a top-10 ranking.

It all fell apart, however, in a disastrous 2013 that took quite the Gator Chomp out of fans’ goodwill. Muschamp presided over a 4-8 season, Florida’s first losing campaign since 1979, and it felt even worse than that. The team dropped its final seven games, a stretch that included the school’s first loss to Vanderbilt since 1988 (and the first at home since 1945), as well as its first-ever loss to an FCS team (Georgia Southern), which also occurred before a mortified home crowd.

After a season that ended without a bowl appearance for the first time since 1990, and featured Muschamp bemoaning his squad’s “woe is me” mentality, the embattled coach could have been fired, and few would have complained. However, there were some mitigating circumstances that likely caused Florida officials to give Muschamp another chance, primarily a devastating wave of injuries. The 2013 Gators not only lost quarterback Jeff Driskel early in the season, they also lost his backup, Tyler Murphy. In addition, the team’s best player, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, went down, as well as at least 10 other important cogs.

This season, Driskel is back, and Florida has looked much more potent offensively than at almost any point last year, but the program has a long way to go to recover its cachet. Last week, the Gators, at home, nearly lost to Kentucky for the first time in 28 games. This week’s matchup with Alabama — in which Florida gave up its most yards ever — was telling, not only because it ultimately showed how far apart the teams are, but because it illuminated the Gators’ drift into mediocrity.

When these teams met in 2008 and 2009, the only thing at stake was everything. In both cases, it was the SEC championship game, the teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, and the winner (Florida in 2008, Alabama in 2009) went on to take the national title.

Those Gators teams featured the incomparable star power of Tim Tebow. When he left, he seemed to take the school’s swagger with him. Florida, then led by John “You’re no Tebow” Brantley, played Alabama again in 2010 and 2011, and promptly got trounced both times.

But there’s no great shame in any team losing to the Crimson Tide, especially on the road. What must eat away at Gators fans is the fact that their team is now irrelevant, one of the SEC’s lesser lights.

And if Muschamp doesn’t turn that around soon, he’ll be remembered as a lot like Zook, but with an extra year of futility.

By Des Bieler  |  08:09 PM ET, 09/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Florida Gators, Will Muschamp


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