Clemson is a great football team, Miami not so good.
This season celebrated the return of The U to the college football headlines, as former Georgia coach Mark Richt continues to reconstruct the Hurricanes’ program. But their one-sided loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game shows how far they have to go. The brawl in the stands between fans was closer.
The turnover chain and all the U followers touching their thumbs together made a nice story, but Miami turns out to be one of the biggest frauds of 2017, with their so-called dream season put in jeopardy almost weekly after narrow wins over average Florida State and Georgia Tech teams.
Heck, anyone who was at Kenan Stadium on October 28 saw how close the 3-9 Tar Heels came to beating Miami, and wins over Duke, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Virginia were hardly harbingers of an eventual No. 2 ranking in the college football playoff poll. Clemson’s total domination of the ‘Canes proves the ACC was pretty much the Big One and Mediocre 13 this season.
The Tigers of Dabo Swinney continue to be the real story. Despite a national championship team under Danny Ford in 1981 that was unranked before that season started, Clemson didn’t do much until Swinney was hired in 2008 as interim coach. Tommy Bowden hadn’t even won an ACC championship in his ten years in Death Valley, and now the Tigers are playing for the gold ring for the third year in a row, having won it last season.
So, Carolina fans, there is hope of getting to that level with more money, the facilities upgrade that is coming and better recruiting now that the great unpleasantness of the last seven years is over. Miami’s program isn’t at that level, and Richt knew it with his bland comments before the game and at halftime when it was 24-0. The ‘Canes roster wasn’t close to Clemson’s, managing a meek fourth-quarter field goal in the 38-3.
Since the ACC championship game moved to Charlotte, Carolina has given Clemson the biggest test, losing in 2015 by 45-37, and that outcome could have been different if the Tar Heels had completed a drive with the second half kickoff that ended with a turnover inside the Tigers’ 5-yard line. Clemson has since bolstered its roster with 4- and 5-star recruits so it now looks more like a professional, than college, football team.
Overrated, over-hyped Miami showed that Saturday night.