Today is the day of the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. I can’t say I’m too excited — I’m not too excited about bowl season this year in general, and I’m about as excited about this particular game as Jamie Cumbie.
My primary fear before before this game was that the team would have already given up and/or lost focus well before the opening kickoff. The only bowl game I’ve cared enough to watch this season was the Oregon State-BYU game in which the Beavers had clearly given up on their season after missing their chance at the Rose Bowl in their last regular season game. The pre-game press for Clemson has been about how the team is responding to avoid such a let down performance. Dabo, in some potentially unfortunate foreshadowing, had this to say a couple days before Christmas:
Swinney recalled years when players were late or missed practice and meetings.
“They’ve been where they’re supposed to be,” he said. “And we haven’t any guys getting into trouble. That’s usually a sign of a pretty focused team.”
Of course that was before the four players showed up late to the hotel and earned themselves spots on the bench for the game.
I’ll certainly be pleasantly surprised if Clemson wins — and the ACC would love any win over an SEC (or, at this point, ANY) opponent. However, a loss will mark a season that is as defined by success as it is defined by failure, that will not spare Dabo negative comparisons to his predecessor, that will raise questions about how such a supposedly inspirational leader can end on a three-game losing streak, and that will leave little optimism for next year’s talent-depleted team.