Before we move on from the Syracuse Orange's 49-14 loss to the Clemson Tigers this weekend, couple notes swirling in my brain.
1. I have absolutely no problem with Clemson trying to score a touchdown right before the end of the first half, despite being up 35-7. The reason was right there in the third quarter, when Syracuse's defense briefly shut down the Clemson offense and the offense had multiple opportunities to score. Had they come through in some of those chances, all of a sudden the score would have been 35-21. At that point, there's no argument. Of course, SU didn't follow through and Clemson never needed the insurance.
But the point remains, there's no such thing as enough scoring in the first half. Anyone who's watched football for a couple years can tell you about a game in which someone blew a 20+ point lead. Crazier things have happened. And so, if the roles were reversed, I would have wanted Syracuse to shove it down their throat as well.
2. I also have absolutely no problem with Scott Shafer's reaction. For better or worse, this football team feeds off of Shafer and his intensity. I think you can draw a direct line from the way the team reacts to plays on the field as well as played at the second half to the way HCSS conducts himself. I won't say I was a big fan of every celebration, especially when down by 28 points, but I'll take overly-exicted over emotionless any day.
3. Look, fanbases are fanbases. For the most part, they're all the same. 90% of the fans are normal, rational people. The other 10% is a mixture of lunatics, naysayers and a-holes. There were a lot of cool Clemson fans who stopped by during and after the game. But...there was also this really weird undercurrent in a lot of Clemson fan rhetoric. A LOT of talk about "class" and Syracuse's lack thereof. A lot of butthurtedness about "taunts" and "smack" by Syracuse during the week. And a lot of pearl clutching over Scott Shafer's outburst during the game.
From what I can tell, before the game there was Jerome Smith's innocuous tweet about preferring his quarterback (which you would hope ANY player would say about his quarterback) and some other made-up stuff in an attempt to feed into what seems to be a "We Need To Feel Disrespected" state. How else do you explain why they were so bothered by Smith's perceived slight of Tajh Boyd? And then when Clemson beat us, it was #karma. Or something.
I realized Sunday as I was getting myself worked up about all of this that I suddenly had a very deep-seated desire to beat Clemson some time in the near future. Thinking about next year down in SoCa, you know they're going to play up Shafer's outburst and turn it into a whole thing and the whole cycle will continue again. With that, a rivalry, in some form, will begin to emerge. Unfortunately, it's more Syracuse-Miami rivalry right now than Syracuse-West Virginia rivalry, but there's officially an emotional reaction. That's a good sign. That means we can start to build the one thing most lacking about our new conference...rivals.
4. Riley Dixon, y'all.