And a talked-up quarterback failed to deliver.
And the kicker missed a boatload of field goals.
Welcome to 2007 Clemson football...or is it 2006, or 2005, or maybe even 2004?
Something tells me I've seen this before.
Here's the quick recap:
Inconsistent as can be early on. After a 28-point loss at Wake Forest, fans call for Tommy Bowden to be fired. The next week, Bobby Bowden lets his son beat him to save his job.
Two wins over bad opposition and an upset win over Tennessee leave Clemson fans with very high hopes for 2004.
Clemson starts 1-4 before winning five of the final six games, giving fans very high hopes for 2005. Team spares fanbase a bowl game defeat by brawling with South Carolina and turning down a bowl bid.
Clemson wins first game with Jad Dean kicking six FGs. Fans start to a build statue of Dean outside stadium. Team quickly dashes expectations, losing four games early on. Four straight wins to end the season, including the standard Bobby tank job.
Fans glad to see Charlie Whitehurst finally go, as no quarterback could perform worse. After winning streak, Clemson fans have very high hopes for 2006.
Clemson starts 7-1. Fans start building a statue of Will Proctor outside stadium. Fans buy tickets to ACC Championship game in Jacksonville. Clemson loses three of their last four regular-season games.
Fans say they never liked Will Proctor anyway, and are glad to see him go, as no quarterback could perform worse.
Fans also happy to see Jad Dean go, as he misses kicks, has kicks blocked, and gets no length on his kickoffs.
I buy tickets to ACC Championship game from Clemson fan (at a nice low price). Clemson goes on to lose their bowl game.
Clemson beats Florida State at home (I know, big surprise), beats up on Sun Belt team, a I-AA team, and one of the three worst teams in the ACC. Clemson fans start building statue of Cullen Harper outside stadium.
Clemson finally faces a defense with a real pulse and, "shockingly," cannot score. Harper looks very ordinary after being talked up as a potential Heisman candidate by fans.
In three weeks, Clemson fans will argue they never liked him in the first place.
Fans pine for Jad Dean after watching soccer convert Mark Buckholz miss several FGs.
Team will inevitably finish 8-5 with fans demanding Harper be replaced, as no quarterback could perform worse.
The only thing that Clemson ever shows is remarkable inconsistency. The only thing that's consistent about Clemson football is that the fans believe their team to be much better than it actually is.
Yes, Clemson has posted some nice wins over the years—but those wins don't negate the bad losses. And the Tigers always have some pretty good players, but few pan out the way fans would like them to.
Let's face it: Clemson is a middle-of-the-pack college football team. They might get lucky one year and win a conference title, but probably not—they're just too streaky.
It's sad, in a way, to see a team waste such an amazing home-field advantage, season after season. It's also sad that the team has wasted the best RB tandem they'll have for some time with a series of poor quarterbacks.
Maybe Clemson can turn it around in 2007, but history tells me otherwise.
From the looks of it, we'll have to deal with another round of Clemson fans lamenting their team's latest losing streak.