Clemson was in control. Leading Auburn 17-0 just before the half, the Tigers looked like the team we had been waiting on ever since their placement near the top of the polls prior to 2009. But the '09 squad ended up being smashed in their opener by the eventual national champs, and never recovered. After Kyle Parker received a brutal helmet-to-the-back in the 3rd quarter vs. the eventual national champs, neither did he.
The Tigers went on to drop three straight and seven of their final 11 contests. In essence, the Parker injury and the ensuing fallout served as a microcosm of Clemson football since, well, as long as I can remember. Which is another way of saying that Clemson hasn't won much of anything since the late 80's, despite a superb fan base, a constant influx of talented players and an SEC-like atmosphere in Death Valley.
But, with an ever-explosive offense and without the burden of such high expectations, 2011 sets up as what could be a brand new chapter in Clemson football. One that is written about exceeding expectations, rather than failing to meet expectations.