I don't know why--it's certainly not because I expect us to win--but this team still manages to get to me. I walked back to the beer at halftime Saturday wanting to pull my hair out. I guess it's the basic nature of the way they break down. Botching fundamental things that have less to do with talent than simple football IQ. The receivers had all kinds of trouble getting open in the early going, and when they did, they dropped the ball. State's defense gave up another easy score to an open receiver in the back of the end zone in a 3rd-and-goal situation, something I feel like I've seen 50 times this year.
Setting the special teams aside for a second, State's defense was at its worst on Saturday, allowing a season-high 8.3 yards per play to the Tigers. Clemson needed a mere 55 snaps to pile up 454 total yards. The Pack's offense, meanwhile, was limited to its lowest per-play output since the South Carolina game. They didn't get the break from the referees that they deserved on that reviewed fumble, they didn't put themselves in advantageous positions, but none of it would've mattered anyway, so thorough was the down-to-down dismantling.
Now, about those special teams. I'm not sure a football team could possibly execute the keep away strategy worse than NC State did in the first half Saturday. And of course when they finally said fuck it and kicked the ball deep to Spiller, he didn't get much on the return. That was entirely preordained so as to maximize the post-game chaos and second guessing. Had there been no Wolfpack players on the field during that return, Spiller would have tripped and fell at the 19. That's just how it was gonna be.
"I can't think of any [positives], to tell you the truth."
Yeah, I got nothin' either, coach.
Not that the Little Caezar's Pizza Pizza bowl or whatever was much worth playing for in the first place, but now that the bowl question has been answered with a resounding no, it'll be interesting to see how the team comes out next week. I'm sure they'll want to be there even less than I will. Maybe they're still capable of a pleasant surprise, a what-could-have-been type performance. But in the event of the 63-10 type thrashing I fear is a distinct possibility, and in the event that I do not survive said thrashing, please tell my wife I said hello.