The NCAA football season started with Clemson at #9 and UGA at #1. As a Clemson fan, I’d like to say that UGA was extremely over ranked. As the season has progressed, it’s become very clear to me what the difference between the two is. First, let’s look at the similarities.
Running backs/Tailbacks/Flankers/Receivers. Georiga has Knowshon Moreno, Mohamed Massaquoi, and AJ Green. Clemson has James Davis, CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford. Knowshon Moreno is without a doubt a valid Heisman candidate. Davis & Spiller (i.e., Thunder and Lightning) in combo are better than anyone else in the NCAA.
Stadiums/Fans: Sanford Stadium holds 92,746 fans; Death Valley holds 80,301 fans. These are both “official” stats. We all know that more than that have been in both stadiums. Clemson’s record crowd was in 1999 against Florida State with 86,092. UGA doesn’t list a record crowd; just that it is filled to capacity every game. Death Valley boasts the loudest crowd in the NCAA. We could go on and on.
Here is what sets the two apart at this moment in time in my mind. Their coaches. Tommy Bowden does not have the respect of his team nor can he motivate them at all. At halftime during the Alabama game, Coach Bowden, in answer to the question “What can the team do in the 2nd half to get the momentum going?” his answer was “Take the pressure off of me!” Maybe said in jest, but I believe to be a true statement of what’s most important to him. After the Citadel game, which Clemson won 45-17, Bowden said Cullen Harper, his star quarterback who completed 14 of 18 passes in the game, needed to play better. Again, deflecting the pressure off of himself to his team. On the other hand, Mark Richt can evidently motivate a team beyond compare. If I have no other comparison, look at Saturday night’s game against Alabama. At halftime, UGA was down 31-0 (of course, I was ecstatic), but at the end of the game, although they lost, they had come back and only lost 41-30. Now, I haven’t scoured the Internet looking for bad things that Coach Richt has said…but they aren’t obviously apparent either.
To make a long story short, IPTAY should never have renewed Bowden’s contract last year. Now they need to make it right, buy him out and find a coach worthy of coaching the team that Clemson has. Not the team they COULD have; they team they DO have.