Other coaches had good seasons. Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden had good recruiting classes.
He would bring in dazzling talent, and unleash it against somebody terrible, and pound them, and fans would allow themselves to get excited. The Tigers were going to be good. This was going to be their season. I’m not talking about 2008. I’m talking about every season.
And then came the big game they had to win. And they failed. As a result, they never moved past pretty good, and they always ended their season in National Invitational Tournament bowls such as the Gator and Music City and Peach.
The Tigers opened this season ranked ninth nationally but instead of waiting to lose the big game, they opened the season by getting pounded by Alabama. The mistakes they made throughout Bowden’s 10 years at Clemson have been repeated. Clemson fired him Monday.
Bowden was 3-3 this season and 72-45 overall. That would be sufficient at most ACC schools, including North Carolina and N.C. State. But Clemson is a school at which football counts. The pressure is greater and the expectations higher and the fans care more, and they show it every Saturday.
Bowden never fit.
None of the coaches that have followed the legendary Danny Ford have fit. Each has been measured against Ford’s standard, and each has failed.
It's a high standard. Not only did Ford win, he won the Clemson way. He wasn’t fancy or pretty. His offensive line overpowered the other guy’s defensive line and his defensive line overpowered the other guy’s offensive line.
Ford was and is grizzled and tough and country and funny, and no coach meshed with his school’s base as well as he did.
Wonder if he has a few seasons left in him.