2010: The Question Mark
After winning the ACC Atlantic in 2009 and returning Heisman-contending quarterback Kyle Parker, Tiger fans began to think the program was a shoe-in for another run at a conference title.
That, however, did not turn out as they hoped and Clemson football finished the season a dismal 6-7.
The turning point of the 2010 season can be found down in Jordan-Hare Stadium against the Auburn Tigers–the eventual National Champions.
In the first two games, Parker had an average QB Rating of 204.95 and he was one of the key reasons Tiger fans felt like they could compete with Auburn–and they were right.
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Parker led Clemson football valiantly down on the plains and the Tigers put up a great fight. As a matter of fact, Clemson was leading 17-3 at halftime before a couple of lucky breaks fell Auburn’s way.
Kyle Parker took some shots and, by the end of the game, could barely move. I remember the camera panning to him on the sidelines as the game went to overtime and he just had his head laying on top of an offensive lineman’s shoulder. At that moment, in my opinion, Parker decided he wanted to take the “baseball rout” and he was never the same.
The Tigers ended up losing to Miami, North Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, and in-state rival South Carolina before playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against South Florida.
I attended this game.
This was the “low-of-lows” for Clemson football in the Dabo Swinney era. As I watched the Tigers get waxed by USF (an eventual score of 31-26, but trust me it was a lot worse than that), two Clemson fans in our section began to fight with each other and that, my friends, was a disappointment in and of itself.
Freshman Tajh Boyd provided a small spark to the end of the season as he valiantly led the team back against the Bulls, but it was not enough and Clemson football finished the season in utter defeat.
There had to be changes made and they needed to happen now.
Enter Chad Morris. Enter Sammy Watkins.
Next: 2011: ACC Champions