It’s NC State hate week for Clemson football. It’s a top 10 showdown. And everyone is talking. This week in “Bless Your Heart” we get graced by dandy Dave Doeren. If you don’t know who that is, it’s Toby from HR (you know the bland guy that gets dunked on by Michael in The Office) and his confident Wolfpack.
Nothing says college football more than a bland, boring milk toast school, with a bland, boring milk toast coach, playing a bland, boring, milk toast style of play that have whined and complained their way to a top 10 ranking.
Oh hi, NC State.
Truth be told, even though many people view this as a rivalry, for the longest time I didn’t. NC State is a team generally on the schedule. Yeah, from time to time they might have a team that could sneak up on Clemson during the West, Bowden and early Swinney years, but NC State has long been a school that has not properly had its chance to really be viewed as the “new” Clemson of the conference.
And I don’t mean for success.
I mean, it’s time for NC State to fully embody what it’s on the cusp of – a massive, program-changing Top 10 win or accepting the natural progression of their program into the “Clemsoning” team.
Heck, the Pack have been “Clemsoning” before it was a thing. They haven’t won a conference title since 1979 and only have a handful of 10-win seasons. They had a few teams in the early 2000’s that had the talent to win a conference title but ultimately choked in the moment.
They had future NFL Hall of Famer Russell Wilson. In 2010, the Pack had a clear-cut shot, an easy lay-up, a 2-foot putt for the lead. All they had to do was beat a meager, floundering, Clemson team and their 2nd year coach who at the time looked like he had no clue what he was doing. Seems easy right?
That day the Pack out gained Clemson on offense, held the Tigers under 70 yards rushing, and won the turnover battle. But in the end, they STILL managed to lose 14-13.
After a Wolfpack win in 2011, the Tigers rattled off a big 62-48 win that ultimately led to then head coach Tom O’Brien’s firing in 2012. There just didn’t seem to be a ton of punch to the rivalry.
Enter Toby from HR……I mean, Dave Doeren.
The rivalry got juiced up in 2013, when Isaiah Battle punched a Wolfpack defensive player. In 2014, the Pack caught a dose of Deshaun Watson and Vic Beasley but still, the rivalry didn’t seem to be taking off.
All that changed in 2015.
Following a run in the 3rd Quarter in the to the Pack redzone and out into the NC State bench, Deshaun Watson was pushed by NC State running backs coach Des Kitchings (who is ironically now Tony Elliot’s OC at Virginia). There was a kerfuffle, but it subsided, and everyone moved on.
But then, again in 2016, after Clemson won in overtime, Dave Doeren was asked how pleased he was about what his team did in order to win the game. His response? He said he was pleased with their effort and how they “were able to knock their tailback out of the game”. That was in reference to Clemson losing Wayne Gallman earlier in the game to a concussion. Needless to say, a lot of people were not pleased.
But the real fireworks started in 2017. As someone who attended the game, and has gone to Carter Finley multiple times and enjoyed myself, I can say that game in November of 2017 was the most vitriolic, red faced, hate- filled stadium I’ve ever been in.
The game started with a pick from Kelly Bryant and ended with a Ryan Finley pick from K’von Wallace. As he ran down the sideline, another NC State coach took a swipe at the ball as he ran by. Bradley Chubb was doing his own version of mental warfare where he would take Kelly Bryant’s QB towel any time he would get pressured. In the post-game presser, Dave Doeren cried foul as he believed a mysterious laptop was on the Clemson sideline (it was Clemson’s creative media team) trying to steal plays.
But the Clemson presser after that was fun. We saw a feisty, testy Dabo that was unabashed in letting his opponent know that his complaints were hypocritical virtue signaling. It’s buried in the depths of YouTube but it’s worth looking up.
That brings us in to the 2020’s. After the ACC stupidly left these 2 teams off the schedule in 2020, the 2021 game provided NC State with its best option to finally get the proverbial monkey off their back.
Despite greatly out gaining the Tigers, winning the turnover battle, and owning the time of possession, it took double overtime for the best Wolfpack team of the decade to beat arguably the worst Clemson offense in 2 decades.
Toby gathered in front of the Dunder Mifflin employees, sorry I mean, Dave Doeren gathered in front of the media to declare that the Clemson curse was over. And then he celebrated with a Red Solo cup of what I presume was stale beer and a cigar someone probably grabbed from the local Spinx.
What happened to this amazing State team? They became the “new” Clemson and lost 2 winnable games to Miami and Wake Forest, losing the Atlantic. They didn’t even get a chance for a 10th win because their bowl game was cancelled because of some Covid cases from their opponent.
So we enter Saturday, and NC State finds themselves in a position that they seldom have: the trendy pick.
Several media talking heads are high on NC State and more than a handful of them have the Pack snapping the Clemson football36 game winning streak in Death Valley
Several media talking heads are high on NC State and more than just a handful of them not only have the Pack covering, but out right winning and snapping Clemson’s 36 game winning streak in Death Valley.
Despite the Wolfpack putting up wounded pedestrian numbers on offense (especially passing the ball), people seem to have leaned fully into the Wolfpack defense. Yet, while these same pundits seemingly ignore any progress from Clemson, they also ignore the susceptibility of this NC State defense. If you think I am crazy, go look at the rushing stats from last year’s UNC game; those vulnerabilities are still there.
But the willful ignorance of the pundits always tends to leave out one key factor: Never bet against Dabo in Death Valley. And definitely not in a revenge game.
Bless your heart, Toby.