Clemson no longer unbeaten, but still not ‘old Clemson’


Well, there was the moment many of us were waiting for with the No. 6 Clemson Tigers. Sitting at 8-0 with quality wins over Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech — not to mention a come-from-behind win over Maryland — Clemson looked new and improved. They certainly didn’t look like the Tigers of old, who would fold like a lawn chair at the slightest bit of adversity, or strangely, success.

But there was something that seemed very Clemson-ish about today’s game against Georgia Tech. Like the Maryland game a couple weeks ago, this one had upset written all over it. The Yellow Jackets were coming off consecutive losses and had been struggling offensively; it was homecoming for GT; Clemson was coming off a huge “maybe they’re for real” win over North Carolina.

It was all set up so beautifully, like a southern style cookout.

And Georgia Tech took advantage, stunning Clemson 31-17.

The internet troll in me (pictured) wants to say this is Clemson being Clemson (reasons above), and I’ve joked about it plenty, but the truth of the matter is that it’s difficult to go undefeated in any conference at any level of college football. And in a system that punishes people for being imperfect — which they are by nature — it’s almost never going to end favorably for most teams.

So, was this a case of Clemson being Clemson? Ehhh….yeahhhhh sorta. But not entirely.

This is not the end for Clemson. Perhaps for their national championship aspirations, but not for their BCS ones. The Tigers still control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic, and who knows, keep winning sometimes strange things work out a team’s favor.

Losses happen. If Clemson wants to really avoid being Clemson, they won’t succumb to a mental breakdown with just three regular season games left.

That would be the new and improved Tigers we don’t know, but would come to appreciate.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah