It’s Wednesday. I think I’ve finally cooled off enough from that atrocious N.C. State vs. Clemson game on Saturday to pen a proper article outlining my grievances.
I’ll start off by mentioning the amount of penalties for each team: three penalties for 23 yards for Clemson, and six penalties for 69 yards for N.C. State. Now, in no way, do I believe every single call in the game was wrong. However, there were several calls that did not go the Pack’s way in key situations, penalty or otherwise. A glaring example was Jakobi Meyers’ catch in the third quarter. Having been initially ruled a completion and a first down, Ryan Finley and the N.C. State offense hurried to the line to get off the next play before the catch could be reviewed. The ball was snapped but the play was halted by the officials for a booth review. That’s when things got pretty bad, and when I ultimately lost my cool. In NCAA football, there must be conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the field. The call on the field was that Meyers made the completion and the replays were never conclusive enough to warrant an overturn of the call on the field. But it was. That led to a punt for State and no points on the board for what looked like a promising drive in the second half.
Then came quite possibly the most infuriating part of the game. The Pack was down 38-31 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Finley threw a pass that would have been enough for a fourth-down conversion but the play was called back due to a penalty for illegal motion. Finley threw an interception on the play after the penalty, ultimately sealing the Pack's fate. While the illegal motion ended up being the right call (although, very dumb) there was a clear defensive pass interference on Clemson a play of two before that was missed when it had been called on both sides previously. I say all this because I believe there has got to be more consistency with the officials, as well as more accountability. I understand that officials are human and will make mistakes. But they cannot interpret the rules one way on one drive and then interpret them a completely different way another. That's all I ask. If there was more consistency and more accountability, I most likely would not be writing this right now.
I left Carter-Finley Stadium pissed and vented my frustration in the car on the way home. When I finally got home from the madness, my frustration continued. N.C. State head coach, Dave Doeren, mentioned during his post-game press conference that he was told Clemson had a laptop on the sideline and he would like it to be investigated. According to USA Today, an NCAA rule states that laptops are not to be used on the sidelines "for coaching purposes." Clemson said it was the social media team and head coach, Dabo Swinney, added that no one from the football team used it. This "explanation" appeared to have satisfied Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and N.C. State officials. That's all well and good, but my thing is, if laptops are not allowed on the sideline during games for coaching purposes, then why are they allowed at all? Particularly just steps always from football coaching staffs? I'm not saying this had any affect on this game whatsoever. But, with recent news that the Boston Red Sox were found to have used Apple Watches to steal signs from the New York Yankees, I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before something like that situation happens in college football. I hope I'm wrong, though.
I'll never forget my paternal grandmother, who was a Duke fan, say she never liked Clemson. I've seen for myself over the years why I don't like them either - and never will. It's not because the team wins in football or whatnot. My grandmother said she never liked Clemson because of the coaching staffs, especially football and basketball. To be honest, I'm not fond of either as well. I also think it's completely unfair that Doeren has been chastised and portrayed as, for lack of a better term, a whiny baby after State's loss. Swinney complained about some pretty petty things that Wolfpack players and coaches apparently did and his comments, in my view, were treated with more respect than Doeren’s. Much like officiating, the consistency with media coverage and subsequent fan reaction has got to be better.
Needless to say, if Clemson ends up making it to the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks - which the Tigers can wrap up with a win against Florida State this weekend - not nary a thing will entice me to watch it. Especially after the way N.C. State, of which I'm a proud alumnus, was treated as a whole after this game.