Marc Daniels: Win Them All And Win Them Big Or Else...


Pittsburgh v Clemson

His team won by 26 but that was the point. It was only by 26. After all, the so-called experts said they should win by 46 and predicted something like 54-7. But they only won 47-21. 

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney was taken aback when a media question asked about the team's energy level to start the game. Swinney responded by saying:

"I just want to make sure I'm at the right press conference? We did win the game, I think. Am I in the right spot?"

And so goes life for the team and coach who is not only expected to win every game but do it in dominant fashion.

To be fair to Swinney, it was his quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, who said the energy was not where it needed to be at the start of the game. But the coach's point was you are not going to win every game by 50 or 60 points even when others think you should.

Meanwhile, south of that game, another coach was focused on his team and his offense got the ball back with 1:26 left in the first half. Already leading 31-14, UCF's Josh Heupel's offense had scored three straight touchdowns and forced three straight punts and already had 413 yards in 28:34 minutes of the first half. Yet, after calling for a run on first down that gained three yards, a fan shouted:

"Boo. Pass the ball for crying out loud."

Seven plays later, which included three more runs, UCF scored a fourth straight touchdown and totaled 480 yards of offense...IN THE FIRST HALF.

Whether it be the media or fans, it is getting harder and harder to please the masses. College football's system which demands perfection, has bled to a point that teams may no longer win. They must dominate.

Clemson fans expect nothing less than a national title game appearance. Some UCF fans believe the team should not lose any game that's not against a major P5 team in a major bowl game- and the Knights recently dropped games to Tulsa and Memphis- not Alabama or Ohio State.

Florida fans wanted defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sent packing after their loss to Texas A&M. Mississippi State fans question if Mike Leach can cut it in the SEC after dropping three straight and getting four touchdowns total in those three games after their season opening win over LSU.

One FSU fan noted on twitter after the Seminoles dropped a 48-16 game at Louisville, one week after upsetting North Carolina a week ago:

"Just don't think Norvell can handle a job like this. Not the right guy."

FSU is 2-4 and Mike Norvell is trying to fix a program that has a lot of broken parts right now.

There's more all over the place.

Michigan State's Mel Tucker lost his opening game, 38-27, to Rutgers. Tucker is being paid $5.5M a year and fans didn't expect a loss to a team most feel has been the worst in the Big Ten. Twitter struck again:

"Rutgers? How can you lose to Rutgers? An all-time low for a program that should contend for the league title every year."

Three weeks ago, Tennessee's Jeremy Pruitt was being praised for the return of the Vols to the upper tier of the SEC after a 2-0 start. Then came losses to Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama and one Knoxville columnist penned:

"It's clear Pruitt's plan has fizzled and a jump to the top tier of the conference is not happening any time soon."

It is not that fans should not be passionate about their team. And criticism is fair within reason. But we have reached a point where top teams should never lose. Top offenses should score every possession. Your team's rebuild should happen in one off-season, let alone a few games.

It is hard to find a fan base that can just enjoy the ride of a season where you might win some and lose some and have fun along the way. For example, Arkansas fans are having fun. Most thought the Razorbacks would love every game and new head coach, Sam Pittman, has a team that is 2-2 and could easily be 3-1 if not for a bad call against Auburn. And there are others whose fan bases enjoy the season and look forward to seeing their team compete week in and out.

But college football appears to be at a level that you are either winning them all in a dominating fashion or your fan base is thinking about who can replace their current coach with someone who can dominate...

Notes: Indiana at Rutgers, with both undefeated in late October, is something no one thought about 10 months ago...Notre Dame has allowed 49 points in five games. They get Clemson after this week's game with Georgia Tech...Florida's game with Missouri this week is a tricky one. The Tigers have won two straight and Florida hasn't played a game since October 10th. The Gators have not practiced in almost two weeks and simply expecting the team to return at mid-season speed is more challenging than people think. Would not be surprised if Florida gets off to a slow start in a game that could ruin their season...Nebraska media has tried to paint the Cornhuskers 52-17 loss at Ohio State as a game to build on. They point to the competitive first half and officiating calls that went against Scott Frost's team. Frost praised his team and pointed to the challenging opener against the loaded Buckeyes. Their next game became more winnable as Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz has apparently tested positive for Covid-19. As he awaits a second test to confirm the first, the Badgers are preparing to be without Mertz for the league mandated 21-day quarantine...UMass now has three games on their schedule. After dropping their opener to Georgia Southern 41-0, they added a game against ranked Marshall November 7th and a contest versus unbeaten Liberty November 27th. But remember, everyone is eligible for a bowl game this season regardless of your record. Of course, a bowl has to invite the Minutemen to play a game...

Final thought: Bees have knees. They store large build ups of pollen in hairy baskets on their knees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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