ATLANTA -- I'm not sure whether Julio Jones and B.J. Scott actually drive Escalades. But if they do they should let John Parker Wilson borrow at least one of them for the week because, I tell you, that boy deserves it after leading Alabama to a 34-10 season-opening blowout of ninth-ranked Clemson.
And how bad is the ACC?
That was the question popping around late Saturday night.
|In his much-anticipated debut, Julio Jones hauls in four passes and scores a TD. (AP)|
Meanwhile, East Carolina spent Saturday beating Virginia Tech and Southern California humiliated Virginia just two days after South Carolina held North Carolina State scoreless.
That's no way to start the year, ACC.
But hey, basketball season is right around the corner!
Anyway, back to Alabama and those Escalades.
You heard about the Escalades, right?
Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning created a stir leading up to kickoff when he said he saw Jones and Scott -- two stars of the Crimson Tide's heralded recruiting class -- get into their "Escalades" back in the spring. The implication, of course, was that somebody had given Jones and Scott extra benefits in violation of the NCAA rulebook, and this being Alabama, well, any such story seems plausible when told with a straight face, given the Crimson Tide's history of rogue boosters and cash payments.
Naturally, Koenning later said he was only kidding.
But Alabama still took offense.
And then it went on the offensive.
And scored (3-0 after one possession).
And scored (6-0 after two possessions).
And scored (13-0 after three possessions).
And scored again (20-3 after four possessions).
"We got whipped about every way you can get whipped," Bowden said. "We haven't been physically beaten that bad in three years."
Alabama was so dominant -- Wilson completed 22-of-30 passes for 180 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, by the way -- that even though it does travel with a punter it didn't need him until the second half, and it barely needed him then. The punter's name is P.J. Fitzgerald, case you didn't know. Poor guy played about as much as P.J. O'Rourke. That was good for Alabama, bad for Clemson. But how were things not supposed to go badly for Clemson? The Tigers were playing a school from Alabama in Atlanta in a game sponsored by Chick-fil-A, and if that's not a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.
The Tigers played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta to wrap last season.
That produced a loss to Auburn.
Then they played in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff in Atlanta to start this season.
That produced a loss to Alabama.
So whether it's Chick-fil-A (Eat More Beef!) or the city of Atlanta (four straight losses here) or just opponents from the state of Alabama, it's pretty clear some part of this combination is giving Clemson huge problems. My advice: Get away from Chick-fil-A, get back home to Death Valley and stop messing around with powers from Sweet Home Alabama. Leave Auburn and Alabama alone. That's my suggestion, Clemson. Try UAB or Troy instead. See how that goes and then check back with me.
And wake up James Davis and C.J. Spiller while you're at it.
The lauded running tandem that averaged more than five yards per carry last season was shut down all game, save Spiller's kickoff return for a touchdown that opened the second half, cut the Alabama lead to 23-10 and gave Clemson some hope, if only momentarily. Davis finished with 13 yards on six carries while Spiller got seven yards on two carries.
That's not Thunder and Lightning, my friends.
That's Awful and Terrible.
"You've got to give those guys credit," said, Spiller (aka "Lightning"). "They came in here fired up."
And now Clemson's fans must be fed up.
This is supposed to be Bowden's best team since taking over in 1999, and I suppose it still could be. But with zero net rushing yards, zero offensive touchdowns and a 1-of-9 success rate on third-down conversions in the opener, it sure as hell didn't look like it. The defense allowed 419 yards and the offense only got 188. So it seems like it's gonna be a tough task for Bowden to win 10 games for the first time at Clemson in what is now his 10th season at the school.
As it stands, he's still 10 wins away.