The Clemson football team got just what it needed to get back on track Saturday afternoon: a team that wanted no part of the Tigers.
With questions surrounding Clemson after two lackluster performances in wins over Auburn and Troy in the first two weeks of the season, welcoming in a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team proved just what the doctor ordered.
Especially when you consider that South Carolina State apparently was simply cashing in.
The Bulldogs took the money and ran, getting out of town – with their $300,000 payout – as soon (literally) as they could.
With Clemson beating S.C. State 45-0 at halftime Saturday, the coaches agreed to shorten the second-half quarters from 15 minutes to 12, an action allowed per NCAA rules if both coaches agree.
The Tigers wound up winning 59-0 in a truncated game.
With that, I raise a few questions.
Why didn’t the Bulldogs just forfeit before the game started? Why was the game even scheduled? (I know. This is just how it works.)
After all, it doesn’t appear S.C. State coach Buddy Pough had any faith his team would put up a fight.
Quoted in a pregame report from The (Columbia) State, Pough said: “We want them to just kind of come out and just kind of go on through the motions and get on out of there, which would probably be the best case scenario for us.”
So does this – and other scenarios where Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams play FCS foes – mean Clemson essentially paid for a win when putting its schedule together?
That’s where it gets complicated.
Many argue that FBS teams should not schedule FCS squads. Most of the time that argument makes sense.
However, on the same day this S.C. State-Clemson scenario occurred an argument was made in the other direction – and it came straight from the horse’s mouth.
North Dakota State – the FCS’s top-ranked team and a five-time defending national champion – went into FBS No. 13 Iowa’s stadium and left with a win and $500,000 check. It was the Bison’s sixth win over an FBS team since 2010.
On the first week of college football, there were four FCS teams that beat FBS squads. Richmond beat Virginia 37-20, Northern Iowa topped Iowa State 25-20, Eastern Washington defeated Washington State 45-42 and Albany toppled Buffalo 22-16. In Week 2, North Carolina A&T defeated Kent State 39-36, Illinois State topped Northwestern 9-7 and Eastern Illinois beat Miami of Ohio 21-17.
That’s eight FCS teams taking money – and, more importantly, wins – from FBS teams.
Therefore, I have no problem with FBS teams scheduling FCS foes. However, it’s not a good look when a team appears to have thrown in the towel before and then during the game.
South Carolina State isn’t the first team – and won’t be the last – school in this situation. I understand, the payouts are important to these smaller universities and they do what they have to do. The same goes for Clemson when playing FCS teams.
But, man, at least give the appearance that the game will be competitive.
Eight other teams did just that – and then some.
Myrtle Beach High School will once again be involved in the biggest prep game of the week. The Seahawks head to Conway, where they will hope to reclaim the Victory Bell in the area’s biggest rivalry game. … Coming off its first loss – a narrow one to Jacksonville State on Saturday – the Coastal Carolina football team returns home to host Furman (6 p.m.). … The Coastal Carolina volleyball team will make its Sun Belt debut Friday, hosting Little Rock (6:30 p.m.) in its conference opener. Two days later, the Chanticleers will host Arkansas State (1 p.m.), pitting the teams voted in the preseason poll to finish first in the Sun Belt’s East (CCU) and West (ASU) divisions. … The Clemson football team opens up ACC play at Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m., ESPN), while South Carolina shifts back to SEC play by playing at Kentucky (7:30 p.m., SEC Network). … NASCAR’s Chase continues Sunday when the circuit runs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2 p.m., NBCSN). … Major League Baseball enters its final two weeks with several races still undecided. Only the Chicago Cubs have clinched a divisional title thus far and there are several teams still in the running for the American League and National League wild-card spots. … The Carolina Panthers (1-1) will look to climb above .500 as they host the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. Sunday (Fox).