Late Hits: NC State faces the Clemson effect

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 6, 2013 

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    FLORIDA STATE: “Very Famous” Jameis Winston might just be the rare athlete who somehow finds a way to exceed the hype. The freshman Florida State quarterback has been nothing short of phenomenal (17 TD passes, 73.2 completion percentage) in his first five games.

    If Winston’s the real deal, FSU just might be better than Clemson and in prime position to run the table.

    WAKE FOREST: Let me get this straight, there are actual Wake Forest fans who want to get rid of Jim Grobe? Is that for real or is it a fake headline from The Onion?

    Look, everyone gets a little anxious, that’s completely understandable, but let’s keep what Grobe has done in perspective.

    In the first 48 seasons of ACC play, Wake won 90 conference games. In 12-plus seasons, Grobe has 41 ACC wins, almost half as many in a quarter of the time.

    Grobe has five winning seasons in 12-plus years, Wake had nine since 1953 before Grobe got there.

    Serious suggestion: Instead of paying an airplane to fly a banner over the stadium, donate the money charity.

    SYRACUSE: There’s only one printable word in a seven-word rant by rookie Syracuse coach Scott Shafer on the sideline before halftime after Clemson went for it on fourth down with a 35-7 lead.

    Just so you know, coach, it’s 2013 and if you want to go Bobby Knight, that’s cool but it’s going to end on the Internet in GIF form and you’re going to look stupid for a long time.

    Also, there’s never a good reason to drag anyone’s mother into such vulgar conversations.

•  Here’s an unforeseen complication to what seemingly looks like a favorable schedule for N.C. State: Wake Forest was the first of three ACC opponents that plays Clemson the week before facing N.C. State.

The problem there, as Wake Forest showed, is after getting racked by the Tigers, most teams are naturally going to play better – at least by comparison – the next week against N.C. State.

Wake lost 56-7 to Clemson and looked like a different team in a 28-13 win over N.C. State. Syracuse lost 49-14 at home to the Tigers on Saturday. The Orange come to Raleigh this week. Of course, the same principle applies to N.C. State after its subpar performance against Wake Forest.

•  In the latest chapter of “As Jadeveon Turns,” South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sat out Saturday’s 35-28 win over Kentucky with what coach Steve Spurrier called “a muscle strain around the rib area.”

Clowney’s absence comes three weeks after the presumed No. 1 pick in the next NFL draft told one South Carolina newspaper he needed surgery on his right foot but was willing to play through the pain.

Spurrier, who doesn’t exactly suffer fools kindly, sounded a bit frustrated on his Sunday conference call when asked about Clowney, whose production has been off this season.

“It was just, we didn’t know he wasn’t playing until right before the game,” Spurrier said Sunday. “That was a little frustrating. Usually the trainer or the doctor tells you, ‘This guy’s out.’ That did not happen last night.”

What’s the over/under on the number of people in Clowney’s ear (and/or trying to get in his pocket) about what’s best for his future?

You get the feeling given Spurrier’s general lack of elasticity, this is not going to end well for either side.

•  Pat Haden was Phi Beta Kappa at Southern California in the 1970s and a Rhodes Scholar, so I should have known the USC athletic director was smart enough not to hire Lane Kiffin. Mike Garrett, Haden’s predecessor at USC, made the ill-fated decision to hire Kiffin to replace Pete Carroll after the 2009 season.

That was my mistake in last week’s Late Hits column, and I apologize to Haden for the error. Given Haden’s pedigree, USC fans have every reason to believe he will find the right replacement for Kiffin.

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