That was one hell of a game.
I know we lost, but I feel strangely fine.
Maybe this is all personal perspective. Last year I wept openly as Aaron Murray's tipped pass was caught just five yards short of the goal line as time expired in the SEC Championship Game. Tonight I spent most of the first half chatting with a Clemson fan at a bar near my new apartment and calmly walked my new puppy after our desperate on-side kick was easily recovered.
Maybe this is all delusion. Our offense may have been stopped on six straight series in the middle of the contest, but we also put together scoring drives covering 75 yards on 11 plays, 97 yards on 10 plays, 75 yards on 7 plays, and 64 yards on 5 plays. Our extremely young defense held Clemson's experienced, high-powered offense 3 points and 45 yards below its average from last season. If we had just gone for it on fourth down from Clemson's 2-yard line instead of foolishly trying that field goal, we could have won the game.
And don't forget the Clemson is one hell of a football team. They returned thirteen starters from a team that went 11-2 last season, ended the year by beating a solid LSU squad, and recruited another top-20 class. Mark Richt's teams always seem to improve dramatically throughout the course of a campaign, so giving a legitimate top-10 team a run for their money can only mean good things, right?
I know it stings right now. Every loss does. But we can still achieve all of our goals. South Carolina didn't exactly look like world-beaters this weekend. Neither did LSU. I hate to get too far ahead of ourselves, but even Alabama didn't look invincible in the Dome against an inferior Virginia Tech team. There's still an awful lot of football to play.
And I can't wait.