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The ACC Plays Pussy Football

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As much as college football prognosticator Phil Steele might wish otherwise, there really is no hope for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The latest example of the second-tier conference’s utter lack of testicular fortitude? The inexcusable pansy ass statements made by ACC coordinator of officials, Dave Rhoads, regarding the hit University of South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney laid on Michigan running back Vincent Smith during the 2013 Outback Bowl.

According to Rhoads, Clowney should have been penalized, ejected and suspended for a game as a result of this perfectly legal tackle. In fact, under college football’s new “Dear God Please Don’t Let Anybody Actually Get Tackled During A Football Game” rule, Clowney would have been suspended.

At least if Rhoads was calling the shots.

“Yeah. I probably would have gone with that,” Rhoads said. “In my judgment, yes.”

Good God …

First of all when it comes to a Southeastern Conference player laying the wood to a Big Ten player, officials in the Atlantic Coast Conference should probably drink a nice tall glass of STFU and go back to doing what they do best – watching Wake Forest dry hump Maryland up and down the field in front of 35,000 not-so-screaming fans.

Because those Maryland jerseys are SO stylish …

Seriously … there is nobody in the ACC who even comes close to being able to deliver this sort of blow. So why are ACC officials even bothering to weigh in on the subject?

More to the point, Clowney did not lead with his helmet. As replay after replay shows, he led with his shoulders – and made contact with Smith squarely between his shoulders, wrapping him up and driving him backward into the ground. And contrary to the love affair Google’s search engine has with the term “Jadeveon Clowney hit,” the play – which recently won a well-deserved ESPY Award for “Play of the Year” – wasn’t really so much a “hit” as it was a tackle.

In fact it was probably the most perfect tackle ever.

Clowney did exactly what defensive football players are supposed to do – he just did it with such an elevated level of speed and force that it looked positively cataclysmic. But it wasn’t cataclysmic. In fact one of the little known realities of Clowney’s tackle is that Smith popped right up off the grass after it was over – shaken, to be sure, but not seriously injured.

Had Clowney’s tackle been dirty, Smith might not be alive right now.

Football is violent. That’s a fact of life. And people are going to get hurt – as University of South Carolina fans know all too well. But by penalizing legal hits conferences aren’t making players safer – they are making the game weaker.

Which is one reason why the ACC will continue to struggle against superior (read: SEC) competition.

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