MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. So this is what Clemson gets to think about between now and next football season:
Seventy points allowed in Wednesday's Orange Bowl washout against West Virginia. A fourth loss in six games after starting 8-0. And, as the league's champion, being the face of the ACC in what was an embarrassing bowl season for the conference.
It's going to be a long eight months.
"We've got to live with this the whole postseason," said Tigers coach Dabo Swinney after his team was blitzed by the 23rd-ranked Mountaineers 70-33 in Sun Life Stadium. "We got a taste of it tonight and we'll be back. Hopefully these guys will play better next time. Simple as that."
The No. 14 Tigers (10-4) wilted under a never-ending offensive onslaught by the Mountaineers (10-3). West Virginia's scoring output was the most in bowl history. Quarterback Geno Smith's six touchdown passes were a BCS and Orange Bowl record. His 427 yards of total offense - West Virginia as a team had 589 - was also an Orange Bowl record. Receiver Tavon Austin's four touchdown receptions tied a record for any bowl game.
And all that came after Clemson had taken a 17-14 lead in the first quarter. West Virginia outscored the Tigers 35-3 in the second quarter - the key play coming on a 99-yard fumble recovery for touchdown by Darwin Cook - to take a 49-20 lead at halftime and never let up.
"It was very disappointing how things got away from us," Swinney said. "But that's how quickly things can snowball on you."
The bowl season also rolled badly for the ACC, which finished 2-6 (N.C. State and Florida State were the league's only winners) in the postseason. The league was shutout in its two BCS bowls (Virginia Tech lost to Michigan in the Sugar Bowl). In 14 seasons, the ACC is now 2-13 in BCS bowls.
"(The ACC) has not had a good year and we certainly didn't do our part," Swinney said. "I don't really worry about other people, to be honest with you. But it's very disappointing in how we played and represented our conference."
Wednesday's embarrassment notwithstanding, the Tigers have lots to look forward to next season - at least offensively. Record-setting receiver and kick returner Sammy Watkins will return for his sophomore season. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Andre Ellington (116 yards against West Virginia) will also be back.
"I'm ready to get back right now," Boyd said.
But allowing those 70 points means a long look will be taken at the Tigers' defense, which had already allowed an average of 26.2 points and 379.2 yards per game prior to the Orange Bowl.
"Ain't nobody forgot how to coach or anything like that," Swinney said. "We've got a lot of film to study and evaluate and learn from. That's what you do in the off-season. You try to come back and have a better year next year."