The Washington Times - October 9, 2008, 11:34PM

Just got done watching Game 1 of the NLCS, but I had an eye on the live box score of the Wake Forest-Clemson game all along.

Besides things being a little lower-scoring than expected, there were some unsurprising developments to be gleaned just from scanning a play-by-play account.

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* Clemson, with its unstable offensive line, couldn’t run the ball at all.

* Wake Forest’s defense remains very good

* Clemson fans are likely apoplectic about their once-promising season swirling down the commode

It’d be best to go elsewhere for more insight on the first two items, since neither involved getting to see the re-emergence of the Derek Lowe Face in the postseason or watching Brad Lidge set down the Dodgers in the ninth.

But the last one … well, Clemson fans do have reason to be angry about that.

The Tigers were never a top-10 team. Ever. But heavens knows they were (and are) the most talented team in the conference, and have no business being 1-3 against major-college teams.

And they definitely have no business scoring only seven points in a six-quarter span (though this is again a chance to point out that there might not be a more important unit on any team than the offensive line, since this is pretty clearly at the root of some of Clemson’s problems).

Entering the season, it was tough to ID an obvious coach in danger of losing his job in the ACC. Six schools had made hires in the last two offseasons, Bobby Bowden and Frank Beamer probably should be able to dictate their own departures, Jim Grobe probably is near that status, Al Groh was last year’s league coach of the year and Ralph Friedgen’s contract made him reasonably safe barring a total freefall.

As for Tommy Bowden, he had a fat new contract and his best roster ever. Clemson fans were already restless when the Tigers choked two weeks against Maryland. It can only be worse tonight.

Bowden’s buyout is $4 million – it shrinks to a mere $3.5 million if he’s dismissed after Dec. 1 – so money might be an issue now that it seems pretty certain Clemson won’t win its first ACC title since 1991.

But with the Tigers scuffling along as they are wont to do, perhaps it won’t be.

Patrick Stevens