There were a couple of season opener misnomers Saturday at Death Valley:
Most tailgating Clemson fans were not really making use of tailgates.
The Tigers' 35-10 victory against North Texas seemed for long stretches more like an exhibition than action that counts.
North Texas, theoretically one of the worst teams in college football, out-gained Clemson, which hopes to repeat as ACC Atlantic Division champs 462-423.
Kyle Parker, the baseball star/quarterback, went 0-for-4 (passing, not batting) in the first quarter.
Maybe the sweetest paradox Saturday is the three players responsible for filling the C.J. Spiller void were Clemson's top contributors.
Andre Ellington, the sophomore running back, scored on a 60-yard run and finished with 122 yards on 12 carries. Junior running back Jamie Harper barreled his way to 103 yards on nine carries. Cornerback Marcus Gilchrist had a 33-yard kickoff return and a 29-yard punt return.
Still, Spiller did not become Clemson's greatest player ever without making an impact beyond statistics.
It's more of a mindset.
Spiller consistently came through with thrilling plays. It's possible there were players in orange Saturday still waiting around for No. 28 to make something happen.
Lots of No. 28s were in the stands - in orange, in white, in purple - but no one worth $20.8 million in guaranteed money from the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
The biggest concern for the Tigers is their role in making North Texas playmakers look like Heisman candidates. Give Mean Green offensive coordinator Mike Canales credit for mixing plays in a blender.
"I promise you, they didn't run the same play very many times," Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said. "They did a good job with that."
And Clemson didn't play any better on defense after halftime.
"I mean, they only scored 10 points. That's the main thing," senior safety DeAndre McDaniel said. "But we have to improve. We missed a lot of tackles. I missed a few myself."
On offense, Clemson showed quick-strike capability that partly explained why the Tigers held the ball for only 18:08 compared to 41:52 for North Texas. But 2 for 9 on third-down conversion attempts probably will not work against the ACC or SEC teams on the schedule.
"Overall, it was a good start," offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. "But I do think there's a ton of improvement left."
The last spin on this first game won't register for two weeks, and then as part of a trio: Mean Green, less mean Presbyterian, much more meaningful Auburn.