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Oct
03
2015

If You Say Clemsoning, You Probably Still Use a Black And White TV

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Good morning, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Sports Fans.

What big day of games in the ACC.  Let’s review the schedule:

  • Miami lost to Cincinnati this week.  Woof.

  • Virginia Tech hosts Pittsburgh today.  Gobbler Town (@GobblerTown) has a preview here.

  • Louisville goes on the road to NC State.

  • In a very key ACC Coastal Division game (like they all are), North Carolina goes on the road to Georgia Tech.  This game is very important for the Jackets who can’t drop to 0-2 in the Coastal.

  • In a game that is under the radar, Boston College goes on the road to Duke.  Boston College is playing some really strong defense right now – and has a chance to upset the Blue Devils.

  • Florida State takes on Wake Forest – and the Seminoles should win big.

  • Finally, in the ACC game (and national game) of the day, Clemson (#12)  hosts Notre Dame (#5).  It’s a game that is huge because Clemson needs to win their games vs. Notre Dame, Florida State, and South Carolina.  If that happens, the Tigers should be in the College Football Playoff (or at least knocking on the doorstep).

Inevitably, we’re going to hear from people on Twitter, Facebook, the media, the radio, etc. use the Clemsoning term tonight.    Clemsoning is losing to an absolutely inferior team (one that you have no business losing to as you have superior talent and coaching and talent on both sides of the ball).  However, Clemsoning is a term that needs to go to the grave. Like now.  Lauren Brownlow (@LEBrownlow) of @RaleighCompany wrote this terrific article on Clemsoning – she debunked the myth along with long-time Clemson beat writer, Greg Wallace (@GC_Wallace), far better that I ever could.  Here’s what Greg Wallace had to say:

Greg Wallace: How would I define Clemsoning? I think it’s pretty simple: it’s the act of losing a game to a lesser team that you have no business losing to. Tommy Bowden made these kind of losses an art. It’s beating a No.11 Miami team in double OT in the Orange Bowl (as Clemson did in 2005) and following it up with a 16-13 loss to a bad, 2-9 Duke team. It’s losing to a very average Maryland team at home in 2008, blowing a halftime lead by going totally conservative on offense (a game that was ultimately Bowden’s final Clemson home game). It’s Dabo Swinney going to Maryland a year later and dropping a 24-21 decision that saw Clemson get inside Maryland’s 30 three times and come up completely empty, becoming a 2-10 Terrapin team’s only FBS victim of 2009. It’s going to N.C. State in 2011 and getting crunched 37-13 while looking really awful.

So Clemsoning is not losing to a rival like Georgia or losing in overtime to last year’s Florida State team who made the college football playoff.  And it sure as hell wouldn’t be losing to a higher ranked Notre Dame team (and I think Clemson has a chance to pull an upset tonight).  That’s just lazy analysis.  Let’s talk about Clemson’s success under Dabo Swinney:

  1. In 2010, I really think Dabo and Clemson were at a crossroads.  Clemson ended up 6-6 this year (there were Clemson fans that wanted him out the door) – and Dabo really couldn’t continue his “offensive coaching.”  He had to bring in someone who know what that the hell they were doing on offense – because Dabo wasn’t that guy.  It takes a substantial amount of humility to back away from something you like to do, but quite frankly aren’t good at.

  1. In 2011, Dabo Swinney hired hot shot Chad Morris as his offensive coordinator and the Tigers ended up with 10 wins.

  1. In 2012, Clemson not only opened the season by defeating Auburn – but closed the season by defeating LSU – and ended with 11 wins. Not a Clemsoning moment to defeat two SEC teams in the same year.  Swinney also picked up his 2nd of two wins in a row vs. Virginia Tech.

  1. In 2013, Clemson did lose to Florida State (but there’s a lot of teams that lost to the eventual national champion – that is not a Clemsoning moment).  It’s also not a Clemsoning moment to defeat Georgia and Auburn in the same year, either.  Dabo – once again the Chief Executive Officer coach – knew he had to improve his defense and hired Oklahoma defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, this year.

  1. In 2014, Clemson once again closed the season with ten wins – including a win vs. their rival, South Carolina, and a season ending bashing of Oklahoma.

It is not Clemsoning to defeat Auburn, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, and Ohio State out of conference.  Absolutely, Clemson has a huge opportunity tonight vs. Notre Dame – and I expect Deshaun Watson to really shine in the spotlight tonight.  Whatever happens tonight in this game between Notre Dame and Clemson tonight, though – is not Clemsoning. If Clemson loses tonight, they aren’t losing to an inferior team.

Here’s your new modern day definition of Clemsoning.  Clemsoning should be reserved for:

  • Teams that miss expectations by a wide margin in the win-loss column.

  • Teams (who have superior talent) that come up short in games that they have no business in losing.

  • Teams that are are just fighting for bowl eligibility when they were picked to get to the ACC Championship Game.

  • Teams that have to win their very last game of the season just to become bowl eligible.

That’s the new modern-day Clemsoning.  Do you know any teams that fit the modern day definition of Clemsoning?  I certainly can think of a few.

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