It wasn't too long ago the term "Clemsoning" was part of the college football pop culture lexicon. To "pull a Clemson" was to watch the Tigers lose their season in the most imaginably hilarious fashion. It's where the Tigers would elevate the hopes of their fans, only to crush them and then salvage the season in the worst possible method.
It was the 2011 Tigers who opened up undefeated at 8-0 and rose from unranked to #8 in the nation, then inexplicably lost three of their last four to finish 8-4 on the season. Entering the ACC Championship Game at #21, they beat the Virginia Tech Hokies (ranked #5 in the nation) to win the league and advance to the Orange Bowl, where they naturally lost to #23 West Virginia by giving up 70 points.
It was the 2008 Tigers who started the year as the #9 team in the nation and promptly lost their opening game to unranked Alabama in the Georgia Dome, 34-10. After losing to Florida State in early November of that year, Clemson was 4-5. In true Clemson spirit, they rallied to win their final three games and finish 7-5, then lose the Gator Bowl to Nebraska.
As any Clemson fan will tell you, Clemsoning lives in the past, but that doesn't mean people stop talking. Although the Tiger culture is remarkably different, people still enjoy bringing it up because they find it funny.
Dabo Swinney, however, doesn't get the joke. On Saturday, after dispatching Georgia Tech easily, 43-24, someone asked him if "Clemsoning" was a thing of the past. Swinney flat out lost it.
Clemsoning is a thing of the past, and it's largely because of Swinney. Dabo is the type of guy who will go through hell for his players, even if it means verbally getting a reporter. To him, it's not even part of the equation, and perhaps more importantly, he's not laughing when someone brings it up. It's in his blood to look in the locker room and let the guys know the past is the past.
That's the most important thing for the 2015 Tigers. Clemson is perhaps the best chance for the ACC to place a team in the College Football Playoff. Although Florida State is undefeated, they look flawed and ready to implode. The rest of the league has at least one loss, with the next best teams (Duke, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina) not nearly good enough to woo voters. That's a motivating factor for an angry Clemson team, one with something left to prove.
Weekly Storylines (The Town Edition)
"Ask me anything you want." -Doug
"Why? I won't believe you." -Claire
"Yes you will." -Doug
"Because you'll f---ing hate the answers." -Doug
On Tuesday's radio show, AJ and I discussed "signature wins" and "signature losses." By the fifth game, the 2013 Eagles had a couple of 200-yard rushing performances, including the one where Andre Williams completely destroyed Army. Given the same frame, the 2014 Eagles beat USC. In contrast, the 2012 Eagles lost to Army in the first five.
Until Saturday, the 2015 Boston College Eagles had neither. We had people talking how seven or eight wins was possible. We had people talking about four wins. Then came the Wake Forest game, and the reality of the situation became clearer than any other week this year.
Regardless of the reason, regardless of what happened in the first six games, the majority are in agreement: this team won't win very often. In order to challenge for even .500, something needs to change...fast.
Remember what I said. This season will test your patience beyond its limits. You will lose patience. That's totally understandable.
Saturday's game frustrated the absolute hell out of me, and it was one of the first times I truly sat back and said, "Maybe Daz isn't the guy." He lost me a little bit, but I made the conscious decision to try and move past that because I originally said this was a multi-year process. I still believe it can happen under Coach Addazio, but I'm conceding, like I've done so many times this year, there's a chance I'm wrong.
"I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're gonna hurt some people." -Doug
"Whose car we gonna take?" -Gem
If I have a non-football message to the fans, it's this: don't quit on this team. A fan base is tested in how it can support its team through the bad times, not the good times. I understand the anger and frustration, and I don't think any explanation from the coaches will fix that.
But I'm still going to support and cheer for this team because that's what being a fan is all about. When a team is bad, you support them. When a team is good, you support them. I read comments of people saying, "Well I'm not going to a game until they start scheduling better teams and winning games." That's not what being a fan is all about.
One thing that always angered me is to see fairweather fans jump ship because of struggle. I suffered through some really bad times as a New England Patriots fan (my dad moreso than me, dating back to the 1960s), and I suffered through REALLY bad times as a Boston Red Sox fan. Don't even get me started on being a Bruins fan. I never, ever, ever jumped from the bandwagon. I might have gotten angry, but I never stopped supporting the uniform.
I guess if there's one takeaway, it's this. I've read a lot of comments that you guys are ready to jump ship. Take it from our newest contributor, Arthur Bailin, who roots for the New York Mets. I asked him what it was like to watch the team clinch a division and play in the postseason.
His response? "It was like every God awful game that I saw from that stupid team was immediately worth it."
When the times get down for BC, support this team because that's what they deserve putting it on the line. I've never thought the players on the team deserved anything less. If they hit rough patches, don't quit on them. They're out there competing each and every week. That's what they deserve.
"Look, I gotta die six times before I get out of here; but I'll see you in again—this side or the other." -Stephen McCray
You thought your patience was tested last week? We haven't even started discussing Saturday's opponent.
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: Clemson University
Team Name: Tigers
Claimed National Championships: 1 (1981)
Conference Championships: 20 (4 SIAA, 2 SoCon, 14 ACC)
Bowl Games: 37
Postseason Record: 19-18
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney
Years at School: Eight (Seven full as head coach)
Head-to-Head with BC
All-Time Series: Clemson leads, 13-9-2
Streak: Clemson, 4
Last BC Win: 2010 (16-10 at BC)
First Meeting: 1940 (Clemson won, 6-3, in the Cotton Bowl)