|Thursday, January 3, 2013, 10:22 AM- -|
The win over LSU Monday night was one of the best in recent years and like many others, I believe this could lead to big things for this program. However, that is not a given.
I sat in the Georgia Dome on January 2, 2004 and watched Clemson destroy sixth ranked Tennessee 27-14 in the Chic-fil-a Bowl. The win ended a magical run where Tommy Bowden saved his job and enjoyed one of the best Novembers in Clemson history.
The Tigers lost to Wake Forest on the first day of November in 2003 in embarrassing fashion 45-17. Some felt Bowden lost his job that day, but the following week Clemson upset third ranked Florida State 26-10. The next week Clemson downed Duke 40-7. Next was a 63-17 ripping of arch-rival South Carolina to set up the bowl win over the Vols.
Clemson was 5-4 but won its last four games to finish 9-4 and ended up ranked 22nd in the both the AP poll and the USA Today Coaches' poll.
The finish had Tiger fans excited for the future. The finish was supposed to spring board Clemson to bigger and better things, but things didn't work out that way. There was no momentum. Clemson lost four of its first five games of the 2004 season and Bowden was back on the hotseat.
The point is that winning a big bowl game does not guarantee success the following season.
What if I would have looked at you in the fourth quarter of the Orange Bowl last year and told you that in the 2012 season Clemson would be 11-2 and West Virginia would be 7-6? How would that have gone over?
Remember last year's bowl season saw Arkansas beat Kansas State. How did that momentum carry over for each team on 2012? Florida State beat Notre Dame and the Irish finished 8-5 but 2012 worked out OK for Notre Dame.
On the other side of the argument is the case of the 1981 Clemson National Championship season. Many players and coaches credit a big win over South Carolina in 1980 as the springboard for the national title in 1981. Some say 1981 would have been different if it were not for the upset of South Carolina in November of 1980. They claim the off-season momentum in the workouts were a key to the 1981 magic.
There are examples from both sides of the argument. Sometimes a big win to close the season can mean great things the following year but it is not a guarantee.
I don't want to dismiss the win Monday night either. It was a great win. It may have been one of the top two or three wins in the
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But what does this win mean for 2013? At this point we can only speculate but one residual will be a high pre-season ranking for 2013. Other advantages may come more in the form of intangibles.
I was visiting with one of the members of the Clemson staff yesterday and he said, "This off-season will be an easier sell than last year. Last year we were coming off a bad loss. There was no momentum. This year the guys will have a little positive momentum in their workouts. They will enter the offseason knowing their hard work can pay off. The young guys see what it takes to prepare for big games and this could pay big dividends in the future."
The 2013 season still has so many questions to be answered. We don't know what the schedule will look like. We don't know if
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What we do know is that expectations will be high and there is much more positive momentum heading into the off-season workouts.
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