No Steps Back
|Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 11:54 AM- -|
No Steps Back
One of the things Dabo Swinney has been able to do at Clemson is win big games. Outside of a 1-5 record against South Carolina, Swinney has played very well in big games. He has beaten Florida State twice, Auburn twice, Virginia Tech three times, and Georgia, LSU and Ohio State once.
As the 2014 season approaches, it may not be a realistic to expect big wins at places like Georgia and Florida State but I don't want to take a step backwards in another area where Swinney has excelled. The Tigers have beaten teams they are favored over on a consistent basis.
In the Bowden era, Clemson lost embarrassing games to Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College, Virginia and Maryland. Swinney has put an end to those days.
Georgia Tech has been a thorn in the Tigers' side, but Swinney's Tigers have won three of the last four against the Yellow Jackets.
Boston College is not the program now that it was when Bowden faced them, but Swinney is 5-1 against the Eagles.
Clemson has had some embarrassing losses to Duke, but Swinney's teams are 2-0 against the Blue Devils.
Like Boston College, Virginia is not the program it once was, but Swinney is 3-0 against Virginia.
I have sat in Death Valley and watched Maryland destroy Clemson at times. Other times the Terps upset the Tigers despite having less talent. I know they have left for the Big 10, but Swinney sent the Terps to their new conference with a four game losing streak against Clemson.
Remember the 45-17 Wake Forest win against Clemson in 2003 and the 12-7 Wake win in 2008? Swinney has reversed that trend and his teams are 5-0 against the Deacs.
It was hard watching Chuck Amato's NC State teams thumping Clemson, but Swinney's Tigers are 4-1 against the Wolfpack.
Like many of you, I sat and watched Virginia Tech physically hammer Clemson on several occasions. Swinney's Tigers are 3-0 against Tech, including two wins where the Hokies were ranked in the top 11 in the country.
This could be a slight rebuilding year for the Tigers who will try to replace great players on both sides of the football, but the hope here is that the Tigers have recruited well enough that the rest of the league has not caught them in a rebuilding year.
North Carolina is a hot pick in the Coastal division but I believe Clemson is still more talented than the Tar Heels. NC State is not ready to compete with the Tigers unless there is a drastic turn around in Raleigh. I doubt Boston College can beat the Tigers despite the game being in Chestnut Hill. Syracuse did not look close to Clemson last year and I doubt they have improved enough to win in Death Valley. I expect Wake Forest to be a bad football team this year and I can see Georgia Tech continuing to their recent run of mediocrity.
In many observers' eyes this season will come down to games with Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina. However I hope we don't look back at this season as one where the slip up against an inferior opponent arises again.
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