|Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 10:59 AM- -|
On the PGA Tour they say a second win validates your first. The same can be said for major championships. The thought is that almost every player in the field each week can get hot for four days and win a tournament, but a second win is tougher to come by.
In the majors we have seen players like Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton and Shaun Micheel win major championships but I doubt any of those guys can win twice. A second major would validate their first win.
I think the same can be said about Clemson's football team in its last two games. The Tigers beat ninth-ranked LSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl last season and topped fifth-ranked Georgia Saturday night to become the first non-conference team to beat two top ten ranked SEC schools in back-to-back games.
Since the beginning of last football season teams ranked in the top ten have lost 27 games. Some of those teams were not great squads but they were ranked in the top ten at the time. For example, Louisiana-Monroe upset Arkansas last season when the Razorbacks were ranked eighth in the country. We now know that Arkansas was not the eighth best team but it is still a great win for a program like ULM.
There have been 19 teams have beaten top ten teams since the beginning of last season. They are Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Arizona, Louisville, Notre Dame and ULM.
I doubt anyone could claim that ULM, Washington, Arizona, Texas Tech or NC State have been great teams since last season. This supports the idea that on any given Saturday, anyone can be beaten.
However only five teams have beaten at least two top ten teams since the start of last season. Alabama, Florida, Clemson, Stanford and Notre Dame are the only schools to have at least two wins over top ten teams.
Alabama leads the way with wins last season over Michigan (8), LSU (5), Georgia (3) and Notre Dame (1). Florida has three wins over LSU (4), South Carolina (9) and Florida State (10). Clemson beat LSU(9) and Georgia (5). Stanford beat Oregon (1) and Southern Cal (2). Notre Dame defeated Michigan State (10) and Oklahoma (8).
In Clemson's last two games the Tigers have taken the next step. They have taken on two of the top ranked teams in the nation's best conference and won. The outcome was important but it was also the way the Tigers won that was important. Clemson physically stood toe-to-toe with two extremely physical football teams and more than held its on.
I was asked this morning which win was bigger and I can make a case for either. If Clemson does not beat LSU then I am not sure the Tigers defeat Georgia. The confidence and positive publicity of the LSU bowl win paid huge dividends. It really can't get much bigger than a walk off win over a program like LSU.
On the other hand, the Georgia win validated the LSU win and it has projected Clemson back into the national spotlight. Can you turn on the TV this week and find a sports station that is not talking about the Tigers?
The LSU win was one of the best in school history. Beating Georgia was an incredible night in Death Valley. But it is the combination of the two wins that makes it even more special.
Beating a top ten team is not easy. There is a reason why most of these teams are ranked that high. In fact, since the first game of last season no one in the Big Ten has won a game against a team ranked in the top ten. But Clemson has done it in each of its last two games.
If things continue the way some project it, the Tigers will have a couple of more opportunities to win another battle against a top ten team. I cannot see how Florida State does not cruise into the October 19th game at Clemson ranked in the top ten and South Carolina has a good chance to enter the last game of the regular season in the top ten as well. Who knows if Miami or the winner of the Coastal Division can get there and there is a chance Clemson's bowl opponent may have lofty rankings.
The wins in the last two games have done a lot to give Clemson's fans ammunition against the SEC propaganda but more importantly, both wins have validated Clemson's arrival back into the national scene.
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