There was a day in the not so distant past when ACC stood for Another Clemson Championship. Since Florida State’s arrival in the league, Clemson has failed to expand on their once-proud conference championship legacy. Seventeen years, zero championships.
In the two games prior to the Seminoles joining the conference these two teams were virtually indistinguishable. Both were ranked in the top five of the 1988 preseason poll, and no one in the country wanted to see either on their schedule.
Flashback with me if you will to September 17, 1988, where a rain soaked crowd of Tiger faithful watched Florida State go “Prime-time” in more ways than one. I have long believed that the contest forever known as The “Puntrooski” Game was the beginning of Clemson’s demise, and the ascension of Florida State’s program as a national power.
On that day, the Seminoles may have broken the #3 ranked Tigers spirit, a Clemson team that was good enough to win the national title. However the next season, Clemson answered in Doak Campbell Stadium winning 34-23, and I doubt many Tiger fans thought these two teams were headed in different directions. The Tigers blistered the Seminoles on both sides of the ball that night and finished 10-2 for the second straight year.
But in 1992 Florida State joined in ACC, and in their second conference game the Seminoles, led by Charlie Ward's late game heroics beat the Tigers 24-20 and took the Atlantic Coast Conference from Clemson. FSU finished 11-1, 8-0 in conference play. The Tigers, a dismal 5-6, 3-5 and a seventh place finish. This was Clemson’s worst finish in more than fifteen seasons.
Seventeen years of frustration. Seventeen years of someone else winning what was at one time our conference. We have been through three coaches, hundreds of players, multiple stadium renovations, and 87 losses or roughly five per season. In the seventeen years prior to Florida State joining the league we only lost 52 games.
In a prime-time Saturday evening game, Clemson takes control of the Atlantic Division. By beating the Seminoles, Clemson places themselves in position to make their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game.
Tune in this week to see if the Xbox can move to 9-0 while El Swann looks to go 8-1 on the season with his Tiger predictions.
Follow the Tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk and Clemson Hotline. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend's game and preview and predicts Clemson's next game. You can listen to both shows at www.clemsonpodcasts.com.
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TigerNet Talk #79 (29 MB)