Joe Ovies

Clemson enjoying success, but hurdles remain

Posted January 4

The Orange Bowl was transformed into "Bad Perceptions Beyond Thunderdome" on Friday night. Both Clemson and Ohio State entered, but only one program could leave without its season being labeled a failure.

The Tigers hadn't beaten a good team since August. Getting smoked by Florida State on national television and handled by South Carolina at the end of the regular season made the victory over Georgia a distant memory.

Despite a landmark win over LSU in last year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl that gave the program its first 11-win season since 1981, Clemson was still haunted by a horrific loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl two years ago. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes were cast as BCS pretenders who feasted on weak opponents to fatten their undefeated regular season.

In an ironic twist, Clemson and Ohio State needed a win over the other to legitimize their 2013 campaigns.

Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State had so many narrative changes throughout the course of the game that fans might have suffered whiplash. When the Tigers built up an early lead, the Buckeyes were supposedly exposed as the frauds so many believed them to be. After Ohio State came back, everyone was convinced another episode of "Clemsoning" was taking place. 

With the win, Dabo Swinney finally gets proper recognition for turning Clemson back into a national contender in just three seasons and avoids the sort of hot sports take that'll make your eyes roll. 

As good as Clemson has been under Swinney, the Tigers still have a few hurdles to jump. Getting into the national championship picture is the obvious one, but there is a an obstacle within their state they'll eventually have to get past if Clemson ever wants to upgrade their postseason hardware.

Consistently getting the best of Steve Spurrier.

The Ol' Ball Coach owns a five game winning streak over Clemson and he doesn't mind reminding everyone about that fact. Following South Carolina's victory over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, Spurrier said winning back-to-back New Year's Day games was nice, but "winning that state championship ain't bad either."

To Swinney's credit, he's acutely aware of the shadow Spurrier casts over his success and did his best to jab back after the Orange Bowl. 

Well played, Dabo. But when you come at the king of smack, you best not miss next time.

8 Comments

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  • ooksucks-1 Jan 4, 11:36 a.m.

    At least Clemson can win a bowl game unlike Dook, a team 10-9 over it's past 19 games with no wins this season over anyone who finished ranked.

  • vt94hokies Jan 4, 11:41 a.m.

    Clemson has greatly improved since Dabo took the reins. They have recruited very well, and they have top notch assistants. They will always have to battle FSU for the division title. That's a tough one.

  • mike honcho Jan 4, 11:42 a.m.

    At least Clemson can win a bowl game unlike Dook, a team 10-9 over it's past 19 games with no... View More

    — Posted by ooksucks-1

    That makes UNC's loss to Duke that much more painful :)

  • sburks1906 Jan 4, 11:45 a.m.

    Go ACC! That's all I've got to say. I think that Watson kid Clemson has coming in to play QB will make them dangerous next season.

    http://www.theklowntimes.net

  • Haydn Pat aka Fats Thomas Jan 4, 1:04 p.m.

    Louisville beat Florida in last year's Sugar Bowl. Nice try though, Joe.

  • a sports fan Jan 4, 2:00 p.m.

    gezz..what a lame Ovaries article.

    How many teams in Carolinas (country) have gone to three straight prestigious bowls winning last 2?

    This is a significant achievement!

  • Frizz Jan 4, 4:16 p.m.

    gezz..what a lame Ovaries article.

    How many teams in Carolinas (country) have gone to three... View More

    — Posted by a sports fan

    Name one Joe Ovaries article that wasn't lame.

    He can't write and about all he can do on the radio is make people just mad enough to call in but not mad enough to change channels.

    What a waste.

  • vt94hokies Jan 5, 6:19 p.m.

    Watkins and two other Jr's will declare for the draft, but they have recruited well, and will probably still be strong. Dabo has done a solid job down there.

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