Why Do We Continue to Believe in the Clemson Tigers?


Year after year we get duped into believing

For some reason, there’s this feeling about Clemson that leads us to believe they will actually pull it all together and become the team they are almost expected to be. In 2004, the Tigers began the season ranked #15 and #16. After winning their first game, they dropped four straight and finished 6-5 and home for the bowl season. The next year, a 2-0 start was ruined after three consecutive losses. But Clemson was able to win their final four to make us think they might actually be building something. In 2006, the Tigers started 7-1, moving all the way up to #12 and #10 in the polls before losing four of their last five. They would finish the season unranked. 2007 gave false hope again after a 4-0 start. The Tigers would end up 9-4 and ranked, but blew some close games they should’ve won. And then we have this year. 2008 was supposed to be the Tigers’ year…again. The ACC had no elite teams and this was the year Clemson would really make the jump and become a top program. They started the season at #9 in both polls and then got blown out by Alabama, which dropped them completely out of the AP rankings. Three straight wins and the Tigers climbed back into the top 20. They of course followed that up with two losses and fell back out of the rankings.

We’re led the believe Clemson has this explosive offense that can score on anyone. We’ve seen James Davis and C.J. Spiller highlights and really think they form the best tailback tandem in the nation. Then we watch the Tigers score 10 points against Alabama and 7 against Wake Forest and wonder what’s going on. These “star” running backs do virtually nothing in the team’s losses. The Crimson Tide held the Tigers to 0 rushing yards on 14 carries. Freshman Jamie Harper was given the ball on Clemson’s first drive – he was promised the first carry of the season during recruiting – and promptly fumbled. In 5 games since then, Harper has only touched the ball 16 times on offense. Against Alabama and Wake Forest, Davis and Spiller combined to run for 55 total yards. These are two very talented backs that for whatever reason – including nagging injuries – seem to have their worst games when Clemson losses. Of course that was an obvious connection, but it’s almost like they are completely different players from week to week. In 2007, Spiller rushed for 210 yards combined in wins over NC State and Central Michigan. In between those games were two losses in which he totaled 5 yards. Davis isn’t much different. Spanning back to 2007, Davis has averaged 95.8 yards in victories, but only 45 in defeats.

Clemson has two distinct personalities. One when it wins and one when it loses. We never see the same team and definitely never know which one you’re going to get. The team hasn’t won 10 games in a single season since 1990. It’s time we stop believing any particular year is the Tigers’ year. Time to stop talking us into thinking they will be good. Clemson is no better than an average football program. Period.