What Does Clemson Have?

What Does Clemson Have? A pinch between the cheek..

October 1, 1991; The Red & Black

by Mike Floyd

It’s just so easy to hurl insults at Clemson. For those of us who don’t make a habit of wearing overalls, it really isn’t much of a challenge.

Therefore, I’ll refrain from voicing the predictable, exhausting, comments that Tiger fans have grown immune to over the years.

Under no circumstances shall I mention anything pertaining to tractors, dirt roads, dating immediate family members or an alma mater that ends each chorus with “E-I-E-I-O”.

We at Georgia are above such trivial remarks, regardless of their validity.

Instead , I shall cut directly to an issue that is apparent to everyone except Clemson’s redneck, fair-weather, pinch-between-yo’-cheek-and-gum fans who have brainwashed themselves into believing that…get this…their beloved Tigers actually have a winning tradition.

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular among Clemson fans to brag about their “national tradition”. In fact, “a tradition of excellence” became Clemson’s self-proclaimed motto shortly after the Tigers won the national championship in 1981.

Of course, I guess it’s understandable that the Tiger faithful were able to make such a bold statement, considering that, prior to Clemson’s victory in the 1982 Orange Bowl, the Tigers had won one of the whopping three bowl games they had appeared in since 1959.

We all have to admit that it’s pretty hard not to be impressed by one bowl victory in a span of 22 seasons.

Speaking of Clemson’s 1981 title, it must have been a bumper year for the crops, considering the amount of money it took the Tiger coaches and fans to buy the national title that has given them so much joy over the years.

Prior to when Southern Methodist received the NCAA death penalty for repeated violations, the probation handed down to Clemson for it’s treatment of many of the players on the 1981 team was the most severe penalty in college football.

It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that many of the players from that team are leading lives of luxury in exotic areas of the world, far from the rigors of manual labor, thanks to the ever-so-thoughtful gifts from various Clemson alumni.

But on second thought, I might be wrong about that. If you’re from Clemson, your idea of luxury usually revolves around a pickup truck with an extra-long bed and a winch in front-and manual labor is probably your idea of a good time.

The latter is probably the best – no use going through life with an occupation you don’t enjoy.

But before I get carried away, please allow me to get back to the point at hand.

If Clemson is going to insist upon focusing on it’s wonderful winning tradition, then it must be based on results of games that have been played over an extended period of time. That, of course, it what tradition is all about.

Granted, Clemson was one of the nation’s most successful teams during the 1980’s, and it’s eight Top 20 finishes in the past 10 years is a grand achievement. But before then, well…let’s just say the Tigers have some catching up to do.

Clemson has built it’s admirable national tradition, undoubtedly the envy of colleges throughout the land, with such sterling all-time records of 11-31-2 against Auburn, 3-11 against Alabama, 15-38-2 against Georgia Tech, 17-36-4 against Georgia and 3-9-1 against Florida.

The Tigers are also the proud owners of a losing record against every SEC team except Mississippi St., which they lead, 1-0. Even lowly Vanderbilt owns a 3-1 advantage over the Tigers. I wonder how many teams with “national tradition” can lay claim to that noteworthy accomplishment?

Or how about this one? Clemson is a combined 109-154 against teams from the Big Eight, Pac-10, Big ten, SEC and SWC. Nothing like a winning record against America’s top conferences to secure your place among the nation’s elite.

But to be fair, I should probably mention that Clemson has won its share of football games. For example, the Tigers are a combined 169-30-10 against perennial powers Furman, The Citadel, Virginia, Presbyterian and Wake Forest. I mention this only to make sure nobody accuses Clemson of padding its record against inferior competition.

OK, so you think I’m being too rough on the Tigers, huh? Well, maybe I am. Hey, there has to be some reason Clemson is so proud of it’s illustrious past, right? Wrong.

Take a look at the top 20 bowl teams of all time. No Clemson. Gaze at the list of the 40 winningest programs in the history of college football. Still no Clemson. How about a list of the 80 best teams in regards to winning percentage? Gee, there must be a mistake, because Clemson can’t be found there, either.

So this brings us to the obvious question: Where did Clemson get the idea that it was so nationally prominent? Well, when you are a backward, know-nothing bumpkin, supporting a second-rate joke of a university located in a hole-in-the-road dump of a town, you settle for what you can get and convince yourself it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.

And that’s exactly what Clemson has done.

And with that, I just want Clemson to remember one thing before this weekend’s contest.

The Tigers may beat Georgia on Saturday, but regardless of the outcome, we will still be here and you will still be at Clemson. If given a choice between winning and being in your shoes, we’ll take losing every day of the week.

At least we won’t make a tradition out of it.

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