Why This Is the Year Dabo Swinney Puts 'Clemsoning' to Rest for Good

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2013

Nobody wants to be caught "Clemsoning," which is the college football equivalent of giving a presentation at school with your fly down.

Well, at least it used to be. Now, this 2013 Clemson team is bringing a whole new meaning to the term.

In fact, thanks to the success of CU this season, there's even a new addition to the term's entry on Urban Dictionary.

The original definition, added in Nov. 21, 2011, read:

The act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season.

(Ex.) Oklahoma State's overtime loss to an unranked Iowa State was a full-blown Clemsoning.

Back then, that definition was spot on. The 2011 season brought plenty of Clemsoning, as the Tigers dropped two games to unranked ACC foes while ranked in the Top 10, including a 37-13 loss to North Carolina State two days before that entry was created.

To cap that disappointing season of Clemsoning, the Tigers were rocked as heavy favorites against West Virginia, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.

This season, though, a new definition has come about. Not long after the Tigers took down No. 5 Georgia to start the year, a new entry was created.

In college football, beating two top-ten ranked SEC teams in a row or beating multiple ranked SEC teams in a season.

(Ex.) I can't believe how the ACC is Clemsoning the SEC this year.

As that definition alluded to, Clemson's win over UGA was its second in a row over an SEC team ranked in the Top 10. The Tigers topped then-No. 8 LSU, 25-24, in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. 

That win on New Year's Eve brought an early beginning on a year of change for CU. The Tigers took that win over LSU and carried it into 2013, delivering an inexplicably impressive performance in beating Georgia.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing for the Tigers, though. In fact, they have almost Clemsoned (by the original definition) twice already this season. 

The Clemsoning alert reached yellow when they had a lackluster performance in their ACC opener on the road against NC State, though they escaped Raleigh with a 26-14 win.

Shortly after that close call, CU head coach Dabo Swinney sounded off to TigerNet.com about his feelings on "Clemsoning" and how his team was out to buck that trend:

It’s really kind of a joke to be honest with you. So what if we lose a ball game? How many teams don’t lose a ballgame? It’s a joke...It just gets old. It’s disrespectful to our players...It doesn’t seem to matter what we do. Certain people have their own agendas. That’s just the way it is. We just focus on trying to be our best.

Not long after, the Clemsoning alert was bumped up to orange when the Tigers trailed Boston College at home 14-10 at the start of the fourth quarter. However, the sirens turned down when Tajh Boyd punched in a six-yard touchdown and later clicked off when defensive end Vic Beasley returned a fumble for a touchdown to give CU a 24-14 lead.

The Clemsoning alert level will be at a white-hot DEFCON 1 (Clemsoning imminent) when the Tigers host No. 5 Florida State.

However, this time, the Tigers won't choke, because they have all the pieces in place that were missing in the past. This time, Boyd and Beasley will be there to unplug the alarm.

With an experienced and poised leader under center and playmakers all around him, the CU offense is set. Boyd is the No. 1 passer in the ACC, averaging 297 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 12: Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Boston College Eagles at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
Tyler Smith/Getty Images

He'll be throwing to a talented trio of Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Adam Humphries.

Boyd and the passing game, along with his rushing and the strong play of running back Roderick McDowell, have CU as the No. 2 total offense in the conference.

But even in the past, Clemson has had a strong offense. The biggest difference this time around won't be the poise of Boyd, but the tenacity of the Tiger defenders.

In just his second year as the defensive coordinator at Clemson, Brent Venables has made a major impact.

CU ranked in the bottom half of the league in total defense in 2011 and 2012 but is back up to fourth in both yards and points allowed.

The Tiger defense starts up front, where they are one of the best in the nation. Clemson ranks No. 1 with 61 tackles for a loss and No. 2 with 24 sacks.

The charge up front has been led by Beasley, Corey Crawford, Grady Jarrett and Shaq Lawson, as well as the linebacking duo of Stephone Anthony and Spencer Shuey.

They'll all be instrumental in containing Florida State's star quarterback Jameis Winston, as well as FSU's trio of running backs Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr.

Even beyond this tilt with FSU, that defensive effort will keep Clemson close, even against those opponents with nothing to lose that will be out to send the Tigers back to their 2011-12 Clemsoning ways.

From there, they'll look back at Boyd to seal the deal offensively.

The story has been told before of a Clemson team ranked in the Top Five with its sights set on a national title berth.

That story usually ends as a tragedy, but this time, Clemson will close the book on the Clemsoning saga.


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