Clemson Tigers: Their Chance to Get Back on Top of the College Football World

Kevin ThomasContributor IISeptember 16, 2011

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Cheerleaders of the Clemson Tigers wave their flag during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The more I think about it, the more I believe that these next three Clemson games are going to shape the direction or future of their football program for the coming years. (vs. Auburn, vs. Florida State, at Virginia Tech)

The Tigers are about to face three ranked teams in a row, with two of them probably being in the top 10. Clemson needs to come out and show that they can play with the best on a weekly basis.

These three games will help change the culture around the program, and give their players and fans a feeling that they can win every game they play and it will give them a "swagger" that they're somewhat lacking.

These three weeks can catapult Clemson to championships in the coming years. However, on the flip-side, if Clemson comes out and under-performs in all of these games and takes three losses, they'll keep the same culture they've had for years and have the fans and players believing that they're just a decent team that will win seven or so games a year.

The Tigers have had that same feeling throughout the Tommy West, Tommy Bowden and, so far, the Dabo Swinney years. That's why I believe this weekend starts the biggest three-game stretch in Clemson football in 20 years.

In this weekend's game against Auburn, the Clemson Tigers can take a huge step towards restoring themselves as a big-time college football program that competes for championships every single season. 

Clemson's game against Auburn is Saturday, September 17. The game is in Clemson and scheduled for a noon start and is to be aired on ABC.

For more Clemson sports (and sports in general) updates and thoughts on everyday life as well, follow me on Twitter @K_Mart10.