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Could Clemson Trump The SEC In January?

clemson-tigers-logo-copyClemson 38, Georgia 35.

While the a young Bulldog team put up quite a fight at a rocking Death Valley on Saturday, it was the Tigers of the ACC who prevailed.  Whether that victory will turn out to be a statement victory for John Swofford’s conference is yet to be determined, but it was certainly a statement win for Clemson and Dabo Swinney.

Clemson is now a robust 3-1 against SEC competition since the dawn of the 2012 season.  Those scores:


Clemson 26, Auburn 19 (in Atlanta)

South Carolina 27, Clemson 17 (at Clemson)

Clemson 25, LSU 24 (in Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta)

Clemson 38, Georgia 35 (at Clemson)


Tossing out the Auburn game, you’ll notice that the Tigers are now 2-1 against SEC squads who went bowling last season.  There are eight SEC programs who can’t match that mark.  And of the six that can match it, none can better it:


  School   Record Vs Last 3 SEC Bowl Teams   Results
  Alabama   2-1   Beat LSU, UGA… Lost A&M
  Arkansas   0-3   Lost USC, MSU, LSU
  Auburn   0-3   Lost A&M, UGA, ALA
  Florida   2-1   Beat VU, USC… Lost UGA
  Georgia   2-1   Beat UF, UM… Lost ALA
  Kentucky   0-3   Lost USC, MSU, UGA
  LSU   2-1   Beat MSU, UM… Lost ALA
  Miss. State   0-3   Lost A&M, LSU, UM
  Missouri   0-3   Lost ALA, UF, A&M
  Ole Miss   2-1   Beat VU (’13), MSU… Lost LSU
  S. Carolina   1-2   Beat UGA, Lost LSU, UF
  Tennessee   0-3   Lost ALA, USC, VU
  Texas A&M   2-1   Beat MSU, ALA… Lost LSU
  Vanderbilt   1-2   Beat UM (’12)… Lost UF, UM (’13)


Obviously, Clemson’s running in pretty good company.  As a result, Swinney’s team has climbed the national rankings to #4 in the AP Poll and to #5 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.  That makes them a bonafide threat to the SEC’s run of seven straight BCS championships.

Clemson’s 2013 schedule shapes up rather nicely, too.  The Tigers will face South Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Florida State (likely their biggest in-league challenge), Georgia Tech and The Citadel at home.  They travel to NC State, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.  Then there’s the ACC Championship Game should the Tigers win their division.

Now anything can happen in college football, but it’s certainly possible that the only thing standing between Clemson and a slot in the BCS Championship Game might turn out to be its annual year-ending war with the Gamecocks.  Carolina has won the last four in a row in the series and that’s USC’s longest win streak over the Tigers since the early-1950s.

We know full well that the SEC boasts the lion’s share of the nation’s top athletes — 63 were selected by NFL teams last season — but the ACC has stockpiled some talent, too.  While Mike Slive’s league was doubling up the field back in April, the Atlantic Coast Conference sent the second largest contingent of players to the National Football League (30 draft picks).

Eventually, some school is going to snap the SEC’s streak of consecutive national crowns.  Oregon and Stanford face easy paths — at least on paper — in the Pac-12 while Ohio State is expected to coast through the Big Ten.  Any of those three teams could nudge past a one-loss SEC team into the final BCS Championship Game.

But we’ll be keeping an eye on a team a little closer to home.  Clemson has the high-ranking, the talent, the loud home field, and the favorable schedule necessary to make a serious title run in 2013.  And as Auburn, LSU and Georgia can attest, they’ve already proven in 2012 and 2013 that they can run with the SEC big dogs.


Gamecock in ATL
Gamecock in ATL

I'm probably biased, but either way am not buying the Tigers yet. I'm sorry, but a BCS champ team does not give up 550 yards at home. I think the national media is looking for a new storyline, and I expect it to perpetuate in the coming weeks as Clemson has some easy games coming up next. But a 3-pt win over UGA does not equal NC status. Take that from a Cock fan that has beaten UGA 3 times in a row but has never even made a BCS bowl.

All of that said, kudos to Clemson for some very crafty scheduling. Having 3 marquee games, perfectly spread out, is about as good as it gets.


Florida also beat LSU so should they be 3-1?


its a Gamecocks best dream come true, ending a undefeated Clemson's perfect season and dashing there BCS title hopes ..........keep reading this story is going to have a great ending!


Take nine conference games in a big 5 conference, add 2 excellent non-conference games vs. UGA and USC, run the table, and you are in the national championship game. You still have to run the table, though.


this is very espnish of you mrsec

UGA lost Mitchell and had Gurly banged up as well as suspensions and barely lost on the road.

Not to mention its not uncommon for UGA to fall on its face early in any given season.

LSU admitted they didnt even want to play in the bowl game.

I am all for seeing what Clemson does long term before thinking they are the next BCS champs.


Clemson will pull a clemson and loose to maryland, then get stomped out by SCar again. 


@the_voice You think Louisville may be the team that gets the shaft this year?  


Oh... Ok. My bad. But you are right. Clemson could be a great team on the road to the BCS title, but they always seem to lose to someone they shouldn't. Guess we will see!


@Tusk @the_voice After one game, who knows. The AAC isn't getting any respect, but I'm not certain they deserve much, either. Mostly a CUSA 2.0. All that to say I can't imagine a likely scenario where anyone outside of the big five conferences makes it to the final two.


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