Do you realize how long it’s been since the most passionate fan base in the ACC has been rewarded with a conference championship? Here’s a clue, half the students there now weren’t even alive the last time they won the conference! Clemson last won the ACC in 1991, well before there was a championship game.
This has been a very unexpected dream season for the Tigers (although we should always expect success from Clemson in an odd numbered years), as they sit at 9-1 with road games at NC State and USC remaining before the conference title bout with Virginia Tech. Clemson played their fifth game of the season at Lane Stadium against the Hokies and completely embarrassed them, 23-3. Tiger fans should therefore be very confident that they’ll be able to take care of the Hokies in a neutral or even mostly orange site, right?
While most of us Tiger fans are glad we don’t have to face the Yellow Jackets again, we’re not exactly thrilled to face VT either. Clemson’s early season shellacking of VT, was their first win against them since 1989. VT is playing much better now than they were at the start of the season (a common theme for VT teams?), conversely, Clemson is playing much worse. In Clemson’s signature stretch against Auburn, FSU, and @VT they allowed 57 points. In their last three games they’ve surrendered 97 points. The offense has also seemed to regress since their 59 point thrashing of those dirty, dirty Tar Heels.
Since FSU began competing for the ACC football championship in 1992, Clemson hasn’t won the conference. FSU took over the conference winning at least a share of the title each season from 1992-2000. They won another two in 2002 and 2003. Then the power began to shift to VT, who has owned the conference of late winning four of the last seven championships (FSU won the first ever ACCCG in 2005, Wake Forest won in 2006, and no champion was crowned in 2009 when GT beat Clemson, but lost the title amid scandal.)
For years the big goal for the Clemson football program has been to win a conference title. The failure to do so ended up costing Tommy Bowden his job. During my four years at Clemson, that was always my goal for the team. I graduated without that goal ever being met, but just a year after we’re incredibly close. Clemson enters each season with four clear goals.
Win The Openers
Win The Atlantic Division Championship
- Win The State Championship (vs. USC)
- Win The ACC Championship
This year they have a chance to accomplish all four. Clemson has been the ACC’s saving grace this season, as the only team garnering any positive attention for the conference. They easily have the most passionate, best traveling fan base, and they’ve been pretty deprived for quite a while, as teams with less interested fans like Georgia Tech have ruined their dreams time and time again. To those without a rooting interest, may I suggest you pull for Clemson, if not for the ACC’s sake, then for the sake of those thousands of orange clad fans who can’t handle another disappointment from their beloved Clemson Tigers.
So, who will you be rooting for in this year’s ACC Championship Game and who do you think will be crowned champion?
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