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Not the Same Ol’ Clemson

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Fueled by a characteristically dominant offensive output and a series of key defensive adjustments after a slow start, the Clemson Tigers held on to topple the Georgia Bulldogs 38-35 late Saturday night.

Depending on the context, becoming an official entry on the popular website Urban Dictionary can signify tremendous accomplishment and achievement.

For the Clemson Tigers, however, having their school’s name turned into a verb proved to be a rather dubious distinction.

Defined by Urban Dictionary as “the act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season,” the term “Clemsoning” has become synonymous with disappointment on the gridiron.

With the eyes of the nation eagerly fixated upon Death Valley with the Tigers taking on No. 5 Georgia in a highly-anticipated bout between a pair of preseason top 10 teams, the 2013 Clemson squad set out to show that the program is no longer to be linked with futility on the gridiron.

Point proven.

Fueled by a characteristically dominant offensive output and a series of key defensive adjustments after a slow start, the Tigers held on to topple the Bulldogs 38-35 late Saturday night.

A season-opening victory is certainly to be considered a positive for any FBS program. But for a Clemson program trying to shake off an unenviable national reputation and live up to legitimate preseason national title expectations, this victory did more than simply moved the Tigers to 1-0; it gave the program the confidence needed to potentially capitalize on those championship aspirations.

Coupled with last season’s season-ending victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Tigers have now won back-to-back games against top 10 teams from the SEC. Given the SEC’s recent dominance of the college football landscape, the significance of such an occurrence cannot be overstated.

As the polls sit currently, Clemson has just two remaining games against teams ranked in the top 25: against Florida State on October 19 and at South Carolina on November 30. Barring a slip-up between now and the middle of next month, the Tigers should be strong favorites at home against a relatively inexperienced Seminoles squad. The trip to Columbia could prove to be more difficult, but the Tigers feel like they are due for a victory after losing four straight in the series.

Confidence and tangible momentum are two things which have been absent from Death Valley for the last decade.

As of Saturday night, the Tigers now have both, as well as a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

It has been 32 seasons since the Tigers have brought a national championship back to the Palmetto State.

And while there is still much work to be done if Dabo Swinney’s group wishes to hoist the hardware this January, the conditions have never been better for a magical season in Death Valley.

Don’t look now, college football fans, but this is not the same Clemson team you have grown accustom to watching.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.