DG: Numbers Don't Support 'Clemson-ing'

Clemson recorded a victory over Notre Dame this weekend and moved up to #6 in both the AP and Coaches polls. While the term (and reputation) “Clemson-ing” became a popular reference in noting the Tigers’ underachievement over the years, David Glenn pointed out on his radio show Monday that the facts don’t support it under Swinney’s tenure.

Listen to DG’s full take here: David Glenn Talks Clemson Football  

David Glenn HeadshotFor those who are used to hearing the word, “Clemsoning,” you’ve got to get the facts right. Sometimes a reputation can grow to be so strong — so deeply rooted — that you just assume that the reputation continues forward forever. As a “follow the evidence” guy — trained at Journalism School, trained as a lawyer who practiced for 17 years — I don’t listen to a label and assume it’s true forever. Or ad infinitum, as the lawyers might say. I actually follow, does “Clemsoning” still mean “Clemsoning”? Is the label still deserved? What did it mean in the first place? A lot of different definitions, but one of them is when Clemson’s talented, when Clemson’s promising, when Clemson’s soaring in the rankings, they’re going to find an unacceptable way to stub their toes. That would be one definition of “Clemsoning.” Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Tigers — remember, never a head coach until promoted from interim head coach after he took over for Tommy Bowden after being a Bowden assistant for a while. Clemson took a chance on him years ago as a first-time head coach. In 48 home games (following the Notre Dame game), he is 42-6. Those are not normal numbers. Those are not “Clemsoning” numbers. Those are not “roll your eyes” numbers. Those are legends of college football numbers. Dabo Swinney is 42-6 at home. And how about this? The Atlantic Coast Conference dates to the early 1950s. Do you know how many head coaches of ACC football programs have better winning percentages than Dabo Swinney, who has won about 72 percent of his games with the Clemson Tigers as the head coach. The answer is there are five — the five ACC head coaches who have won a higher percentages of their games — this is forever, now — than Dabo Swinney’s current 72 percent. Let’s just say you know the names of all five. Because some are retired legends, and others are still coaching legends. But when you hear this list of the best winning percentages while coaching an ACC football team. You had to be coaching while in the ACC. But not conference record. Overall record while coaching in the ACC. Dabo is sixth all-time. He has the best talent in the ACC. Do you know why your team is not as highly-ranked, or as promising a candidate for the College Football Playoff as Dabo’s team? Because he has more Jimmys and Joes than you do. Duke has Jeremy Cash, one of the best players at any position in the ACC. Star safety who led the Blue Devils to that 9-7 win over Boston College. Duke won without scoring a touchdown for the first time since 1978, because of that defense led by Jeremy Cash. North Carolina has high-end talent like Marquise Williams. Like an Elijah Hood at running back, and a few others. Clemson has Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Three touchdowns against the Irish. Wayne Gallman at running back. Artavis Scott and the injured Mike Williams at wide receiver. Shaq Lawson at defensive end. Mackenzie Alexander at cornerback. All of these guys are very high-end players, and they have a bunch of others who are good players to go with them. Nobody else in the ACC can say that right now, including Florida State. The seminoles are closest to what the Tigers have to offer. But thanks to Dabo’s top ten recruiting most years. Thanks to Dabo already breaking through for an ACC title in his tenure in football, that brands the image of Death Valley, and the Tiger paw, in a way that reckons back to the Danny Ford, national championship era, and a lot of ACC titles back in the ‘80s, and before that. I’m not saying Clemson is going to go 12-0. I just think they’re a legitimate team. When you look at Ohio State’s struggles, Michigan State’s struggles — everybody has had issues. And when you look at Clemson’s positives — now, they don’t have a great offensive line, but the positives far outweigh their negatives. Notre Dame, a top dozen or so team, tried to exploit the Tigers’ weaknesses, but felt short by two in the end, 24-22. Dabo over Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish. Clemson has 35 players in the NFL right now. And there are only four schools in the Power Five leagues that have a better record from 2011 forward. The Tigers are 46-11. 46 wins and 11 losses. Only Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, and Ohio State have better records in the entire Power Five conferences — that’s 60-plus teams — than the Clemson Tigers since 2011. That’s a great neighborhood to be in. Clemson belongs there. And they reminded us on national TV against the Irish.