Is this the season that Clemson makes a serious run at the national championship?
Thanks to five touchdowns from quarterback Tajh Boyd, the Tigers took the lead in the third quarter and beat Georgia 38-35 in the opening weekend's only matchup of top 10 teams.
Of those five touchdowns, Boyd threw for three and ran for two. His longest TD pass of the night was a 77 yarder to Sammy Watkins, just seconds after Georgia running back Todd Gurley had ran for a 75 yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
After the game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney proudly pointed out that the Tigers had beaten two straight SEC opponents ranked in the top 10. In last year's Chik-Fil-A Bowl, Clemson took down LSU after a late drive led by Boyd led to a game-winning field goal.
And we all know that the SEC has won the last seven titles; does this mean Clemson is one of the best bets outside of the SEC to be holding the crystal trophy in Pasadena?
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The schedule is favorable. As of now, the only two ranked teams on Clemson's schedule are Florida State on October 19 and South Carolina on November 30. Those are also the teams that Clemson lost to last year.
But this is the team that has brought us "Clemsoning," a word that has become so common that it has its own entry into Urban Dictionary. Why? Because the Tigers have been known to deliver exceptionally bad performances against significantly weaker opponents.
That wasn't Georgia. Despite a defense that just returned two starters, the Bulldogs came into the game at No. 5 on the strength of its offense, which racked up 545 yards. However, that offense stalled on the Clemson 5 late in the third quarter trailing 31-28. The Bulldogs ran three straight running plays yet only got to the 2 and settled for a game-tying field goal attempt. But the snap was high and the holder couldn't place it. Georgia never got that close to the lead again. (The Dr. Saturday blogger who picked Georgia to win the BCS shall remain nameless.)
Last year Clemson avoided any Clemsoning. Florida State was ranked higher and South Carolina was Clemson's poll neighbor. If the dreams of winning its first national title since 1981 are to come true, not only will Clemsoning have to be avoided, but so will an in-division loss to the 'Noles. And a third straight win over a top 10 SEC team will certainly help.
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