Josh Pate believes ‘There’s no definitive proof that they’ve fallen off’ regarding Clemson

Dabo Swinney has helped build Clemson into a powerhouse in college football, but many question the program’s leader and believe that the Tigers have “fallen off” during the NIL era of the sport. 

Someone who isn’t buying the falloff is 247Sports analyst Josh Pate. In a recent edition of Late Kick with Josh Pate, the analyst labeled Clemson as a top 10 college football program. Ranking No. 10, Pate still sees the Tigers as one of the top programs in the country, with Swinney leading the program. 

“I think it’s important to use the same scale here. By the Clemson scale, it feels like this program has ‘fallen off’ so to speak a lot more than they actually have,” Pate said. “So by the Clemson scale, you ought to be right in the thick of the national championship conversation every year, and they haven’t necessarily been that the last couple of years. That’s not the worst thing in the world. In the storm-chasing world, sometimes we have a tornadic supercell. It’s already got a history of producing and then it has to cycle…Well, Clemson, maybe they’re just backbuilding. Maybe they’re just cycling. There’s no definitive proof that they’ve fallen off. And by the way, fallen off is a first-world term here.”

“It’s why I’m talking about scale. If you use the same scale for Clemson as you do for everyone else, they’re still winning a lot of games. I’m not putting them in the Top 5, by the way. So don’t argue with me that they’re overrated if you’re going to…I do have them ahead of a Tennessee or a Utah because the results have been comparable, and I still think there’s a lot to say for the stability there. I think there’s a lot to say for the culture there.”

Pate makes some excellent points here regarding the scale in which you assess Clemson as a program. While the Tigers haven’t been in the conversation for a National Championship recently, there is no definitive proof that they have fallen off as a program.

Like other things, football can come in waves. Michigan recently won the National Championship for the first time since 1997. Are they not a top-tier program? Of course, they are. It is important to understand that you will not always be that top dog.

“Now, I think a lot of people have opinions on their talent acquisition strategy and how resistant they’ve been to really embracing the transfer portal,” Pate said. “We’ve talked about that a lot on the show. Difference is Dabo Swinney isn’t a rookie head coach. Might he be stubborn on this front? Might he be really entrenched in his ways? Yeah, but at least there’s a proven philosophy there. And so, if he’s going to fail, it really will just be because they didn’t evolve with the game, but I’m always going to give guys with proven track records benefit of the doubt. It wouldn’t be the first time that the sport has sort of left a philosophy behind or passed a philosophy by. But it’s also well within his right to continue to evolve, too.

“And just because they’ve had a 9-10 win season the last couple years, I don’t start etching dates in their headstone. I’m not quite there yet. I have them well down — imagine a few years ago saying they’re barely in the Top 10 of college football programs. Again, it’s a very first-world slight to throw at someone. They could elevate as well. We’ll see. Hearing some good things about a certain freshman receiver over there, Cade Klubnik offense this year — Garrett Riley second year as the coordinator, we’ll see.”

Pate has a rational thought process here that is tough to argue against. It’s just incredibly easy for people to see a decline and immediately assume the world is ending. Clemson’s world is not ending!

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire