How did Clemson become elite overnight?

Gamecock Lifer

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Oct 8, 2008
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I've asked this question on the UGA board but most folks over there don't really have an answer and you'd never get a good answer on the Clemp site so maybe I should ask some of you who live in South Carolina. That program while yes had been consistent became a juggernaut in 2015. The year before they went 10-3 but had blowout losses to UGA & GT and even in the years before that they would have nice records but blowout losses to you guys & usually FSU or someone. So my question is how did they turn it around so quickly? They've had the OC/DC for years. Elite players for years. Did they just sell there soul or something?
One word- WATSON. He was the best in the game while he was at CU. Just as their current QB is the best in the game (except perhaps For Burrow) today.

Did they “sell their soul”? If by that you mean did they do a bunch of really shady recruiting stuff including even using a CHURCH to run money through and funnel to recruits? Rumors say yes but nothing has been proven. In the end the big change happened when Watson took over.
 

midline

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I dont think it was an overnight thing. They crept up on it, and started their improvement in recruiting when Bowden was still there. Had a bunch of folks off his last team that played in the pros. But for whatever reason, Bowden seemed to be able to take a program to that real good, but not great, level. That would have been more than satisfactory to those in charge at USC, but wasnt at Clemson. So Dabo falls into it. A natural recruiter that is also helped by the fact that during his era, the rest if the ACC goes into the tank. And then Watson comes along. Then they double down on that by getting Lawrence. Exceptional QBs make the difference when all else is in place.
 

TeamPlayer

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I don't follow the kid all that close, but most of what I've heard in passing is that people in the know believe DJ to be even better than Trevor.

It's all speculation, but there's no reason to believe they'll have a dropoff at the position. Timing works out perfect for Clemson. He'll get to be Trevor's understudy for Trevor's 3rd, and presumably, last year. Then he'll get to step in as the starter with a year in the program under his belt.

At least Clemson isn't in the mix for any of the top 2021 QBs.
2021 we will take a QB to come in and know he will be behind DJ, where
Clemson is looking is in 2022, and will offer 2QB's, one being from Georgia 5-star. The other is in Florida(5star), there is a 3rd in Tx that will be a high 4 maybe 5star that will be a contingent offer. We have 5-stars that are asking for offers right now that our staff can't commit too. It is a great time to be a TIGER fan.
 

USC75Grad

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In addition to Klemzun just being a football school, I have talked to lots of people over the years that didn't even know that Klemzun is located in the state of South Carolina. Many think that Klemzun is located in Georgia, with some thinking the taters operate out of Mississippi.

Many, if not most students that attend Klemzun are there for football tickets that are included in the tuition fees.

And, the wireless internet is terrible in the dorms.
 
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TeamPlayer

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In addition to Klemzun just being a football school, I have talked to lots of people over the years that didn't even know that Klemzun is located in the state of South Carolina. Many think that Klemzun is located in Georgia, with some thinking the taters operate out of Mississippi.

Many, if not most students that attend Klemzun are there for football tickets that are included in the tuition fees.

And, the wireless internet is terrible in the dorms.
That is almost shameful to type crap like that. Disrespecting your opponents is one thing out right lying makes you look small. I have 2 kids that graduated from UofSC, a daughter-in-law that is employed there and not a one would ever think or say what you did. I let them choose where to go to college and for their chosen fields it was a good choice and also UofSC paid for it. My son-in-law is a former football team captain, baseball team captain and is regarded as one of the toughest players you have ever had and he wouldn't say the stuff you did. Class and character is what you are when people aren't looking and it seems you have little of either! Oh btw, CLEMSON is a top-20 public institution and yours isn't, there is that.
It is great to talk football and have fun but being disrespectful isn't warranted or funny.
 
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USC75Grad

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That is almost shameful to type crap like that. Disrespecting your opponents is one thing out right lying makes you look small. I have 2 kids that graduated from UofSC, a daughter-in-law that is employed there and not a one would ever think or say what you did. I let them choose where to go to college and for their chosen fields it was a good choice and also UofSC paid for it. My son-in-law is a former football team captain, baseball team captain and is regarded as one of the toughest players you have ever had and he wouldn't say the stuff you did. Class and character is what you are when people aren't looking and it seems you have little of either! Oh btw, CLEMSON is a top-20 public institution and yours isn't, there is that.
It is great to talk football and have fun but being disrespectful isn't warranted or funny.
God Bless You!

From another Klemzun student: "When the Wi-Fi cuts out in the middle of an assignment you can often lose all the work you have done. This can cause a loss in time and energy and makes many people unhappy."
 

TeamPlayer

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God Bless You!

From another Klemzun student: "When the Wi-Fi cuts out in the middle of an assignment you can often lose all the work you have done. This can cause a loss in time and energy and makes many people unhappy."
Funny I have never heard that from any of my students that have went on to CLEMSON, but since many of my friends work in the IT department(including 2 department heads) at UofSC and I hear their horror stories I guess it is true at all Schools.
 
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TeamPlayer

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Funny I have never heard that from any of my students that have went on to CLEMSON, but since many of my friends work in the IT department(including 2 department heads) at UofSC and I hear their horror stories I guess it is true at all Schools.
BTW, I'm probably not the guy you want to debate with on these subjects since I have pretty good connections at both. If I don't know something I am one phone call away from getting the truth. No less than 4 of UofSC's top IT guys eat Thanksgiving supper and Christmas dinner with us.
 

USC75Grad

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BTW, I'm probably not the guy you want to debate with on these subjects since I have pretty good connections at both. If I don't know something I am one phone call away from getting the truth. No less than 4 of UofSC's top IT guys eat Thanksgiving supper and Christmas dinner with us.
I'm impressed!
 
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TeamPlayer

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I'm impressed!
If you knew them you would be. They are great people, very smart, living the life, and 2 are Gamecock fans, one's a Gator and one's pulls for Notre Dame, don't know how he got in the mix there. So we get insight from many different angles.
 

2TimeTiger

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When Dabo was hired, he recounted the story of how the BOT told him that they wanted a program that emulates Michigan, Stanford, Notre Dame, etc. - one that wins, graduates players, follows the rules and succeeds in a strong academic environment. He respectfully disagreed with them and said that he wanted a program that Michigan, Stanford and Notre Dame wanted to emulate. It has come to pass.

That is called vision. As several posters have said, the man has it and knows how to achieve it. You gotta give him his due.
 

GamecockJL

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They didn’t become elite overnight. While we were beating them they were winning 10 games a year. Dabo is very forward thinking... they were the first to really build a giant football ops facility. They built it as a recruiting tool and it has worked. Dabo got rid of Assistant coaches for better ones in Venables, and Elliott and Scott. Dabo has built a brand.
 
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This one is EASY. Clemson didn't become elite overnight. IMHO, Clemson was a very average team when Dabo took over. Most Clemson folks won't say that, but it's true. Being in the ACC got a couple of extra wins a year, but this was a 6-7 win football team in any other conference.

It took Dabo a couple of years to start building up, but the arrow has been pointed that way since the LSU bowl game.
 
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When Dabo was hired, he recounted the story of how the BOT told him that they wanted a program that emulates Michigan, Stanford, Notre Dame, etc. - one that wins, graduates players, follows the rules and succeeds in a strong academic environment. He respectfully disagreed with them and said that he wanted a program that Michigan, Stanford and Notre Dame wanted to emulate. It has come to pass.

That is called vision. As several posters have said, the man has it and knows how to achieve it. You gotta give him his due.
THIS. One of the first things he did was to get the BOT on his side. When President Clements was hired, Dabo recruited him as well. It's not a one way street though. Clemson players go to class, they get decent grades, they are respectful to faculty and staff, they graduate. AND they get Dabo's foot right up their asses if they don't do these things. Remember, Dabo has already recruited these kid's moms. All he has to do to keep these guys in line is make a phone call back home. THEN there's two feet up these player's butts.
A University is chock full of people that don't give a rat's ass about football. But everyone likes an underdog and when Dabo asks for a player to get in, these folks know that he walks the walk with focusing on education. So they give him what he wants and he bring in the bucks.
Dabo's vision is that education for these players and having a championship program are not mutually exclusive. Everyone at Clemson is on the same page and that makes everything easier.

Seriously, if any program's fans can appreciate a BOT, a President, Faculty and Staff, and Players/Coaches ALL on the same page and marching in step, it's you guys. It just makes Every. Single. Thing. easier. As Dabo says... it's hard to win. Every edge counts.
 

Clemsonu90

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Ugeleilu pardon my spelling, is nowhere near Trevor Lawrence....... He is a 5 star but he's a 5 star on tools alone.... Trevor was the total package from day 1..
there is another difference between the 2 of them. When DJ arrives on campus in January there will be an NFL caliber QB already there for him to learn from - Trevor. DJ won’t be expected to be the “next Deshaun Watson” like Trevor was. He will have a year to develop behind TL16. So in this case having the tools but still needing to develop them may not be such a bad thing.
 
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Expro19

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there is another difference between the 2 of them. When DJ arrives on campus in January there will be an NFL caliber QB already there for him to learn from - Trevor. DJ won’t be expected to be the “next Deshaun Watson” like Trevor was. He will have a year to develop behind TL16. So in this case having the tools but still needing to develop them may not be such a bad thing.
I agree, but there's some comparing him to Lawrence now and he's nowhere close the QB Lawrence was at the same time
 

cofcgamecock9

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It is a wonder to me how many here attribute Clemson's success to unproven allegations and refuse to recognize the characteristics of their program that are right in front of their eyes.

And, then, accuse those of us with a more practical and pragmatic view of "defending" Clemson.

Go ahead. Refuse to recognize what they are doing right, and go for something different because, well, they're Clemson and we aren't.

Nose, meet face.
Look, I am a SC fan so of course I have some bias. But I also tend to think of myself as a pretty objective person. I don't know anything for a fact because the allegations are unproven just like you said, but common sense tells me that Clemson (or Clemson boosters) were cheating pretty rampantly during the CJ Spiller and Sammy Watkins years. Are they cheating now? I have no idea. They certainly wouldn't have to because now they have a program that can sell itself. So maybe they got away with and now run a clean program.

But OBJECTIVELY, I think they were cheating when they went from a 7 win program (Tommy Bowden was fired for a reason) to a 10 win program.

1. They started recruiting 5 star national players too easily. When SC had its success, it was built on players from SC and Georgia. Clemson, as a mediocre program at the time, somehow turned 5 star kids away from Florida, FSU, Bama, etc? Doesn't pass
2. Pictures that showed up during that time of Clemson recruits holding wads and wads of cash. Can that kind of stuff happen everywhere with kids? Sure it can. But it happened frequently at Clemson. SC didn't have that issue.
3. Rashan Gary and Robert Nkemdiche. Clemson was the school Rashan Gary was talking about when he said a school offered him $300k. The Michigan writer who published the article about the $300k wouldn't print Clemson because he didn't have the proof needed. But he specifically mentioned them in Michigan circles and on air.

Again, I say this using objectivity... at least in my mind. Just like I can use my objective mind to feel pretty certain that Clowney was selling the hell out of autographs while at SC. I don't have any proof of it, but I have heard enough from enough people that I feel pretty confident it was happening.
 

Baltcock96

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I've asked this question on the UGA board but most folks over there don't really have an answer and you'd never get a good answer on the Clemp site so maybe I should ask some of you who live in South Carolina. That program while yes had been consistent became a juggernaut in 2015. The year before they went 10-3 but had blowout losses to UGA & GT and even in the years before that they would have nice records but blowout losses to you guys & usually FSU or someone. So my question is how did they turn it around so quickly? They've had the OC/DC for years. Elite players for years. Did they just sell there soul or something?
The short answer is Clemson's success was not overnight. Tommy Bowden's last full year was 9-4 following several 8-5 type years.

Even during our run of 3 11-2 seasons Clemson was not exactly slouches. They kept selling dreams to recruits. While Gamecock nation may consider him a used car salesman douche, Dabo has gained a reputation as a ceo type that can sell a vision that his players bought into.
 

SCsandlapper

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It happened over a long time.

Lots on here don’t want to hear it ( and constantly defend cu to no end - which is sickening), but it starts with the weak conference they play in.
1> year in and year out, they play a weak in-conference schedule which allows them to; a>rest starters, b> help avoid injury to said starters, and - perhaps most importantly - c> GET BACKUPS LOTS OF MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCE. This builds quality DEPTH!
2> early on in dabo’s tenure, cu loaded up on skill players. Skill players and the new Chad Morris offense made for an exciting brand of football. Good players took notice, and wanted to come play in that style offense (which was scoring points and winning games).
3> after losing to us 5yrs in a row, I believe cu finally started - or maybe in the midst of the 5 - to pay attention to athletes in the trenches. They greatly improved the quality of those guys to compliment their skill position talent
4> Cheating. Do they do it? Some say everybody does (if WE do, we’re apparently really, really, REALLY bad at it). There is the fact of positive test results for ostarine. Argue that fact if you like. I’ll leave the Newspring issue out of my reasons since there’s no absolute smoking gun. But I believe bending the rules plays a part up thar.

At this point, they have a system that just feeds and sustains itself. Winning begets winning. And at this point, going back to point #1, having an easy 8-10 wins per year makes it easy to sustain.
The ostarine is a weak point IMO. Pretty funny when all you can find is trace amounts which will not build any muscle.
 

USC75Grad

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"The University of Georgia released a statement on Dec. 11 stating a Clemson University student is responsible for drawing the swastikas that were drawn on doors in Russell Hall in November."
 

kidrobinski

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The short answer is Clemson's success was not overnight. Tommy Bowden's last full year was 9-4 following several 8-5 type years.
Lol. Baloney.

9-4 and 8-5 in the ACC is not particularly dominant my friend.

It was overnight; maybe its legit, who knows for now, but it can't be spun into something else.
 
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Lol. Baloney.

9-4 and 8-5 in the ACC is not particularly dominant my friend.

It was overnight; maybe its legit, who knows for now, but it can't be spun into something else.
This is silly... OF COURSE it was gradual. Did you even look up Clemson's schedules?

Dabo's 1st full season (2009) was 9-5 (ACC Atlantic Title but lost the ACCC game to Georgia Tech).

His 2nd season was a losing one 6-7. Does that count as overnight?

Let's check out 2011. That's the 1st of Dabo's 10 win seasons AND his first ACC conference championship. FSU was down (9-4) and that season included a 31-13 ass whipping by USC, a 37-13 beat down by NC State, and that close loss in the Orange Bowl to West Virginia (70-33). Is that elite? I'm going to go out on a limb and say nope.

On to 2012 (that's Dabo's 4th year... that's hardly overnight is it?). This was a good year for Clemson football and I consider it the turning point where Clemson BEGAN to be elite. It still includes losses to FSU and USC, but the win over LSU at the end showed that this was a program on the rise.

2013... Ditto. Two losses (USC and FSU again), but another BIG bowl win over Ohio State.

2014 was a bit of a let down (Cole Stoudt at QB) lost us a couple, but some kid named Watson, got us a win vs USC on one leg. Add in whipping #4 Oklahoma's ass and everyone felt pretty good headed into 2015. You know the rest.

Again, Clemson didn't really start taking off until 2012, and you can make a case for 2015. Either way, your "overnight" narrative is just plain wrong.
 

Cock In Space

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Out there
That is almost shameful to type crap like that. Disrespecting your opponents is one thing out right lying makes you look small. I have 2 kids that graduated from UofSC, a daughter-in-law that is employed there and not a one would ever think or say what you did. I let them choose where to go to college and for their chosen fields it was a good choice and also UofSC paid for it. My son-in-law is a former football team captain, baseball team captain and is regarded as one of the toughest players you have ever had and he wouldn't say the stuff you did. Class and character is what you are when people aren't looking and it seems you have little of either! Oh btw, CLEMSON is a top-20 public institution and yours isn't, there is that.
It is great to talk football and have fun but being disrespectful isn't warranted or funny.
I will call the Deacons at Newspring tomm. and demand they address the wi-fi situation in the dorms.
Surely this is an affront to God and Dabo.
 

ExpatCarolinian

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2014 was a bit of a let down (Cole Stoudt at QB) lost us a couple, but some kid named Watson, got us a win vs USC on one leg. Add in whipping #4 Oklahoma's ass and everyone felt pretty good headed into 2015. You know the rest.
If OU was #4 in 2014 they would have been in the CFP. In fact, they were 8-4 and unranked when Clem beat them that year. Facts matter.
 
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If OU was #4 in 2014 they would have been in the CFP. In fact, they were 8-4 and unranked when Clem beat them that year. Facts matter.

You are correct, I pulled that info from Clemson's schedule on Yahoo. Here it is:

Date Home/Away Opponent Status Score Buy Tickets
Sat, Aug 30
@
(5) Georgia L 45 - 21
Sat, Sep 6
vs
S. Carolina St. W 73 - 7
Sat, Sep 20
@
Florida St. L 23 - 17


Bye Week


Sat, Sep 27
vs
N. Carolina W 50 - 35
Sat, Oct 4
vs
N.C. State W 41 - 0
Sat, Oct 11
vs
Louisville W 23 - 17
Sat, Oct 18
@
Boston Coll. W 17 - 13
Sat, Oct 25
vs
Syracuse W 16 - 6
Thu, Nov 6
@
Wake Forest W 34 - 20
Sat, Nov 15
@
Georgia Tech L 28 - 6
Sat, Nov 22
vs
Georgia St. W 28 - 0
Sat, Nov 29
vs
South Carolina W 35 - 17
Mon, Dec 29
(Postseason) vs
(4) Oklahoma W 40 - 6

I assumed that the (4) was the ranking, but obviously that's not the case. Any idea what that (4) means? I was definitely wrong on the details, but correct in my larger argument.
 

caitspa1

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Look, I am a SC fan so of course I have some bias. But I also tend to think of myself as a pretty objective person. I don't know anything for a fact because the allegations are unproven just like you said, but common sense tells me that Clemson (or Clemson boosters) were cheating pretty rampantly during the CJ Spiller and Sammy Watkins years. Are they cheating now? I have no idea. They certainly wouldn't have to because now they have a program that can sell itself. So maybe they got away with and now run a clean program.

But OBJECTIVELY, I think they were cheating when they went from a 7 win program (Tommy Bowden was fired for a reason) to a 10 win program.

1. They started recruiting 5 star national players too easily. When SC had its success, it was built on players from SC and Georgia. Clemson, as a mediocre program at the time, somehow turned 5 star kids away from Florida, FSU, Bama, etc? Doesn't pass
2. Pictures that showed up during that time of Clemson recruits holding wads and wads of cash. Can that kind of stuff happen everywhere with kids? Sure it can. But it happened frequently at Clemson. SC didn't have that issue.
3. Rashan Gary and Robert Nkemdiche. Clemson was the school Rashan Gary was talking about when he said a school offered him $300k. The Michigan writer who published the article about the $300k wouldn't print Clemson because he didn't have the proof needed. But he specifically mentioned them in Michigan circles and on air.

Again, I say this using objectivity... at least in my mind. Just like I can use my objective mind to feel pretty certain that Clowney was selling the hell out of autographs while at SC. I don't have any proof of it, but I have heard enough from enough people that I feel pretty confident it was happening.
How did UofSC get 2 5 Stars coming off a 4-8 season with a lame duck coach?
 

ExpatCarolinian

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Jul 25, 2016
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You are correct, I pulled that info from Clemson's schedule on Yahoo. Here it is:

Date Home/Away Opponent Status Score Buy Tickets
Sat, Aug 30
@
(5) Georgia L 45 - 21
Sat, Sep 6
vs
S. Carolina St. W 73 - 7
Sat, Sep 20
@
Florida St. L 23 - 17


Bye Week


Sat, Sep 27
vs
N. Carolina W 50 - 35
Sat, Oct 4
vs
N.C. State W 41 - 0
Sat, Oct 11
vs
Louisville W 23 - 17
Sat, Oct 18
@
Boston Coll. W 17 - 13
Sat, Oct 25
vs
Syracuse W 16 - 6
Thu, Nov 6
@
Wake Forest W 34 - 20
Sat, Nov 15
@
Georgia Tech L 28 - 6
Sat, Nov 22
vs
Georgia St. W 28 - 0
Sat, Nov 29
vs
South Carolina W 35 - 17
Mon, Dec 29
(Postseason) vs
(4) Oklahoma W 40 - 6

I assumed that the (4) was the ranking, but obviously that's not the case. Any idea what that (4) means? I was definitely wrong on the details, but correct in my larger argument.
Not sure. Maybe these are current rankings applied to 2014 which would make zero sense. But, I think FSU would have been ranked in 2014 when they were defending champs and won 13 more before losing to Oregon.
 

Chumpenstein

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Oct 12, 2019
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You are correct, I pulled that info from Clemson's schedule on Yahoo. Here it is:

Date Home/Away Opponent Status Score Buy Tickets
Sat, Aug 30
@
(5) Georgia L 45 - 21
Sat, Sep 6
vs
S. Carolina St. W 73 - 7
Sat, Sep 20
@
Florida St. L 23 - 17


Bye Week


Sat, Sep 27
vs
N. Carolina W 50 - 35
Sat, Oct 4
vs
N.C. State W 41 - 0
Sat, Oct 11
vs
Louisville W 23 - 17
Sat, Oct 18
@
Boston Coll. W 17 - 13
Sat, Oct 25
vs
Syracuse W 16 - 6
Thu, Nov 6
@
Wake Forest W 34 - 20
Sat, Nov 15
@
Georgia Tech L 28 - 6
Sat, Nov 22
vs
Georgia St. W 28 - 0
Sat, Nov 29
vs
South Carolina W 35 - 17
Mon, Dec 29
(Postseason) vs
(4) Oklahoma W 40 - 6

I assumed that the (4) was the ranking, but obviously that's not the case. Any idea what that (4) means? I was definitely wrong on the details, but correct in my larger argument.
They were ranked #4 for the first five weeks of the season. Bowltime, they were unranked exceptin the coaches poll at #24.
 

uscmustwin

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On to 2012 (that's Dabo's 4th year... that's hardly overnight is it?). This was a good year for Clemson football and I consider it the turning point where Clemson BEGAN to be elite. It still includes losses to FSU and USC, but the win over LSU at the end showed that this was a program on the rise.

And Muschamp's fourth year was 4-8 with a loss to Appalachian State. I sincerely hope he learned something from it, but I just don't know. As usual, we are behind the ball.