2015 Clemson Football: Survive and Advance


The Clemson football team “survived and advanced” after a win against Louisville Thursday night. That phrase may be the theme of the season for the Tigers.

The phrase “Survive and Advance” gets thrown around a lot in the sports world. It is used to describe teams as they begin play off runs, but it also applies to teams that just escape with a win to keep their season alive. Both, in my opinion, fit the definition of what this Clemson football team has to do and has done at this point in the season.

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Clemson football was able to beat a win-less Louisville team Thursday night on the road by a score of 20-17. Many Clemson football fans are not impressed with this score and believe the Tigers need to improve greatly to have any success this season. While I do agree there is an astronomical amount of areas in which this team can improve, there are several teams around the country (USC, for example) that wish they can be in the place the Tigers are in.

College Football Playoff hopes were on the line. Should Clemson lose that game, there is no guarantee they get another chance, even with wins over Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Florida State. The Tigers survived what was Louisville’s “marked game of the season” and were able to escape with a 3-0 record.

Unfortunately, Clemson does not get the benefit of the doubt. Alabama lost this past weekend, but they will be back in the top-10 as soon as they win another couple of games. Even USC, who lost this weekend, will have another opportunity at the playoffs. Clemson on the other hand, will not get the cushion some of these other programs get. One loss for the Tigers probably means “done” and two losses definitely does.

This being said, I would like to look back at a former national championship program that is very close to the Clemson football program. That team is the Florida State Seminoles. The ‘Noles won the final BCS Championship ever in 2013 before the College Football Playoff system was put into place. What I want to focus on, however, is their season last year where they attempted to repeat.

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It was no question who the ACC favorite was coming into the 2014 season. Jameis Winston was returning, as well as a whole host of play makers and talented guys on both sides of the ball. What did this mean for FSU? It meant they were going to get everyone’s best effort.

The Seminoles opened up the season against Oklahoma State and came back to beat the Cowboys 37-31. Three games into the season, they got Clemson at home in which they beat the Tigers in overtime. The very next week, they struggled with N.C. State for several quarters and the outcome was 56-41. Two weeks later, the Seminoles hosted Notre Dame and beat them with a couple of lucky bounces.

After that, they went on the road and beat Louisville in a comeback effort. The Cardinals had a comfortable lead, but Florida State did just enough to come back, find some lucky breaks, and end up winning the game. After a 14-point win over Virginia, they went on the road to Miami and beat the Hurricanes by 4. The next week, they found themselves in a slug fest with Boston College and ended up winning the game 20-17.

Rivalry week, they beat Florida by a score of 24-19. They closed out the year by beating Georgia Tech 37-35 in the ACC Championship. They had seven wins in which were by six points or less, but they made the College Football Playoff. How? They survived and advanced. (Yes, I know they got trampled by Oregon, but they were there and you can’t win it if you’re not there)

Each and every week during the regular season, Florida State found themselves in a new story line, but the result was always the same. They would calm down, come together and find a way to muster up a win. They did what they had to and, yes, it looked ugly at times. Why do I say this?

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  • Clemson is this year’s Florida State. No, the Tigers did not win a National Championship last season and have several games in which they may not even be favored, but they are, in many cases, like last year’s Seminole team. This Clemson football team is resilient and even with a lot of young talent, they know what it’s like to win.

    The Tigers are going to look ugly at times. The offense and the special teams proved that Thursday night, but they found a way to win. That is what this season is about. Yes, you may find yourself in a few slug fests before this season is over, but there is only one thing that matters and that is the “W.” I don’t care if Clemson wins by a point or by 50, they have to get the win.

    Each and every week, Tiger fans should be thinking “survive and advance.” That is the only way you are going to get through the roller-coaster ride of a College Football season. The team will get better, but they just have to find a way to survive. Game by game, different guys will step up, different units will make plays, and it may take a lucky bounce or two, but you have to survive.

    The theme, especially for this October, has to be survive and advance. Get ready, Tiger fans, you are in for a treat with some great football match ups and let’s see if this team has what it takes to win games.

    Next: How has Clemson Football performed in home night games?