At one point Dabo Swinney was fond of saying, “These are the good old days of Clemson football.”
Expectations have changed over the last dozen seasons. From “just wanting to beat South Carolina”, to “hoping to make it to the ACC Championship game” to “Winning the ACC” to “win a BCS game” to “competing for National Championships”, it’s been a wild decade plus as a Clemson fan.
Some fans weren’t happy with the 10-3 mark in 2021 and I understand it was an ugly road to travel at times.
But they were 10-3 and not 6-7.
That 6-7 is significant, because that was the record in 2010 which, by the way, is Clemson’s last losing record and only losing record of this century, twenty-one seasons into it.
On3.com recently looked at the winningest programs in the country for this century and the Tigers ended up sixth, with a record of 216-75.
"+ Clemson has had one losing season this century (6-7 in 2010, the same season as Georgia’s lone losing record in the same span) and has won two national titles (2016, ’18). There also have been 11 seasons with double-digit wins. That is the Tigers’ current streak – they didn’t have a season with double-digit wins this century until 2011."
My guess is that if a Clemson fan would have been asked in 2010 if he or she thought the Tigers would end 2021 with a 10-3 record and sixth best record in the country for the century they would take it without question, the answer would be an unqualified “yes”.
These days 10-3 is a disaster.
Context changes everything though and things are only as good as your most recent season in this business for some people.
What the last four years have resulted in are this: National Champion, National runner-up, CFB Playoff berth, 10-3 no playoff.
There’s a trend there and it’s headed in the wrong direction as far as many Clemson fans are concerned.
That said, the Tigers are in elite company trailing only the proverbial who’s who of blue bloods of college football and that should be celebrated and acknowledged.
It’s possible to simultaneously celebrate long-term accomplishments while being concerned for the present and future.
On the other hand, looking in the rear view mirror too much means you can lose focus on the present and endanger the future.
We should relish each championship, ACC or National, because it’s not going to happen every year.
Maybe it’s luck or injuries or underperformance or just not being good enough. Ask 2018 Alabama how difficult it is to win it all.
Clemson has two recent National Championships and the sixth best record in college football in this century.
These are indeed the good old days of Clemson football and we’d like to keep it going for a few more years.
If you enjoy podcasts, consider Sluggo, hosted by myself and Casey Cregan, where we talk all things Clemson. Podcast not affiliated with FanSided.com or rubbingtherock.com.