Trust me, I’m not thrilled about this as a Gamecocks fan, but this is just the world we live in now.
Dabo Swinney has become the Bill Belichick of the college football world, and his Tigers are the Patriots.
Swinney has found a way to create a Patriots-esque culture in Clemson where every player in orange wants to win, and have bought into his way…the Clemson Way.
Much like the Patriots Way, it starts with the head coach and his staff’s ability to get players to buy in and to flourish under the system in place. Dabo has created a culture at Clemson that has been able to do this for the better part of a decade now.
What makes Swinney’s ability do this so amazing, is that he has to find a new Tom Brady every 3-4 years.
Tajh Boyd was the Drew Bledsoe of the Clemson dynasty.
He laid the foundation, won division and conference titles and got the Tigers within inches of National Championship glory, even winning an Orange Bowl over Ohio State in the process.
Then came Tom Brady number one, Deshaun Watson.
Watson led the Tigers to new heights. He won the program’s first National Championship since 1981 and cemented Clemson’s place on the national scene.
Kelly Bryant may not have been a Tom Brady, but while Brady was hurt and missed the 2008 season, he did have a Matt Cassel, who took the Patriots to an 11-5 season narrowly missing the postseason.
Bryant got the job done, silenced a lot of critics (myself included) and kept the Tigers on the national stage with another playoff berth, which technically makes him better than Cassel.
This was massive and another example of how this program has become the Patriots of college football. The year they were supposed to be “rebuilding” they still showed up to the party known as the College Football Playoff.
Then Tom Brady number two arrives in the form of Trevor Lawrence.
He’s got the looks, the long glorious hair, the stoic demeanor and the next level talent. He leads the Tigers to their second National Championship in three years and does so as a freshman…a la Tom Brady’s first year as a starter in New England.
Now, the comparison has reached it’s peak.
As Clemson dismantled Syracuse on Saturday night, something seemed off to me and after some thought I realized what it was. The Tigers were methodically dominating the way I’m used to seeing the Patriots doing it.
On twitter, there were a lot of hot takes about how badly Clemson was playing and how Lawrence wasn’t performing as well as we were used to seeing him perform, but once the dust settled, it was obvious.
Clemson is just so dominant right now, that you can’t even tell when they’re dominating. I saw the same exact thing happen on Sunday when the Patriots leveled the Dolphins 43-0.
Let’s see some specific examples:
- No, Clemson did not look sharp offensively…but they still gained 612-yards to Syracuse’s 187.
- Trevor Lawrence didn’t look spectacular and threw two picks…but he still threw for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding another TD on the ground.
- Travis Etienne couldn’t seem to get going…but averaged 5.4 yards per carry and managed 76 yards on just 14 carries.
The Tiger’s defense was dominant throughout the game and I’m not sure anybody overlooked that. They held the Orangemen to just 15 yards rushing and didn’t allow them to reach the endzone all night.
This was pure, unadulterated domination by the Clemson Tigers.
Folks can come up with reasons why they want to continue to doubt what Clemson is capable of this season, but now that the Tigers have dropped the hammer on what was supposed to have been it’s two toughest games, I think they’d be better off saving themselves the embarrassment and just assuming another year of 15-0 is on the way.
Clemson fans, it’s time to get used to the hate…it won’t get any better as your team continues to dominate.
Trust me I know.
I’m a fan of the NFL’s Clemson….the Patriots.
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