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Perception Game

Posted by cuorange on September 25, 2009

dabo_at_the_rockThe perception of Clemson football has taken some massive hits over the last few years. From the Virginia Tech debacle of 2006 to the Boston College loss at Death Valley in 2007 with the divisional title on the line to the obliteration by Alabama that began the 2008 season, the Tigers have failed miserably on the big stage.

While the Tigers aren’t on a big stage this weekend the game against TCU will go a long way towards shaping the perception of the 2009 Clemson football team, maybe even more so since the game is not on national TV. Most of the country won’t see the game (ESPN360.com), they’ll see updates, the final score and maybe a minute of SportsCenter highlights. If those highlights show Clemson beating a 15th ranked team that is known for being well-coached and disciplined the perception of Clemson football will soar. It doesn’t even matter how the Tigers win. If the Tigers play terrible and win, most of the country won’t see it. They’ll see that Clemson beat #15. They’ll see a team that is one game against a weak opponent away from being 4-1 going into their bye week.

On the other hand, if the Tigers lose it won’t matter how they lose either. Losing 10-7 or 27-10 is all the same to writers across the country. Clemson will have failed again. At home. It won’t matter how well Clemson plays in a loss. It won’t matter how bad Clemson was hosed by the referees. It’s a loss in a big game. Again.

In a lot of ways this game will define the early perception (for those who haven’t already decided) of Dabo’s head coaching career. Win and many will take notice saying that the Tigers are headed in the right direction. Lose and many will say “I told you so”.

 Thousands of Clemson fans will discuss the finer points of the game afterwards and into next week, but in the big picture it won’t matter one bit. What matters is the W or the L. Period.

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