Please, for the sake of all that is good and pure, please stop saying “NC State plays Clemson close.” I don’t want to hear anyone say “NC State gives Clemson a hard time” ever again. Clemson’s domination is both recent and ancient. Clemson has a winning record against NC State in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s! It is a wonder this tired trope ever began because aside from the 1970s, it was never really true.
More recently, it has become even more absurd. Clemson has won 15 of the last 16 Textile Bowls including eight in a row. Even Wake Forest has beaten Clemson twice in their last 16 contests.
There’s was a time from 2004-2010 where the Wolfpack would make Tiger fans nervous before eventually giving the Tigers an ACC win. Although they lost seven straight games during that time period, there were a few close ones:
Of course, Clemson lost to NC State in Raleigh in 2011. Are we taking that one game and deciding it makes a trend? Clemson also lost to Georgia Tech in 2011 and then lost to them again in 2014. Clemson has an overall losing record to Georgia Tech. If we’re going to pick an ACC rival to over-hype our concerns about, shouldn’t it be the Yellow Jackets — especially after the battle they gave the Tigers on Saturday?
Since that 2011 loss in Raleigh, Clemson has won eight straight against NCSU and they’ve done it in much more dominant fashion than the seven-game win streak that preceded it:
The Tigers are beating the Wolfpack by more than three touchdowns on average! It is true that one of these games went into overtime, but the fact that they missed a chip shot field goal and then immediately threw a pick on their next possession only adds to the rivalry domination.
Look, Clemson’s offense is struggling. They likely won’t score 55 points as they did in Raleigh in 2019, but this is a perfect situation for them to get right. Clemson is finally being doubted again. They’ve tumbled to No. 9 in the AP Poll behind Texas A&M and Cincinnati. The betting lines for this game opened at -12 and have narrowed since then. They just lost Tyler Davis to injury and Lyn-J Dixon to the transfer portal.
When Clemson can convince themselves they’re underdogs or are being disrespected, they’re at their best. Now they get to play a rivalry game in that context against a team they tend to play extremely well against. Coach Swinney has assured us the offense doesn’t “stink” and DJ Uiagalelei says they’re close to busting out. I’m tempering expectations for a full-on breakout as some of the issues are things that will take the whole season to amend, but a three-score road win may be coming this weekend!
Shakin the Southland has partnered with FOCO to provide our readers with a special discount code on their products. Enter STS10 in checkout for 10% off your order (excludes new release/pre-order items). Please start your order from this link. Additionally, they’d love to solicit ideas for future products such as apparel or limited edition bobbleheads from you. If you have any ideas, be sure to leave them in the comments below.