Do the Pundits in College Football Hate Clemson?

I’m sure the initial thoughts of many while reading that title is ‘who cares?’ On some level, I agree. However, there is some food for thought there.

No, this isn’t a trick question, I swear. I’ll be the first to confess, that I’m one of those people. Yes, a person the wants everyone to like me and by extension, the things that I like. It’s almost arrogant, I fully concede. Other than my family, friends, Pawleys Island and fried oysters, I love Clemson University. I love every grain of dirt, every blade of grass and the constant quiet echoes of ‘Go Tigers!’ It’s my little piece of heaven on earth.

I’ve humorously mentioned, with regards to recruiting, that I’m infuriated when any recruit that chooses not to wear orange. So, needless to say, I always see slight and disrespect from others, even if neither exist. Especially when it comes to the media. I get peeved and become a touch overreactive, so it’s time, at least for me, to ask what do the media pundits think of the Tigers in the scheme of college football?

Since there are so few things of substance happening these days that I’m qualified to write about, I came up with this.

I’ve got to find out the truth. Is Clemson a college football disparaged underdog or is that moniker, that frame of mind, merely manufactured for locker room motivation? Needless to say, I have strong feelings on the topic.

To be honest, there is an understood hierarchy within college football. One of Dabo Swinney’s most beloved Daboisms is the ‘ROY Bus.’ It pokes directly at that notion. Swinney secretly loves when anyone attempts to place Clemson in an inferior position and he uses that powerful fodder to his advantage. He said in the media’s characterization, it’s the bluebloods, such as Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, etc, and then there was the ‘rest of y’all.’ So, Clemson is just relocated to take it’s place on the ROY bus. True or not, it more than made an emotional impact on anyone that’s ever felt dismissed, or made to feel less than. It’s worked, completely.

In my brain, the small, sometime absent, reasonable side, I can’t imagine that any objective professional pundit with a national audience (not named Finebaum) would intentionally and willfully disparage any particular team. However, where Clemson is concerned, there are exceptions, of course.

Think back to 2015. CBS College Football analyst Aaron Taylor struck a nerve when he said the Tigers would not be ready for that Saturday’s Top 15 showdown with Notre Dame. Taylor, a Notre Dame Alumnus, in his preview of the Iconic ‘Flood Bowl’ surmised that Clemson fans would be left feeling lugubrious after being defeated by the Irish.

It wasn’t so much what he said but the use of the word lugubrious was arrogant. If one looked deeply enough, it could be taken as an indictment of Clemson fan’s collective intelligence.

I’m an overly educated fool and one that can’t spell worth a hoot but I understood what the word meant and how he intended to use it. It wasn’t said in jest, it was clearly condescending. That’s where the unreasonable side of my brain is fed and in those comments my suspicions of slights, confirmed.

Any slight, real or imagined, can be magnified to suit one’s purpose. Take last year, for instance. I wanted to tar and feather several national media pundits when at mid-season they declared Clemson was the greatest disappointment in college football up to that point. I was furious until I realized, it was true and everyone knew it. It was a hard pill to swallow. In retrospect, it served its purpose as Swinney’s Tigers rallied back to become one of the great comeback stories of the season.

I’m one of those aluminum foil hat wearers with my antennas out always listening, searching diligently for anything negative about Clemson. Yes, there are those that flagrantly and purposly diminish Swinney, Clemson University and all the accomplishments. However, on balance, all is fair in love, war, football and for the most part, Clemson, like all on the ROY bus, gets a pretty fair shake in most things.

However, there will be those (me included) whose sensibilities will again be easily triggered and will stand united and we’ll ‘BYOG’ to support the constant, if not at times contrived to suit a purpose, underdogs. Yes, our rag-tag, little ole Clemson Tigers.

I know, any fan of any team feels slighted from time to time, it’s fandom. However, sometimes there are those in the national media and press that have their favorites and their least favorites, and based on the negative fervor caused by this past season in Clemson, in the eyes of all, any team (other than Alabama) is only as good as its last season.

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