Rodney Dangerfield and Clemson football have one thing in common this week.
They don’t get no respect. (Apologies to anyone who loves grammar.)
All standup comedy aside, what does Clemson have to do to be taken seriously this season? We have been over how dominant this team has been ad nauseum, but it doesn’t seem to matter. We have debunked “Clemsoning” as a fictitious state of being with no basis in reality, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
It is a strange world we live in that values sitting on the couch over a conference win, but the college football universe appears to be doing just that to Florida State—who gained brownie points last week presumably by beating Maryland the week before, since the Seminoles accomplished nothing of note last Saturday during a bye week.
Try this one on for size: On the opening weekend of the season, eighth-ranked Clemson hosted fifth-ranked Georgia in a battle royale. The Bulldogs were favored by two or three points heading into the game, which the Tigers won. Sure, Georgia was going on the road, but the pundits believed it was the better team—a logical conclusion to draw based on certain points of reasoning.
Now, third-ranked Clemson hosts fifth-ranked Florida State with the tables seemingly reversed. The team with the higher ranking is playing at home, and the gap between the teams in the polls is virtually identical to that season-opening game.
So what do the folks in Las Vegas do with the betting line? They have the Seminoles favored by three points.
To put it into perspective, no top five team has been an underdog in any game yet this season—home, away, or neutral. There have been some candidates that could have been first. Top-ranked Alabama was an eight-point favorite at sixth-ranked Texas A&M and won by seven. Fourth-ranked Ohio State was favored by 6.5 at Northwestern and covered on the last play of the game (no, I’m not bitter at all about that…………).
Both of those teams went on the road to face legitimate opposition and were still given the benefit of the doubt. Yet here is Clemson, a three-point underdog in its own building.
I began doing research on the last time a top five team was an underdog in its own building. After a little while, I stopped when I realized how ridiculous the quest was.
Of course a top five team should be considered a favorite on its home field.
The voters have had multiple chances to jump Florida State over Clemson this season and haven’t done it yet. But the Seminoles are supposed to bring a freshman quarterback and a retooled defense into the Tigers’ house and win? As a slightly worse team?
This can’t be real.
But it is. And it will be a rallying cry of epic proportions for the Clemson football team this week. You can count on that.
You might say Clemson has been disrespected as much as a team of its stature can possibly be disrespected on the national stage. I’d be willing to bet Dabo Swinney will say it a time or two before the week is up.