For a second straight year Clemson beat Auburn, and for a second straight year it was no big deal, at least to the experts anyway.
Dabo Swinney mentioned several times during Clemson’s run to the national championship last season that the Tigers’ never really got any credit for beating an Auburn team that went on to play in the Sugar Bowl. It appears that’s the case again after the Tigers survived a slugfest in Death Valley last week to down the SEC’s Tigers.
Though Oklahoma was two spots lower in the polls when it went to Columbus, Ohio and beat then No. 2 Ohio State last week, the then No. 5 Sooners jumped three spots to take over the No. 2 spot, leapfrogging No. 3 Clemson in the Associated Press Poll.
Their reason? Oklahoma’s win, the experts say, was more impressive than Clemson’s win over Auburn. Granted, going on the road and beating the No. 2-ranked team in the country is impressive. I have no problem with Oklahoma moving up in the poll, because it deserves it, but jumping a team that beat another top 15 team on the same night, whose win was just as impressive, I don’t think that is right.
But let me ask this question, how impressive was Oklahoma’s win? How good is Ohio State?
The last time I saw Ohio State play in person, I watched them physically and mentally get beat by Clemson. The Tigers proved in their 31-0 victory in the Fiesta Bowl that Buckeyes had no business being in the College Football Playoff. They did not even win their own conference or division for that matter.
In the off-season all the talk was about how J.T. Barrett and the offense has improved and it will be a much better offense than it was last year. Through the first two games that does not seem to be the case.
After losing three starters in the secondary, the Buckeyes are not any good on defense anymore either. Ohio State ranks last in pass defense among the 130 FBS schools, allowing 403 yards per game through the air. Indiana chopped up the Buckeyes in Week 1 and then Baker Mayfield and the Sooners did the same last week.
So how impressive was Oklahoma’s win? You would think Oklahoma just won the national championship with all the chatter that was going on earlier in the week.
Granted, it’s not like Auburn’s offense was a juggernaut for Clemson. For the second straight year, those Tigers struggled to run the football against Clemson and the offensive line does not look that good at the moment. But keep in mind, Clemson held Auburn to 87 yards on the ground last year and Auburn went on to lead the SEC in rushing yards per game last season.
Auburn had one of the best defenses in the country last year, and this year, it looks to be even better.
Also, like Oklahoma was doing, Auburn went into last week’s game looking for revenge after being beat on their home field the year before. It gave Clemson its best shot and punched Clemson in the mouth. However, unlike Ohio State, Clemson punched back and withstood the challenge from the visitors and got a big win.
However, outside the state of South Carolina you probably wouldn’t know it. But I can tell you this, if things were reversed, and Auburn beat Clemson, then everyone would be talking about how good Auburn is.
I don’t believe anyone is disrespecting Clemson’s win over Auburn intentionally, it’s just part of the sports world we live in today when everything and everyone is overhyped. I don’t even know how good this year’s Clemson team is. I don’t know how good Oklahoma is either.
What I do know is this. They both got big wins last week and one is not bigger than the other. Obviously, other people disagree with me or Oklahoma would not have jumped Clemson in the AP poll.
I will close with this question. If Clemson wins at No. 14 Louisville this week and becomes the first team in the country this year with back-to-back wins over top 15 teams, should the Tigers jump Oklahoma in the AP poll and take over the No. 2 position?
That would be more impressive to me than going to Columbus and beating an Ohio State team that is not a very good football team right now. We are going to find out just how good Clemson is this weekend when it faces reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals.