Joe Giglio is one of 60 AP voters.
We can all agree Clemson has been a different, better program since coach Dabo Swinney hired offensive coordinator Chad Morris before the 2011 season.
Swinney went 15-12 in the two full seasons before he hired Morris, who was at the time an assistant at Tulsa but one year removed from the high school ranks in Texas. Since Morris took over Clemson’s offense, Swinney is 32-6, including Saturday’s epic 38-35 win against Georgia.
So if Clemson is different with Morris – and let’s not shortchange Swinney’s recruiting ability or his humility in letting Morris shine – why are we treating the new Clemson like the old Clemson?
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit cautioned against believing in Clemson in the waning moments of Saturday’s broadcast and then ESPN’s Jesse Palmer chimed in Monday night during the Florida State-Pittsburgh broadcast.
Is Clemson really going to pull a “Clemson” with Morris? I don’t think so, nor should that have an effect on the top 25.
I have Clemson at No. 2, while the Tigers are No. 4 in the AP poll – their highest ranking in 25 years – because the Tigers beat a really good Georgia team in a college football game played at a ridiculously high level for any month, let alone August.
Oregon beat a I-AA team and Ohio State mangled its way through 60 minutes of Buffalo. I’m supposed to put them ahead of Clemson? Sorry.
I believe in the Tigers. Their six losses since the start of the 2011 season: at Georgia Tech (2011), at N.C. State (2011), at South Carolina, vs. West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, at Florida State (2012) and at home to South Carolina.
The 37-13 road loss to State is the only one that remotely falls under the “Clemsoning” category, and star receiver Sammy Watkins didn’t play in that game (and it was also a classic Tom O’Brien game for the Wolfpack).
My point? Clemson will probably handle the “other” teams on its schedule. What stands between the Tigers and a spot in the BCS title game is a home game with Florida State on Oct. 19 and a trip to South Carolina on Nov. 30.
Neither is a given, but Clemson has earned the benefit of the doubt for the games in between.
Giglio top 25 — Week 1
(With last week’s vote in parenthesis)
1. Alabama (1)
2. Clemson (6)
3. South Carolina (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Oregon (5)
6. Ohio State (7)
7. Texas A&M (8)
8. Louisville (9)
9. Florida State (10)
10. Georgia (2)
11. LSU (14)
12. Florida (11)
13. Notre Dame (12)
14. Oklahoma State (13)
15. Baylor (15)
16. Michigan (16)
17. Texas (17)
18. Oklahoma (19)
19. Miami (20)
20. UCLA (21)
21. Northwestern (NR)
22. Nebraska (18)
23. Ole Miss (NR)
24. Northern Illinois (25)
25. TCU (NR)
Out: Boise State (22), UNC (23), Vanderbilt (24)
Giglio: email@example.com or twitter.com/jwgiglio