/On College Football: For Clemson in A.C.C. Title Game, Expectations Go Both Ways

On College Football: For Clemson in A.C.C. Title Game, Expectations Go Both Ways

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Coach Dabo Swinney, center, is not fond of the phrase, “Clemsoning.” “I’m sick of it,” he said. “I don’t know why we even bring up the daggone word.”

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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

When No. 5 Michigan began the 2007 season by losing to Appalachian State, a team then in the lower-tier Football Championship Subdivision, words used to describe the ignominious, unforeseen defeat included “upset,” “stuns” and “unfathomable.” When James Madison, another F.C.S. team, beat No. 13 Virginia Tech in 2010, “shocks,” “unexpected” and, again, “stuns” were employed.

But should unbeaten and top-ranked Clemson (12-0, 8-0) lose the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Saturday night to No. 8 North Carolina (11-1, 8-0) and then miss out on a berth in the College Football Playoff, many would use a decidedly nongeneric word to describe it: “Clemsoning.”

The definition of Clemsoning is simple: to lose a game you should…

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