Clemson Continues Dominance By 'Playing to a Standard'

Zach Lentz

While many have attempted to center discussion of Clemson's play in 2019 on the quality of its opponents, under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson has subscribed to a philosophy of "it's not who you play, it's how you play." 

Inside the team's Allen N. Reeves Football Complex, a visual representation of the team's schedule includes a Clemson logo for every game in lieu of opponents' logos, not as a sign of disrespect, but rather as a visual reminder that every week Clemson is playing against its own standard as well. The Clemson standard has been on display in the majority of the team's performances this season. 

SportSource Analytics tracks Relative Points and Relative Yards Per Game, described as the following: "Sorts all FBS teams by the average percentage of points and yards they accumulated per game with respect to the opponents’ normal points and yards averages. For example, if a team scores 21 points against a team that only gives up (on average) 14 points, they get a 150 percent for that game offensively.

 For offense, over 100 percent is considered good, and for defense under 100 percent is considered good." The measure allows a window of insight into how Clemson has dominated its opponents relative to their typical performance, rather than leaning on the opponents' record.

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Effectively, the numbers communicate that Clemson scores 148.1 percent of the points and gains 126.4 percent of the yards typically allowed by its opponents on average, while limiting opponents to only 36.7 percent of the points and 58.4 percent of the yards it typically accrues. 

In addition, Clemson ranks among the nation's best in game control, a measurement of what percentage of snaps teams have spent with various leads. Clemson has led for 85 percent of all plays this season, including holding a lead of at least 21 points for more than half of all plays and at least 35 points or more for more than a quarter of all plays. 

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