You knew it would happen. It always seems to happen at the most unlikely of times. You knew that after living dangerously during the season, that one game would finally come to bite and snap the season away. Well, it happened to the No. 2 team in the nation, as the Clemson Tigers lost to the Pittsburgh Panthers 43-42 on a 48-yard field goal with seconds remaining in the game.
Throughout the season, Clemson had the look of a top team that was ready to be toppled. However, the Tigers kept finding ways to win games, and were starting to get the knack of being “un-killable” The Tigers have needed narrow escapes to beat teams of differing caliber: No. 9 Auburn, Troy, No. 6 Louisville, NC State, and No. 18 Florida State. That is six of their 10 games where they have been close to being bitten, and now, it finally happened.
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Now, the Tigers are still likely to win the ACC Atlantic Division, and they still have an outside shot at the College Football Playoff if they win the ACC Championship game, but this is a loss that will certainly hurt, and it could hurt for a while. The Tigers are going to be mad, but they made enough mistakes that they left themselves vulnerable to exactly this fate.
This loss also re-opens the door for teams like Ohio State, Louisville, and Wisconsin. For Ohio State, a victory over Michigan in two weeks would possibly cement their place in the Top 4. For Louisville, an outside shot at the ACC Atlantic is there for the taking, as well as an ACC championship. For Wisconsin, a shot at redemption in the Big 10 by taking their division and a victory over Michigan in the Big 10 Championship.
This is why they play the game of college football. On any given Saturday, the unthinkable can happen, and to Clemson, it happened.