I don't think I am alone in feeling that Clemson University football fans have long had an unrealistically high opinion of the stature of their program. The typical Clemson fan considers the Tigers to be an "elite" program on par with the likes of an Alabama, or Florida, or Notre Dame, and you'll often hear them droning on and on about the proud history of Clemson football. But when you do a little research you find that this long, storied tradition consists of exactly one national championship (1981). That 1981 Clemson squad is considered by at least one expert to be the 88th best team to have ever played. Notre Dame has ten (10) squads ranked ahead of Clemson's single entry on that Top 200 list, and sixteen (16) overall. Other true traditional powers of course have multiple entries as well. One list of top historical programs (same source) has Clemson at #38, just behind Houston and just ahead of Mizzou. And 37 spots behind #1 Notre Dame. Yet to hear Clemson tell it, they're right there with Texas, Nebraska, and Ohio State.
The point is, the only great tradition attached to Clemson football is their delusional fanbase.
But today we learn that it isn't just Clemson football fans that are delusional. It turns out that the Clemson University administration also has an opinion of Clemson as an academic institution that is a bit, shall we say, out of step with how Clemson is viewed by the rest of academia. According to the story:
Move over Harvard, Yale, Princeton — and every other college. Asked to rate other universities for the influential U.S. News & World Report rankings, Clemson University President James Barker put his institution on top.
Documents released by Clemson show Barker gave his own university a "strong" rating in the peer review survey portion of the rankings. But he gave no other university that high a mark. He ranked half the undergraduate universities in the magazine's survey as "marginal," according to copies of his survey provided to The Associated Press.
The documents did not show precisely how he voted on what schools, but Clemson was the only "strong" vote he gave in the national universities category — which includes famous public institutions like the Universities of California and Virginia as well as the private universities of the Ivy League.
Notwithstanding Clemson's high opinion of itself, it is ranked No. 61 overall in the magazine's latest table of national universities. (The University of Notre Dame is #18).
No great moral to this story, I just thought it was hysterically funny that both Clemson football fan and the Clemson administration share the same inferiority complex.