In the next installment of this series on culture, I look at some schools in the SEC to see how they compare to Clemson’s word cloud. Many in Tiger Nation think of Clemson as an SEC school trapped in the ACC, so I was curious if Clemson’s culture was a good fit for the SEC.

Let’s start with the 10,000 pound elephant:

Alabama

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As I mentioned in an earlier article, I did remove the school’s name and nickname from the responses, so they wouldn’t ruin the cloud. As a result, the word ‘Tide’ was removed. We know the cheer of the Bama faithful is ‘Roll Tide’, so it isn’t a shock that ‘roll’ is the centerpiece of this cloud. ‘Winning’ is almost equally prominent, and we all know the Bama football program has had a fair share of wins in their history. It isn’t a surprise that the winning ways of their program strongly influence their identity. ‘Class’, ‘pride’ and ‘excellence’ are also featured. We do see the name of Bear Bryant, considered by many to be the best coach of the 20th century. The guy that many consider the best coach of the 21st century, Nick Saban, is there, but it is tiny, which is curious. One theme we see from this cloud, and others like North Carolina and Florida State, is that it appears that legends from those schools who are no longer with us tend to have a more prominent place in the thinking of the fans, while current names, while obviously respected, don’t dominate these clouds. ‘Family’ is included, but not prominently.

Now, the current king of the hill:

Georgia

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Yes, Georgia Nation, you’re the DAWGS. We hear you barking. It doesn’t really tell us anything, other than you can be quite obnoxious. Let’s get ‘dawgs’ and ‘dawg’ out of there and try again.

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Alright, well, the centerpiece is ‘go’, which of course comes from ‘Go Dawgs!’. In all seriousness, we know Bulldog fans are passionate and love to say ‘Go Dawgs!’ between barks, but is there any depth to their culture? Is there anything that defines it beyond a slang nickname and canine imitation? Not really. I can’t get very much of an idea of what defines Georgia Bulldog culture at all.

My favorite inclusion here: ‘I’mma’. I love it – Dawg fans don’t just say it, they write it. Outstanding.

LSU

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I have never held back my low opinion of LSU’s fanbase. While I have never interacted with them directly, I have heard so many stories about them from other fans. When I see surveys asking who is the worst fanbase in college football, I answer LSU. I couldn’t wait to see their cloud. The centerpiece? ‘Like’. Wow, like, I’m blown away. Okay, joking aside, the word ‘Geaux’ is featured near the center, which makes sense, as their chant is ‘Geaux Tigers!’, and we do see ‘football’ and ‘Saturday’ quite large, which makes sense too. One word we do see here that we haven’t seen very prominently in other clouds: ‘Tailgating’. That is a little surprising, especially since schools like Clemson, Alabama and Georgia have a very healthy tailgating atmosphere on gameday, but it didn’t appear in their clouds at all. Other interesting inclusion here: ‘drinking’.

You know what other two words didn’t show up in Clemson’s word cloud but do feature in LSU’s? ‘Death’ and ‘valley’. Shame Clemson Nation, shame.

Biggest disappointments: Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Honestly, the biggest problem with A&M was that I wasn’t accepted into many of their groups, so I couldn’t survey them. Their bouncers were just too good uncovering my Clemson diploma. Ole Miss doesn’t have a large social media presence to begin with. I did get into at least one group for both schools but got very few responses to my survey.

Lastly, there are our in-state friends, the Gamecocks. Again, I just wasn’t welcomed by many of their groups. Oh well, I tried.

Back to our original question – is Clemson’s culture a good fit with the three biggest programs in the SEC that we were able to survey? In my opinion, not really. Alabama’s defining characteristic was ‘winning’. Georgia doesn’t seem to have anything that defines its culture. While some aspects of LSU’s cloud were predictable based on reputation, it is otherwise underwhelming as well. In the SEC’s defense, the school that may have been closest to Clemson, Texas A&M, didn’t give me enough responses to assess it. In hindsight, I probably dropped the ball when I didn’t try to get into Tennessee’s groups, for two reasons: they have a very passionate fanbase, and my sister-in-law’s husband is a Tennessee grad. Oops. Florida would have been worth a shot too.

Next: The Big Ten & PAC-12

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