What the Tigers accomplished Thursday night at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem was four years in the making.
Good teams go on the road against over-matched opponents and take care of their business.
It's part of the winning culture that Dabo Swinney has been building ever since he took over the Tiger program in the aftermath of the 2008 season's darkest hour, and the focus was evident as Clemson streaked to a 35-0 lead and then cruised to its seventh victory of the season.
Wake Forest was battered and struggling, the stadium wasn't full and the Deacon-supporting portion of the crowd was late-arriving.
None of that mattered to the Tigers, and Dabo Swinney saw that as a clear indication of progress in the area of program-building.
"I always tell our guys that if external factors are going to determine your performance, you're never going to be any good," said Swinney Thursday night. "If it always has to be a certain temperature or a certain number of people in the stands, or any of that stuff.
"That shouldn't matter a lick. You show up and perform. When LeBron James steps on the court, he may be the best player, but he's still got to perform."
Swinney sees consistency of performance as an indication of a maturing program.
"You can't show up and win on paper - it's a performance game," Swinney said. "What this group has bought into is playing to our standard, whatever our best is.
"Our goal is to become a consistent winning program at a high level. It's not easy to be 7-1, but it's the players - they play their butts off, they try to please us, and they want to win."