Just how long will the Clemson football team be able to enjoy this victory?
How many minutes, hours or days can the No. 8 (and rising) Tigers revel in their 38-35 conquest of the No. 5 (and falling) Georgia Bulldogs?
Actually, this celebration might last a while — you can measure it by a calendar, not a clock.
The players will spend at least a week partying like its 1999.
Even Dabo Swinney, a home spun, rah-rah kinda guy, might allow himself to party like it’s 1959.
As Swinney famously screamed in 2011 (and I’ll paraphrase in lowercase here), there was no better place for Auburn’s winning streak to end than Death Valley, South Carolina.
In 2013 there was no better place for the Tigers to extend their winning streak against the SEC to two games and eight months in the exact same spot on the map.
Next Saturday, the buzz from this signature “W” will still be in effect when the Tigers host South Carolina State.
It’s the perfect game to come down off a big win, one where a Football Championship Subdivision team gets a check while the Football Bowl Subdivision hosts score an uneventful (and probably uninspired) checkmate.
Plus, the next real challenge won’t come until Sept. 19 when Clemson goes on the road to play North Carolina State.
Only then will the Tigers float back down to earth as they begin ACC action.
The Dawgs, on the other hand, were allowed to hang their heads for a few hours but no more.
South Carolina, ranked No. 6 and owning a three-game streak against Georgia, comes to Sanford Stadium next weekend.
And UGA has some major issues to deal with.
Flanker Malcolm Mitchell suffered what could be a serious injury and an experienced offensive line got shoved around far too often on Saturday. Plus the young defense looked young — and porous.
The loss to Clemson will hurt UGA in the rankings; a loss to the Gamecocks would be a breath-stealing punch to the gut that could conceivably derail the season.
True, going 0-1 in the SEC wouldn’t necessarily mean the Bulldogs won’t be back in Atlanta in December.
Losing to USC didn’t keep them out of the Georgia Dome in 2011 or 2012.
But an 0-2 start destroys the Bulldogs’ national title hopes.
And an SEC club that loses its national title hopes just seven days into a new season is a team in danger of being lost.
Such a team is likely to get to Atlanta only via the Chick-fil-A Bowl route.
But on one hot night in Death Valley, Clemson was the story, and it’s a story the Tigers can tell over and over, day after day.
They faced down another big-time SEC foe and beat them straight up.
For Solid Orange Nation, that’s something to savor for a good long while.