It is of no surprise following its 35-31 victory over Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, Clemson finished the 2016 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the Associated Press and Amway Coaches poll. This is the second National Championship season in school history and the first since 1981.
Clemson finished with a 14-1 record after defeating previously undefeated Alabama 35-31 in the College Football Playoff Championship game on Monday, Jan. 9. Clemson’s 14 wins tie the FBS record for victories in a season (Alabama also finished 14-1 this year). It is the second year both Alabama and Clemson finished with 14-1 records.
Clemson achieved the National Championship while playing the nation’s most difficult schedule according to the NCAA. Since 1977 the NCAA has rated schedules based on the winning percentage of your FBS opponents when not playing against your team. This year Clemson opponents were 107-51 when not playing Clemson for a .677 percentage, best in the nation.
Clemson is just the sixth national champion to have played the nation’s most difficult schedule the season they won the title. The others are Penn State (1982), Colorado (1990), Florida (1996 and 2006), Alabama (2015).
Clemson defeated 11 FBS schools who finished the season with a winning record, including five who won at least 10 games and six who finished in the top 25 of the AP poll. Those schools were No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 8 Florida State, No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 21 Louisville and No. 24 Auburn. The six wins over teams that finished in the AP top 25 are the most in school history.
For the sixth straight year Clemson finished at least the same in its final poll as its preseason ranking by Associated Press poll. Clemson was second in the preseason AP and Amway Coaches polls, but finished first. Swinney is the first coach in history with a six-year streak in that area. John Cooper of Ohio State and Bill Snyder of Kansas State had five-year streaks.
Here are some other notes about Clemson and the polls:
- Clemson is the 19thprogram to win the Associated Press poll at least twice.
- Dabo Swinney is the 51stdifferent coach to win the AP National Championship.
- Clemson was never ranked No. 1 this year until the final poll and had to defeat a team (Alabama) who had been ranked No. 1 in every poll entering the playoff. This is the first time a team has defeated an opponent in the championship who had been No. 1 in every poll previously since 2006 when Florida defeated Ohio State to win the National Championship. It also happened in 2005 when Texas defeated Southern California and in 1983 when Miami (FL) defeated Nebraska.
- This is just the eighth time in history Clemson has been ranked No. 1 in any poll, but two of the eight have come in final polls.
- Clemson is the first non-SEC team to beat Auburn and Alabama in the same year since 1990 when Southern Mississippi achieved the distinction.
- The No. 1 final ranking was the 24thconsecutive AP poll Clemson has been ranked in the top five in the nation, the longest active streak in the nation. Alabama is second with 22 in a row.
- Clemson enters the 2017 season with a streak of 36 consecutive top 25 rankings. The school record is 50.
- The 2016 season marked the sixth straight season Clemson has been ranked in the final top 25. It ties for the longest streak in Clemson history (1986-91). Alabama has a nine-year streak and Florida State a seven year streak.
- Clemson has been ranked in every poll in four of the last five years and 91 of the last 98 polls. This year was the first in school history Clemson was ranked in the top five in every poll.
Final AP Poll of Jan. 10, 2017
- Clemson, 2. Alabama, 3. Southern California, 4. Washington, 5. Oklahoma, 6. Ohio State, 7. Penn State, 8. Florida State, 9. Wisconsin, 10. Michigan, 11. Oklahoma State, 12. Stanford, 13. LSU, 14. Florida, 15. Western Michigan, 16. Virginia Tech, 17. Colorado, 18. West Virginia, 19. South Florida, 20. Miami (FL), 21. Louisville, 22. Tennessee, 23. Utah, 24. Auburn, 25. San Diego State.
Final Amway Coaches Polls of Jan. 10, 2017
- Clemson, 2. Alabama, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Washington, 5. Southern California, 6. Ohio State, 7. Penn State, 8. Florida State, 9. Wisconsin, 10. Michigan, 11. Oklahoma State, 12. Stanford, 13. Florida, 14. LSU, 15. Colorado, 16. Virginia Tech, 17. West Virginia, 18. Western Michigan, 19. South Florida, 20. Louisville, 21. Utah, 22. Auburn, 23. Miami (FL), 24. Tennessee, 25. San Diego State.
–Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports