NEW ORLEANS — It’s Game Day at the Sugar Bowl where No. 1 Clemson battles No. 4 Alabama with a trip to the National Championship on the line.
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Kickoff: 8:45 p.m.
Announcers: Todd Blackledge, Joe Tessitore, Holly Rowe, Laura Rutledge
2017 Record: Clemson 12-1, Alabama 11-1
ACC/SEC Record: Clemson 7-1 Alabama 7-1
Last Meeting: Clemson won 35-31 in 2016 National Championship
SECOND IN WINS
Clemson has an 82-14 record in the last seven seasons, or since the beginning of the 2011 season. The victory against The Citadel on Nov. 18 gave the Tiger program seven-straight 10-win seasons, something only Alabama has duplicated. Only Alabama (87-9) has more wins the last seven years than Clemson.
The Tigers also have the second-highest winning percentage (85.4). Only Alabama has a better winning percentage (90.6).
WINNINGEST DECADE IN TIGER HISTORY
With a 12-1 record, Clemson has an 88-21 record in the decade of the 2010s. That computes to an 80.8 winning percentage, the best for any decade in school history. This decade has moved ahead of the 1980s in terms of winning percentage.
In the 1980s, Clemson had a 76.7 winning percentage (87-25-4), the fifth-best winning percentage in the nation. Clemson did not have a losing season in any year in the 1980s under head coach Danny Ford, who coached every game in that decade. Dabo Swinney has coached every game in the decade of the 2010s and has seven winning seasons and one losing season (6-7 in 2010).
11-1 IN TOP-15 MATCHUPS SINCE 2015
Clemson already has top-15 wins over Auburn, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Miami (Fla.) this season. Clemson won all four games and was the first team
since the AP poll started in 1936 to beat three teams in the top 15 in September. The last team to beat three top-15 teams in its first five games of the season was Notre Dame in 1980.
The Tigers are very experienced in big games the last three years. The Alabama game will be Clemson’s 13th matchup of top-15 teams since the start of 2015. That dates to Oct. 3, 2015, when No. 11 Clemson played
No. 6 Notre Dame at Clemson. The Tigers are 11-1 in top-15 matchups during the last three years.
WINNINGEST SENIOR CLASS
Clemson’s 2017 senior class became the winningest in ACC history with the 38-3 win over No. 7 Miami (Fla.) in the ACC Championship Game. This group of six scholarship seniors has posted a 50-6 record so far.
A win over Alabama would tie for the most wins by a senior class in FBS history. Ironically, one of the senior classes that has the mark is the senior class Clemson will face in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama. The current Crimson
Tide seniors are 51-5.
The Tigers have had records of 10-3, 14-1, 14-1 and 12-1 the last four years, while Alabama has been 12-2, 14-1, 14-1 and 11-1.
Clemson’s current junior class is 40-3 in three years. That is already the fifth-most wins by a Tiger senior class. In other words, the current Clemson juniors could go all of next year without a win and still finish fifth in school history in wins for a senior class.
Clemson has equaled or exceeded its postseason AP and USA Today rankings in comparison to its preseason rankings each of the last six seasons (2011-16). That was quite an accomplishment in the 2016 season, as
Clemson was No. 2 in the preseason of both polls and had to finish No. 1 to exceed the preseason rankings. The Tigers accomplished that by winning the national championship.
The Tigers have exceeded their preseason ranking each of the last six years in the coaches poll and exceeded their preseason ranking in the AP poll five of
the six seasons. Clemson was picked No. 8 in the AP preseason poll in 2013 and finished No. 8. Dabo Swinney is the first coach in history with a six-year streak in that area. John Cooper (Ohio State) and Bill Snyder (Kansas State) had five-year streaks.
Robert – Clemson 27 Alabama 21
Will — Clemson 17, Alabama 7