Clemson No. 2 in Amway USA TODAY Coaches Poll
For the second time in the last three seasons, Clemson will open a football season ranked second in the country.
College football coaches, through the Amway USA TODAY Preseason Poll, ranked the Tigers No. 2 on Thursday. The ranking ties Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in school history, which came in 2016.
The Tigers went on to win the 2016 National Championship that season.
With Thursday’s ranking, Clemson has now been ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll’s top 10 for a record 44 straight weeks. As a whole, the new poll marks the 53rd straight week Clemson has been ranked in the coaches’ poll, which began on November 23, 2014.
Clemson has now been ranked in 109 of the last 115 polls, dating back to the 2011 football season.
In the history of the coaches’ poll, the Tigers have been a preseason top 5 team just three times before. Two have come in the last two years, which came in 2016, when they were No. 2, and last season when they were No. 5. They were ranked No. 4 in the 1988 preseason poll.
Clemson finished No. 1 in 2016 and No. 4 last year in the coaches’ final poll. In 1988, they finished No. 8 in the final poll.
Of course this year marks the program’s third consecutive year in the preseason top 5.
Thursday’s preseason ranking is just the Tigers’ eighth top 10 preseason rank in the coaches’ poll. However, it is their fourth since the 2013 season. The coaches did not have an annual preseason poll on a consistent basis until the 1994 season.
Since 1994, Clemson has now been ranked in 14 of the coaches’ preseason polls. Of their previous 13 preseason rankings in the coaches’ poll, the Tigers have finished ranked seven times, including in each of the last six years. The only other year was in 2000 when they opened the season No. 19 and finished No. 14 in the final poll.
Three times in the poll’s history has Clemson opened inside the top 10 and did not finish ranked. In 1982, the Tigers opened at No. 9, and though they finished the year 9-1-1, they were not ranked due to being put on probation.
In 1984, Clemson opened the season No. 8 and climbed to No. 2 in the country before losing at Georgia in the third game. But the Tigers slid to 7-4 by the end of the season and were not ranked in the final poll.
In 2008, the Tigers opened the year No. 9 nationally, but were humbled by Alabama right out of the gate. The Tigers finished the year 7-6 and obviously not ranked in the final poll. Of course that is the year Dabo Swinney took over as the interim head coach before getting the job permanently at the end of the season.
Swinney is 101-30 as Clemson’s head coach since 2008. He has led the program to a national championship, played for another and has won four ACC Championships. The Tigers have at least claimed a share of the ACC’s Atlantic Division Title in six of his nine full seasons as head coach.
Amway USA TODAY Preseason Coaches Top 25 Poll
1. Alabama (13-1)
2. Clemson (12-2)
3. Ohio State (12-2)
4. Georgia (13-2)
5. Oklahoma (12-2)
6. Washington (10-3)
7. Wisconsin (13-1)
8. Miami (Fla.) (10-3)
9. Penn State (11-2)
10. Auburn (10-4)
11. Notre Dame (10-3)
12. Michigan State (10-3)
13. Stanford (9-5)
14. Michigan (8-5)
15. Southern California (11-3)
16. TCU (11-3)
17. Virginia Tech (9-4)
18. Mississippi State (9-4)
19. Florida State (7-6)
20. West Virginia (7-6)
21. Texas (7-6)
22. Boise State (11-3)
23. Central Florida (13-0)
24. LSU (9-4)
25. Oklahoma State (10-3)