Since the 2011 season, when Clemson won its first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship under Dabo Swinney, no team in the league has won more games or championships.
The Tigers are 90-15 overall in the last seven-plus seasons, while Florida State, the next closest contender, is 80-23 in that same time frame. Clemson has won four ACC Championship—2011, ’15, ’16, and ’17—while the Seminoles won three titles from 2012-’14.
Clemson and FSU have both played for and won national titles since 2013, but the Tigers have played for the national title twice and has made it to the College Football Playoff in each of the last three years. The Seminoles have been just once since the CFP started in 2014.
Starting in 2015, the Tigers are 30-2 in ACC games, including three wins in the ACC Championship Game. The next closest team in the league is Miami at 19-9. Virginia Tech is 18-10, followed by Pitt at 17-11. The Seminoles are 16-13 in case you are wondering.
Throw in the fact second-ranked Clemson has won its last three games against ACC competition by a score of 163-20, including a 59-10 victory at Florida State, it is easy to see the Tigers have separated themselves from the rest of the conference.
However, despite all of those facts, Swinney does not see it that way.
“No. I mean, I don’t really buy into that or think of it that way,” he said during Wednesday’s ACC Coaches’ teleconference call with the media. “I really don’t. I know we’ve played well in the last three ballgames, but man, we were very fortunate to win the Syracuse game.”
The Tigers, who are 8-0 and will host Louisville on Saturday, were fortunate to win the Syracuse game. However, even in adversity, playing with their third string quarterback at the time and with right tackle Tremayne Anchrum hurt on the offensive line, they still found a way to comeback from a 10-point deficit and beat the Orange.
It’s hard to imagine any other team in the ACC winning a conference game with their third-team quarterback.
Since then, when starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence came back a week later, Clemson beat Wake Forest 63-3 in Winston Salem. N.C, before coming home and routing the Wolfpack, 41-7.
Then of course there is last week’s Florida State game. The ‘Noles are considered to be the one team that can hang toe-to-toe with the Tigers, but Clemson handed them their worst defeat ever at Doak Campbell Stadium and matched the largest of all-time.
“These last three ballgames our team has really played well, and I think it’s more a reflection of that than it is us measuring ourselves against everybody else in the league and all that stuff,” Swinney said. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen everybody in the league. All I can tell you is our team has played very well the last three ballgames, complemented each other.
“It’s a reflection of us being even or winning the turnover margin, really doing a great job in special teams, being the least penalized team. To me the combination of that has allowed us to have the type of games we’ve had.”