A look at Clemson's Bowl History
Clemson Football has a rich and storied bowl history. Now, Notre Dame will be a part of it.
On Dec. 29, the second-ranked Tigers will return to the area where their bowl history began 79 years ago when they play the third-ranked Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Arlington is part of the Dallas area, where Clemson played Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl.
Clemson beat the Eagles that day, 6-3. It marked the Tigers’ first win over a ranked team. BC was ranked No. 11. Clemson also finished ranked No. 12 in the final Associated Press rankings, the first time the Tigers were ranked in the final poll.
Since that January 1 afternoon in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium, the Tigers have gone to 41 other bowl games and have compiled a 22-20 record in bowl games. Clemson ranks 15th all-time in overall bowl victories, just one behind Penn State, Ohio State and Auburn.
By the way, Clemson’s 42 bowl appearances are currently tied for No. 17 all-time in college football.
Head coach Dabo Swinney has coached the Tigers to 12 of those bowl games and the Tigers have compiled a 7-5 record. Clemson is 6-2 in its last eight bowl games under Swinney, with both losses coming to Alabama.
This will mark the fourth straight year, Clemson has participated in a bowl game as part of the College Football Playoff. In the previous three, the Tigers have played blue-bloods Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama in the Orange, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls.
The Tigers have also played Alabama twice in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, which the NCAA recognizes as an extension of the bowl season.
The 2018 Cotton Bowl will mark the 14th consecutive bowl appearance for the Clemson program, the eighth longest active streak in the country. The Tigers have been bowl eligible for 20 consecutive seasons, tied for the third longest active streak in the nation.
Over the years, Clemson has beaten some of college football’s most historical programs in bowl games. The Tigers have defeated powerhouses such as Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, LSU and Alabama.
In fact, the Tigers are a combined 6-0 against Ohio State (3-0) and Oklahoma (3-0) in bowl games.
Though Clemson has played Notre Dame three times before, the two programs have never met in a bowl game.
A win over the Irish will give Clemson a bowl win over four of the seven winningest programs in the history of college football. The Tigers already own wins over No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Alabama. Notre Dame ranks No. 6 on the all-time list.
Clemson also has bowl wins over No. 8 Nebraska, No. 9 Penn State, No. 13 Tennessee, No. 16 LSU and No. 20 West Virginia.
Obviously, the Tigers biggest bowl victories came in the 1982 Orange Bowl and the 2017 CFP National Championship Game. Clemson beat Nebraska, 22-15, in the 1982 Orange Bowl to claim its first national title, while it beat Alabama in the 2017 CFP National Championship Game to win the program’s second national championship.
Nebraska was the No. 4 team in the country when Clemson beat the Cornhuskers in 1982, while Alabama was ranked No. 1 in 2017. In all, Clemson has defeated 17 ranked teams in bowl games, including nine top 10 teams.
Clemson’s all-time bowl history (22-20)
1940 Cotton Bowl: Clemson 6, Boston College 3
1949 Gator Bowl: Clemson 24, Missouri 23
1951 Orange Bowl: Clemson 15, Miami 14
1952 Gator Bowl: Miami 14, Clemson 0
1957 Orange Bowl: Colorado 27, Clemson 21
1959 Sugar Bowl: LSU 7, Clemson 0
1959 Bluebonnet Bowl: Clemson 23, TCU 7
1977 Gator Bowl: Pitt 34, Clemson 3
1978 Gator Bowl: Clemson 17, Ohio State 15
1979 Peach Bowl: Baylor 24, Clemson 18
1982 Orange Bowl: Clemson 22, Nebraska 15
1985 Independence Bowl: Minnesota 20, Clemson 13
1986 Gator Bowl: Clemson 27, Stanford 21
1988 Citrus Bowl: Clemson 35, Penn State 10
1989 Citrus Bowl: Clemson 13, Oklahoma 6
1989 Gator Bowl: Clemson 27, West Virginia 7
1991 Hall of Fame Bowl: Clemson 30, Illinois 0
1992 Citrus Bowl: California 37, Clemson 13
1993 Peach Bowl: Clemson 14, Kentucky 13
1996 Gator Bowl: Syracuse 41, Clemson 0
1996 Peach Bowl: LSU 10, Clemson 7
1997 Peach Bowl: Auburn 21, Clemson 17
1999 Peach Bowl: Mississippi State 17, Clemson 7
2001 Gator Bowl: Virginia Tech 41, Clemson 20
2001 Humanitarian Bowl: Clemson 49, Louisiana Tech 24
2002 Tangerine Bowl: Texas Tech 55, Clemson 15
2004 Peach Bowl: Clemson 27, Tennessee 14
2005 Champs Sports Bowl: Clemson 19, Colorado 10
2006 Music City Bowl: Kentucky 28, Clemson 20
2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl: Auburn 23, Clemson 20 (OT)
2009 Gator Bowl: Nebraska 26, Clemson 21
2009 Music City Bowl: Clemson 21, Kentucky 13
2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida 31, Clemson 26
2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson 25, LSU 24
2014 Orange Bowl: Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
2014 Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6
2016 Orange Bowl: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17
2016 CFP National Championship Game: Alabama 45, Clemson 40
2017 Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 31, Ohio State 0
2017 CFP National Championship Game: Clemson 35, Alabama 31
2018 Sugar Bowl: Alabama 24, Clemson 6