Clemson already has its best decade in history
Do you remember the 2010 football season at Clemson?
Some of you probably do. Some of you choose not to and some of you probably don’t.
For those of you who don’t, let me give you a short version of what happened. Clemson stunk that season. In fact, it’s the only losing season Clemson has had since 1998.
The Tigers went 6-7 that year, including an embarrassing loss to South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. They lost to archrival South Carolina by 22 points at home and lost five of their seven games by five points or less.
Some of you questioned whether Dabo Swinney was the right man for the job, while others wanted him out as head coach. We all laughed when Swinney said he was close and that the program was about to embark on the greatest decade in school history.
Do you guys remember all of those things? I know I do.
Man, that seemed like so long ago, and in a way, I guess it was.
It started to change in 2011, though not everyone was sold just yet. Clemson won its first ACC Championship in 20 years and went 10-4, the program’s first 10-win season in 21 years. But the year ended on a very sour note for a second straight season.
Clemson was hammered by West Virginia by 37 points in its first trip to the Orange Bowl in 30 years. The 70 points the Tigers allowed are still an FBS record for points allowed in a bowl game.
Again, some questioned Swinney and wondered if he was still the right guy for the job. As the Tigers entered the 2012 season, there was still some lingering doubts.
However, and though it did not win a second straight ACC Championship, Clemson had a better year than the year before. The Tigers went 11-2, including a come-from-behind win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Clemson was even better in 2013, again winning 11 games, and this time with a victory over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. The only knock on Swinney at this time was his five-game losing streak to the Gamecocks, which was about to end.
In 2014, the Tigers took a small step back, but not a big one. They still won 10 games and ended the regular season by drilling South Carolina, 35-17. They snapped the losing streak as quarterback Deshaun Watson ran for two scores and threw for two more on a torn ACL. It is one of the greatest player stories in the history of the long rivalry.
Clemson went on to rout Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl, which ushered in a dominance in Clemson Football that has never been seen before.
Over the last four years, the Tigers have won 55 games and lost just 4. They’ve won the ACC all four years and advanced to the College Football Playoff four straight times. As for the Gamecocks, Swinney’s Tigers have won five straight.
In the CFP, they have downed Oklahoma, Ohio State and Notre Dame. The average score in those three wins … 33-7. They have played Alabama four times and beat them twice, both times in the national championship game, including last year’s 44-16 victory.
So, as Clemson gets set to begin its last year in this decade. Let’s not forget Swinney kept his word. No matter what happens this year, 2010-’19 is clearly the best decade in Clemson football history.
The best decades in Clemson Football history:
2010-2018: 103-22 (.824) 2 National Championships, 1 National Runner-up, 5 ACC Championships
1980-1989: 87-25-4 (.767) 1 National Championship, 5 ACC Championships
1900-1909: 67-21-7 (.742) 4 SIAA Championships
1950-1959: 64-32-5 (.658) 3 ACC Championships
2000-2009: 79-47 (.627) 1 ACC Atlantic Division Championship