LSU won the 2019 National Championship and is without a doubt the best team in the country. However, Clemson holds the title as the best program in the country.
Clemson’s loss to LSU was the program’s first since the 2017 season when it lost to Alabama in the 2018 Sugar Bowl. In between, the Tigers won an ACC tying 29 games in row, which is tied with 2012-14 Florida State, 1990-93 Miami (Fla.) and 1901-03 Michigan for the 12th-longest in FBS history.
Clemson’s seniors conclude their careers 55-4 over the last four seasons, tied with the 2018 Clemson and Alabama seniors for the most wins in a four-year career in FBS history.
“These seniors, I’m just so thankful,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I mean, truly, just God’s grace to allow me to watch them develop over the last four and five years, to be with guys like Tanner [Muse], just thankful for them. I’m thankful. No scoreboard changes that. We all hurt. We’re all disappointed, but we’re not defined by that.
“These guys, they competed with all they had. So sometimes you come up short. Only one team can win, and the best team won tonight. That’s just the bottom line. They were the better team tonight. There’s nothing you can do but tip your hat and get back to work.”
Clemson concluded the 2010s with a record of 117-23 (.836). Clemson’s mark in the 2010s represents only the fourth time a program has won 117 games in a decade in major college football since 1890, joining Penn (124 in the 1890s), Alabama (124 in the 2010s) and Ohio State (117 in the 2010s).
Clemson’s 14 wins on the year finish tied for the second-most in school history with the 2015 and 2016 squads.
The Tigers dropped to 6-3 all-time in College Football Playoff games. Clemson’s six all-time wins in the playoff remain tied with Alabama for the most in CFP history. No school other than Clemson and Alabama has more than two.
Clemson has won two national championships in the last four years and has played for the title four times in the last five seasons.
“From where we were in 2009, my first year, to where we are now, been in five straight playoffs, and we’ve won two out of the last four National Championships, and we’ve been in four National Championships. You know, I think we’ve got 69 wins in the last five years, which is the most ever in the history of college football over that span,” Swinney said. “So, we’ve built a program of consistency, and that’s really what it’s about to me, and it’s not just on the field. We’ve been top 10 academically nine of my 11 years and eight out of the last nine, us, Duke and Northwestern. So, we’ve had a lot of consistency on the field and a lot of consistency off the field.
“That’s truly what to me matters most. We’ll have more opportunities. These are tough moments. But when I hang my whistle up, it won’t be about these moments. It’s not going to be about the confetti flying and winning a National Championship or a very disappointing painful moment like this where you come up short. It’s really more about the relationships that you have. That’s the true joy, just getting a chance to just come to work every day with such great people. I’ve got a wonderful staff that are so loyal, so committed, and just a bunch of beautiful young men that lay it on the line.”
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