When you ask someone outside of South Carolina about the best programs in college football history, you are likely not going to get Clemson as an answer.
Why is that?
Because college football fans have been taught that Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Southern Cal and Michigan are the Blue Bloods of college football. Some will probably throw in Miami, Florida State, Nebraska, Florida and even Georgia into that conversation from time to time.
And though those programs are deserving of that accolade, people are missing the boat with Clemson. Prior to 2011, Clemson’s overall football tradition was good. The Tigers owned a national championship, won 19 conference championships, had undefeated seasons, multiple 10-win seasons, beat most of the big boys I mentioned above and played in and won some prestigious bowl games like the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.
The program has had colorful and legendary coaches like John Heisman, Jess Neeley, Frank Howard and Danny Ford, all of whom are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Of course, it has the hill, Howard’s Rock, the Tiger Paw and the mystique of Death Valley.
Clemson’s football tradition has always been a very proud tradition. However, one can argue it has a great tradition now.
What college football fans across the country have failed to realize in the last nine years is the unprecedented run the Tigers have been on under Dabo Swinney. People like to talk about the last five years, and deservedly so, but Clemson was winning at a consistently high-level way before the 2015 season.
Clemson’s consecutive streak of 10-win seasons is nine, which ranks tied for third all-time in the history of college football. If the Tigers can reach 10 wins this year, Clemson will become just the third program to record at least 10 straight 10-win seasons.
Right now, Florida State and Alabama are the only two programs to ever accomplish such a feat. The Seminoles recorded 14 straight 10-win seasons from 1987-2000, while Alabama has done it 12 consecutive times (2008-present).
But the accolades don’t end there.
Under Swinney, Clemson has won two more national championships and played for it two other times, all in the last five years.
The Tigers have also win six more ACC Championships, including five straight, under Swinney’s guidance as well as played in five straight College Football Playoffs. They also played in two BCS bowl games prior to the CFP.
Since the start of the 2015 season, no team in the country—including Alabama—has won more football games than Clemson. The Tigers are 69-5 in the last five years, a .932 win percentage.
Clemson’s 69 wins also represent the most wins in a five-year stretch in the Associated Press Poll era, which began in 1936.
Since 2011, the Tigers have posted a 111-16 record, which is second in the country behind Alabama, who is 114-12 during that same time span.
Clemson has reached 12 wins in each of the last five years, the longest active streak of 12-win seasons and one of four such streaks in the history of college football. The Tigers’ current streak is currently tied for second all-time with Alabama’s 2014-’18 teams. The record is seven straight years by Penn from 1892-1898.
So, the next you are not in South Carolina and some one talks about the best programs in the history of college football, make sure they include Clemson in that conversation. What Dabo Swinney and his program has done in the last 10 years is every bit as impressive as those others.
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