Winning six straight ACC Championships is not an easy thing to do
Though Clemson fell short of winning another national championship in 2020, the Tigers are still the King of the Mountain in the ACC, and let’s not lose perspective on what kind of an accomplishment that is.
Remember, before 2011 the Clemson football program had not won an ACC Championship in 20 years. In fact, the Tigers really did not even sniff a league title for much of those two decades until Dabo Swinney’s first team in 2009 advanced to the ACC Championship Game.
However, the Tigers have won seven ACC Championships since 2011, including a current run of six straight. Even adding Notre Dame to help in a pandemic year could not stop Clemson Football’s reign over the conference.
And though some Clemson fans may take the Tigers’ seven ACC Championships in 10 seasons for granted, Swinney does not. To him, each championship has been special in its own way.
“That’s like asking me which one of my three boys are my favorite. You know, I love all three of my sons, and all these teams,” Swinney said with a smile. “We have six in a row and then the ‘11 team. So, all seven of them are special, and they’re like your children. They’re all special. They’re all unique and different challenges.”
During its current six-year rule over the ACC, Clemson has dominated the conference like few ever have. Since the start of the 2015 season, the Tigers are 52-3 against ACC competition, including six wins in the conference championship game.
Clemson won 28 straight games against ACC competition from 2017-’20 before Notre Dame upset the Tigers on Nov. 7 in a double-overtime thriller in South Bend. However, the Tigers exacted revenge on the Irish in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 19 with a 34-10 rout in Charlotte.
The ACC Championship win over Notre Dame wrapped up another league title that Swinney believes no Clemson team has ever deserved more.
“They deserve it. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, I’ve never had a team obviously that’s been challenged with the things that this team has had to face this year. I mean, it’s just been incredible,” Swinney said in reference to how the players have handled the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that went into just trying to play football every week in 2020. “So, this team, they deserve it. And I am really happy for them, but you know they’re all special to me.
“That 2011 team, that was the first one in 20 years for Clemson, that was a big deal. And, and then we don’t get a chance to win six in a row if it wasn’t for that ’15, ’16, ‘17, ’18 and ’19 teams. So, it’s special to be part of.”
And winning an ACC Championship should never be taken for granted.