Clemson Tigers football

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Clemson Tigers football
2014 Clemson Tigers football team
Clemson University Tiger Paw logo.svg
First season1896 (119 years ago) (1896)
Athletic directorDan Radakovich
Head coachDabo Swinney
7th (6th full) year, 61–26 (.701)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium, Clemson
Stadium capacity81,473 (86,092 record)
Stadium surfaceNatural Grass
LocationClemson, South Carolina
ConferenceACC (1953–present)
DivisionACC Atlantic Division (2005–present)
All-time record689–455–45 (.598)
Postseason bowl record19–18 (.514)
Claimed national titles1 (1981)
Conference titles18 (14 ACC)
Division titles

2* (2009, 2011)

  • ACC Divisions were added in 2005
Consensus All-Americans23[1]
Current uniform

Orange and Regalia[2]

Fight songTiger Rag
MascotThe Tiger
Marching bandTiger Band
RivalsSouth Carolina Gamecocks
Florida State Seminoles
Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
NC State Wolfpack
Boston College Eagles
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Clemson Tigers football
2014 Clemson Tigers football team
Clemson University Tiger Paw logo.svg
First season1896 (119 years ago) (1896)
Athletic directorDan Radakovich
Head coachDabo Swinney
7th (6th full) year, 61–26 (.701)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium, Clemson
Stadium capacity81,473 (86,092 record)
Stadium surfaceNatural Grass
LocationClemson, South Carolina
ConferenceACC (1953–present)
DivisionACC Atlantic Division (2005–present)
All-time record689–455–45 (.598)
Postseason bowl record19–18 (.514)
Claimed national titles1 (1981)
Conference titles18 (14 ACC)
Division titles

2* (2009, 2011)

  • ACC Divisions were added in 2005
Consensus All-Americans23[1]
Current uniform

Orange and Regalia[2]

Fight songTiger Rag
MascotThe Tiger
Marching bandTiger Band
RivalsSouth Carolina Gamecocks
Florida State Seminoles
Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
NC State Wolfpack
Boston College Eagles

The Clemson Tigers football team, known traditionally as the "Clemson University Fighting Tigers", represents Clemson University in the sport of American football. The Tigers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Formed in 1896, the program has achieved a Consensus Division I Football National Championship, 18 conference championships, 5 undefeated seasons, 3 divisional titles since 2005, has produced 68 All-Americans, 15 Academic All-Americans, and 169 NFL players.[3] Clemson has had six members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Clemson University has the 29th highest ranked college football program in history when calculated by the win/loss ratio (.598). When calculated by sheer number of wins Clemson ranks 30th with 689 total wins in program history.

With 18 total conference titles, Clemson is one of the founding members of the ACC. For a number of years Clemson held the most titles at 14. In 2014 though, FSU defeated Georgia Tech to earn their 15th ACC title and bypassed Clemson in this category. The Tigers' most recent ACC championship came in 2011 with a 38–10 win over 5th-ranked Virginia Tech.

Among its five undefeated seasons, Clemson won their first and only poll-era national football championship in 1981 with a 22–15 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers have 37 total bowl appearances[19-18]. Former players Terry Kinard, Jeff Davis, and Banks McFadden have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Former coaches Frank Howard, Jess Neely, and John Heisman are also inductees into the Hall. The Tigers have finished in the Final Top 25 rankings 25 times in the program's history.

The Tigers play their home games in Memorial Stadium on the university's Clemson, South Carolina campus. The stadium is also known as "Death Valley" after a Presbyterian College head coach gave it the moniker in 1948 due to the many defeats his teams suffered there. Currently, it is the 19th largest stadium in college football.

Clemson currently has four consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins. This ranks 4th in active 10 or more win seasons. Alabama and Oregon are tied for 1st with seven straight seasons a piece. NIU is 3rd with five and Clemson is in 4th with four straight. FSU and Ohio State are tied for 5th with 3 each. [5] Clemson currently has ten straight seasons with a bowl game appearance.


Early History (1896-1930)[edit]

The 1896 Clemson Tigers team.

Walter Merritt Riggs can be characterized as the "Father of Clemson Football," as he brought the game with him from Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now Auburn University). The fact that Auburn and Clemson share the same mascot is no accident. Riggs allowed his players to pick the team mascot and, although he may have influenced their decision, the players chose Tigers because Princeton University had just won the national championship. Riggs helped organize and coach the infant Tiger team in 1896. Indeed, when the Tigers traveled to Greenville on Halloween to play Furman in their very first match, only Coach Riggs and backfield player Frank Thompkins had ever seen a football game played. Today in Clemson, the soccer field is named Historic Riggs field after Walter Riggs.

Riggs took the team to a 2–1 record in the inaugural year. He then stepped aside at the urging of the cadets, who felt that he should concentrate on his scholastic duties rather than coach the team for free. William M. Williams coached the Tigers in 1897, guiding them to a 2–2 record. In 1898, John Penton led the Tigers to a 3–1 record.

In 1899, when the Clemson Athletic Association could not afford a coaching salary, Riggs again took over the reins, one of only two Clemson football coaches to return to the position after stepping down. The 1899 squad went 4–2. Riggs' overall record of 6–3 gives him a .667 winning percentage.

After a decade as a Mechanical Engineering professor, he was named acting president of Clemson Agricultural College in 1910, being confirmed by the Board of Trustees as permanent president on March 7, 1911. He served until his untimely death on January 22, 1924 while on a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with officials of other land grant institutions.

John W. Heisman on Bowman Field, Clemson's first gridiron.

John Heisman coached the Tigers to their first undefeated season (6–0) in 1900.[4] Heisman stayed only four years at Clemson, where he compiled a record of 19–3–2, an .833 percentage, the best in Clemson football history.[5] Following a 73–0 defeat of Georgia Tech in 1903, the Yellow Jackets hired Heisman as their first full-time football coach.

After Heisman left Clemson to become the head coach at Georgia Tech, the following coaches led the Tigers football team:

Jess Neely era (1931-1939)[edit]

In 1931, Jess Neely (a former head coach at Rhodes and assistant at Alabama) became Clemson's head football coach. During his tenure, Neely led the Tigers to a 43-35-7 record. His final season at Clemson was the turning point in the Tigers' program. His team went 9-1 during that season, finishing second to Duke in the Southern Conference. The Tigers also received their first bowl invitation and bowl victory that year, defeating nationally ranked Boston College 6-3 in the 1940 Cotton Bowl Classic. The 1939 Tigers finished with a #12 ranking in the final AP poll. Clemson also had their first Associated Press All-American that year in Banks McFadden. Jess Neely, along with then athletic director Rupert Fike, founded the IPTAY Scholarship Fund, which supports the Clemson Athletic Department.

Frank Howard era (1940-1969)[edit]

After Jess Neely left to become the head coach at Rice, Frank Howard (an assistant coach under Neely) was named head coach. In his 30 years at Clemson, Howard compiled a 165–118–12 record, a 3–3 bowl record, won two Southern Conference championships, and six ACC championships. Seven of Howard's teams finished the year ranked in at least one final poll. He also incorporated the Single Wing, T-formation, and I-formation offenses at different points during his coaching career at Clemson. Clemson had two undefeated season under Howard, one in 1948 (11-0), and one in 1950 (9-0-1).

The tradition of rubbing "Howard's Rock" prior to running down the hill before home games began during Coach Howard's tenure.[6] The playing field at Memorial Stadium was named "Frank Howard Field" in 1974 following his retirement to honor his many years of service for the university. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Clemson Hall of Fame, the Clemson Ring of Honor, the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame, the State of Alabama Hall of Fame, National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor, and the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.

Hootie Ingram era (1970-1972)[edit]

Clemson struggled during the years following Frank Howard's retirement. His successor, Hootie Ingram, only compiled a 12–21 record. During his tenure, the tradition of running down the hill was stopped from 1970 to the end of the 1972 season, when the team decided it wanted to come down the hill for the final home game against South Carolina. The traditional "tiger paw" logo, which was designed by John Antonio of Henderson Advertising, was introduced in 1970 by Ingram and Clemson President R.C. Edwards.[7]

Red Parker era (1973-1976)[edit]

Jimmy "Red" Parker coached the Tigers from 1973–1976, compiling a 17-25-2 record.[8] The Tigers went 2-9 in 1975, and 3-6-2 in 1976, however, and Red Parker was cut loose by the Board of Trustees at the end of the Bicentennial season. Athletic Director Bill McClellan got the task of informing Parker he was gone when Parker refused to fire his assistants. Parker's 17-25-2 record earned him a .409 winning percentage.

Charlie Pell era (1977-1978)[edit]

Charlie Pell coached the Tigers for two seasons, winning the ACC Coach of the Year award twice and leading the Tigers to the 1978 ACC Championship en route to an 18-4-1 record. In both seasons, Clemson earned berths to the Gator Bowl. However, Pell became involved in NCAA rules and recruiting violations that came to light under the tenure of his successor, Danny Ford. Charlie Pell would leave after 1978 to become head coach at Florida, where his coaching career would end in 1984 following more NCAA rules violations.

Danny Ford era (1978-1989)[edit]

Danny Ford was promoted from offensive line coach to head coach in 1978, after Charlie Pell left for the University of Florida. He won his first game, the 1978 Gator Bowl, with a 17–15 victory over Ohio State and legendary coach Woody Hayes, who punched LB Charlie Bauman in the throat after making the game-clinching interception. In is fourth season, Ford guided Clemson to the summit of college football by winning the National Championship, and recording the program's fifth undefeated season. The Tigers, who were unranked in the preseason, downed three top-10 teams (Georgia, North Carolina and Nebraska) during the course of the 12-0 season that concluded with a 22-15 victory over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl. Ford, named National Coach-of-the-Year in 1981, holds the record as the youngest coach (33 years old) to win a national championship on the gridiron.[9]

On November 21, 1982, the football program was placed on probation for a 2-year period to include the 1983 and 1984 seasons. This sanction was enforced on the program by the NCAA Committee on Infractions due to a lengthy history of recruiting violations meant to gain an athletic advantage. These recruiting violations took place from 1977 through the Tigers' 1981 National Championship season and into 1982, under the administration of two head coaches, Charlie Pell and Danny Ford. The Atlantic Coast Conference imposed a third year of conference penalty.

Over 150 documented violations were found to have been committed under NCAA bylaws in the categories of improper recruiting inducements, extra benefits to student-athletes, unethical conduct, improper financial aid, improper campus visits, improper transportation and entertainment, improper use of funds, improper employment, improper recruiting contact, and distribution of cash to players by members of the coaching staff.[10]

As a result of these violations, Clemson was barred from participating in bowl games following the 1982 and 1983 seasons, and barred from appearing on live television in the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Also, the number of scholarships that the university could allocate to football players was restricted to 20 (from the normal limit of 30) for the 1983-84 and 1984-85 academic years. The Tigers, however, were allowed to keep their 1978 and 1981 ACC titles as well as the 1981 national title.

Charles Alan Wright, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions said at the time, "Due to the large number and serious nature of the violations in this case, the committee believed that institutional sanctions related to appearances on television and in postseason football bowl games were appropriate. In addition, because the violations indicated a pattern of improper recruiting activities, the committee determined that a two-year limitation on financial aid to new recruits should be imposed to offset any recruiting advantage that was gained improperly by the university."[11][12]

After the probation period, Clemson won three straight ACC titles between 1986 and 1988, including a 35-10 victory over Penn State and a 13-6 defeat of the Oklahoma Sooners in the Florida Citrus Bowl. In 1989, Clemson registered a 10-2 season and top-12 national ranking for the fourth straight season, and ended his career at Clemson with a 27–7 win over West Virginia (and All-America quarterback Major Harris) in the 1989 Gator Bowl.[13]

Just five years after their probation ended, Clemson once again found their football program accused of multiple recruiting violations in January 1990.[14] The NCAA accused a Clemson coach and booster of giving cash in amounts of $50 to $70 to players and having illegal contact with recruits over a period from 1984 to 1988. In June 1990, the Tigers were placed on probation again, but did not receive any post-season or television bans.[15] This chain of events contributed, in part, to the forced resignation of popular head coach Danny Ford.[16]

After a few years away from coaching, Ford was hired by Arkansas in 1992, where he would spend five seasons guiding the Razorbacks.

Ford compiled a 96-29-4 (.760) record at Clemson and remains the second most winningest coach in Clemson history. He coached the Tigers to five ACC championships.

Ken Hatfield era (1990-1993)[edit]

Ken Hatfield, former coach at Air Force and Arkansas, took over as head coach at Clemson in late 1989. He had a 32–13–1 record with the Tigers and led them to three bowl games.

Hatfield worked to clean up the program's image in the wake of the Ford-era sanctions.[17] However, in the wake of Ford's success, Hatfield and many in the Clemson fanbase did not see eye-to-eye. A common saying among Tiger fans during this time was "Howard built it. Ford filled it. Hatfield killed it." This sentiment followed Clemson's first losing season (1992) since 1976.

Largely due to this discontent, school officials refused to grant him a one-year extension on his contract after the 1993 season, even though the Tigers had rebounded from 5–6 in 1992 to an 8–3 record that year and were invited to the Peach Bowl. Expressing "much disappointment" in what he saw as a lack of support by Clemson fans and several university officials, Hatfield resigned at the end of the regular season.[18] He was later hired at Rice.

The purple home jerseys used by Clemson in special games made their debut during the 1991 ACC championship season, with the Tigers wearing them in the regular season against NC State and in the Citrus Bowl vs. California.

Tommy West era (1993-1998)[edit]

Tommy West replaced Ken Hatfield at the end of the 1993 season, coaching the Tigers to a 14-13 victory in the 1993 Peach Bowl against Kentucky. West had a 31–28 record during his five seasons at Clemson and led the Tigers to three bowl games but no ACC championships. West was fired after a dismal 1998 campaign which saw Clemson go 3-8 and finish last in the ACC. West went on to be the head coach at Memphis.

Tommy Bowden era (1999-2008)[edit]

Coach Bowden

After Tommy West's dismissal following the 1998 season, Clemson hired Tommy Bowden, son of Bobby Bowden and coach at Tulane. Bowden led the Tigers to a 6–6 record and a Peach Bowl bid in 1999, with the team that navigated its way through a schedule that included MAC champions and undefeated Marshall, Big East champion and BCS runner-up Virginia Tech (who went undefeated during the regular season), and eventual National Champion Florida State (who finished the year undefeated). The 1999 meeting between the Tigers and Seminoles was dubbed the "Bowden Bowl" and was the first time that a father and son coached against each other in Division I football. FSU won the game 17–[19] 14 in front of the largest crowd in the history of Death Valley.

During Bowden's tenure, the Tigers were bowl eligible every season but didn't win any ACC championships (the 2004 team turned down a bowl invitation as punishment for a massive brawl during a game against the University of South Carolina). Despite this, Bowden has been criticized for his teams underachieving. The 2000 Tigers started 8–0 and rose as high as #5 in the polls before losing three of their last four. The same thing happened during the 2006 season following a 7–1 start and with the team on the verge of winning the ACC Atlantic Division. The Tigers have also shown great resolve at points during Bowden's tenure. The 2003 team won four games at the end of the season to finish 9–4, which included victories over #3 Florida State and #7 Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. The 2004 season saw the Tigers start 1–4 only to win five of their last six games (which included an overtime upset of #10 Miami), while the 2005 team overcame a 2–3 start to finish the season 9–4.

Tommy Bowden agreed to resign for $3.5 million on October 13, 2008, after leading the team to a disappointing 3–3 record (1–2 ACC) at the midpoint of a season in which the Tigers were an almost unanimous preseason pick to win their first ACC title under Bowden and were ranked #9 in the preseason polls. Assistant coach Dabo Swinney was named interim head coach.[20]

Dabo Swinney era (2008-present)[edit]

Coach Swinney
On January 3, 2014, Clemson defeated Ohio State 40–35 in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium.

Following the departure of Tommy Bowden, wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney was dubbed interim head coach and led the Tigers to a 4–2 record, finishing the 2008 regular season at 7–6. On December 1, 2008, Swinney signed a five-year contract as Clemson's permanent head coach.[21]

On November 21, 2009, Swinney and the Tigers qualified for their first ACC title game berth, only to lose to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 39–34. They were awarded a trip to the 2009 Music City Bowl, and defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 21–13, avenging their upset loss in the 2006 Music City Bowl.

On December 31, 2010 Clemson was defeated by the South Florida Bulls, 31–26, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. In January 2011, Swinney hired new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, In December 2011, Morris became tied with Gus Malzahn as the highest paid assistant in college football after Clemson gave Morris a six-year contract worth $1.3 million annually. Dabo also added on running backs coach Tony Elliott, and defensive line coach Marion Hobby.

On September 17, 2011, Clemson beat the defending national champions, the #21-ranked Auburn Tigers, and ended Auburn's 17-game winning streak, the longest winning streak in the nation. On October 1, 2011, Clemson became the first ACC team to beat three nationally ranked opponents in a row: #21-ranked Auburn, #11-ranked Florida State, and #11-ranked Virginia Tech. On November 12, 2011, Clemson defeated Wake Forest, winning the ACC Atlantic Division title. On November 26, 2011, Clemson lost to South Carolina for the third straight year, the first time Clemson had lost three straight to its instate rival since the seasons from 1968-1970. On December 3, the Tigers won their first ACC Championship since 1991, defeating Virginia Tech 38-10 in the Championship Game. #15 Clemson would go on to lose to the #23 West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2012 Orange Bowl 70-33, giving up an all-time record number of points scored in a quarter (35), half (49) and game (70) in the 109-year history of bowl games.[22]

On Dec. 31, 2012, Clemson achieved its first 11-win season since the national championship year with a last-second upset win over the #8 LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Clemson trailed 24-13 in the fourth quarter, but rallied back with a game winning drive that saw a 4th and 16 conversion deep in their own territory that would lead to Chandler Catanzaro's 37-yard field goal as time expired to give Clemson a 25-24 win.

The 2013 season was historic for the Clemson football program. The Tigers began the season with a 38-35 home victory over rival and fifth-ranked Georgia and finished 11-2 in 2013 and secured the school's first ever BCS bowl win with a 40-35 victory over #7 Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins set Orange Bowl yardage records. Boyd compiled 505 total yards and threw five touchdowns. It was the Tigers fourth win over a top 10 opponent under Swinney.[23]

Clemson finished 10-3 in 2014, highlighted by a 35-17 win over arch-rival South Carolina and a 40-6 win over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl.[24] The Tigers took on ACC rival Florida State in week 3 of their season only to suffer a heartbreaking loss in overtime as #22 Clemson lost to #1 FSU 17-23. The Tigers then claimed a six game winning streak in the middle of their season but lost to Georgia Tech as star Freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson went out with a knee injury early in the 1st quarter. The Tigers had the nation's #1 ranked defense under defensive coordinator Brent Venables[25] and the emergence of freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson propelled the Tigers to another 10-win season for the 4th time in Dabo Swinney's six years as head coach.


Current coaching staff[edit]

Clemson Tigers football current coaching staff[26]
NamePositionAlma Mater
Dabo SwinneyHead CoachUniversity of Alabama
Jeff ScottCo-Offensive CoordinatorClemson University
Brent VenablesDefensive Coordinator/Linebackers CoachKansas State University
Michael ReedDefensive Backs CoachBoston College
Dan BrooksDefensive Line CoachWestern Carolina University
Tony ElliottCo-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs CoachClemson University
Marion HobbyDefensive Ends CoachUniversity of Tennessee
Danny PearmanSpecial Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends/Offensive Tackles CoachClemson University
Robbie CaldwellOffensive Line CoachFurman University
Brandon StreeterQuarterbacks Coach/Recruiting CoordinatorClemson University

Career coaching records[edit]

1896-1899Walter M Riggs26-3.667
1897William M. Williams12-2.500
1898John A. Penton13-1.750
1900-1903John W. Heisman419-3-2.833
1904Shack Shealy13-3-1.500
1905Edward B. "Eddie" Cochems13-2-1.583
1906–1915Bob Williams522-14-6.595
1907Frank J. Shaughnessy14-4-0.500
1908John N. Stone11-6-0.143
1910-1912Frank M. Dobson311-12-1.479
1916Wayne Hart13-6.333
1917- 1920Edward A. Donahue421-12-3.625
1921 - 1922Edward J. "Doc" Stewart26-10-2.389
1923 - 1926Bud Saunders410-22-1.318
1927 - 1930Josh C. Cody429-11-1.720
1931 -1939Jess C. Neely943-35-7.547
1940 - 1969Frank Howard30165-118-12.580
1970 - 1972Hootie Ingram312-21.364
1973 - 1976Jimmy "Red" Parker417-25-2.409
1977 - 1978Charley Pell218-4-1.804
1978 - 1989Danny Ford1296-29-4.760
1990 - 1993Ken Hatfield432-13-1.707
1993 - 1998Tommy West631-28.526
1999 - 2008Tommy Bowden1072-45.615
2008 - currentDabo Swinney661-26.701
Totals25 coaches118 seasons689-455-45.598

Clemson traditions[edit]

As a result, it is now a tradition for the Clemson Army ROTC to protect the Rock for the 24 hours prior to the Clemson-South Carolina game when held in Death Valley. ROTC cadets keep a steady drum cadence around the rock prior to the game, which can be heard across the campus. Part of the tradition comes after unknown parties vandalized the Rock prior to the 1992 South Carolina-Clemson game.[32] On June 2, 2013, Howard's Rock was again vandalized when the case containing it was broken and a portion of the rock was removed by an apparent fan of the Tigers, who was eventually arrested following a police investigation.[33]


South Carolina[edit]

The Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is the largest annual sporting event in terms of ticket sales in the state of South Carolina. Clemson holds a 66–42–4 lead in the series which dates back to 1896. Historically, the final score in the game, (on average), has been decided by less than a touchdown.[37][38] From 1896 to 1959, the Clemson-South Carolina game was played, on the fairgrounds, in Columbia, SC and was referred-to as "Big Thursday". In 1960 an alternating-site format was implemented utilizing both teams' home stadiums. The annual game has since been designated "The Palmetto Bowl." The last seven contests between the programs have been nationally televised (3 on ESPN, 4 on ESPN2).

Georgia Tech[edit]

Clemson's rivalry with Georgia Tech dates to 1898 with the first game being played in Atlanta. The game was played in Atlanta for 44 of the first 47 match-ups, until Georgia Tech joined the ACC. When Georgia Tech joined the ACC in 1978, the series went to a more traditional home-and-home setup beginning with the 1983 game. When the ACC expanded to 12 teams and split into two divisions in 2005, Clemson and Georgia Tech were placed in opposite divisions but were designated permanent cross-divisional rivals so that the series may continue uninterrupted. The two schools are 127 miles apart and connected to each other by Interstate 85. This distance is slightly closer than that between Clemson and traditional rival South Carolina (137 miles). After the 2012 season, Georgia Tech led the series 49-26-2. However, the series is tied at 15-15 since Georgia Tech joined the ACC in 1983.

NC State[edit]

Main article: Textile Bowl

The yearly conference and divisional match-up with NC State is known as the Textile Bowl for the schools' similar missions in research and development for the textile industry in the Carolinas. The first meeting of the two schools occurred in 1899, and Clemson currently holds a 52-28-1 series advantage, including having won 8 of the last 9 games played. The series has been played annually since 1971.

Boston College[edit]

The O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy was created in 2008 by the Boston College Gridiron Club in order to honor the tradition at both schools and to honor the legacy of Charlie O'Rourke and Banks McFadden, who played during the leather helmet era. The club plans to make this an annual presentation. Clemson first met Boston College on the football field in the 1940 Cotton Bowl Classic, the first ever bowl game for the Tigers and Eagles. Over the next 43 years, the teams met a total of 13 times. In 2005, Boston College joined the ACC and the Atlantic Division. Since then, the game has been played on an annual basis with Clemson winning in 5 of the last 6 meetings. As of 2014 the Tigers lead the series 14-9-2.

Florida State[edit]

Between 1999 and 2007 the ACC Atlantic Division matchup between Clemson and Florida State was referred to as the "Bowden Bowl" to reflect the father-son head coach matchup between Bobby Bowden (Father, FSU) and Tommy Bowden (Son, Clemson). Their first meeting, in 1999, was the first time in Division I-A history that a father and a son met as opposing head coaches in a football game. Bobby Bowden won the first four matchups extending FSU's winning streak over Clemson to 11 dating back to 1992. Since 2003, Clemson is 6-6, including a 26-10 win in Clemson over then-#3 FSU, the highest ranking opponent to ever be defeated by the Tigers. Also during this time the Tigers recorded a 27-20 win in Tallahassee in 2006 which broke a 17-year losing streak in Doak Campbell Stadium. 2007 was the last Bowden Bowl game as Tommy resigned as head coach in October 2008. As of 2014, Florida State leads the overall series 20-8.


The Bulldogs and the Tigers have played each other 63 times beginning in 1897, with the 64th meeting scheduled to be played in 2014. Clemson’s only regular-season losses of the 1978, 1982, and 1991 campaigns all came at the hands of Georgia "between the hedges," whereas Georgia’s only regular-season setback during the three years of the Herschel Walker era came in Death Valley during Danny Ford's 1981 national championship run.

During the two programs’ simultaneous glory days of the early 1980s, no rivalry in all of college football was more important at the national level. The Bulldogs and Tigers played each other every season from 1973 to 1987, with Scott Woerner’s dramatic returns in 1980 and the nine turnovers forced by the Tigers in 1981 effectively settling the eventual national champion. No rivalry of that period was more competitive, as evidenced by the critical eleventh-hour field goals kicked by Kevin Butler in 1984 and by David Treadwell more than once later in the decade. Despite blowouts in 1990 by the Tigers and in 1994 and 2003 by the Bulldogs, the series typically has remained very competitive with evenly-matched games.

Georgia currently maintains a 41-18-4 lead in the series, with 34 games having been played at Georgia, 21 games having been played at Clemson, and 8 games having been played at a neutral site (either Augusta, Georgia or Anderson, South Carolina). Georgia had won 5 games in a row, dating back to 1991, until Clemson won a Top 10 match-up to open the 2013 season in Death Valley. On August 31, 2013, #8 Clemson hosted #5 Georgia as the season opener for both teams featuring senior starting quarterbacks, star-studded offenses and questions to be answered on both team's defenses. This Top 10 match-up was chosen as the ESPN game of the week, and Clemson hosted ESPN's College Gameday for just the second time. Clemson won the game by the score of 38 to 35.

Their last matchup was in 2014 in Athens where the Bulldogs defeated Clemson 45-21.


These old rivals first played in 1899, but until 2010, had not faced each other in the regular season since 1971. Auburn leads the overall series 34-13-2 and had won 14 games in a row, dating back to 1952, before Clemson snapped the streak in 2011, by beating #21 ranked Auburn 38-24 in Death Valley, in front of a crowd of exactly 82,000. Along with snapping one streak, Clemson also snapped Auburn's seventeen-game winning streak coming off of the 2009-2011 seasons. The Georgia Dome hosted the Auburn-Clemson rivalry in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Clemson defeated Auburn 26-19 riding on a 231 yard performance by Andre Ellington. This game was notable due to Sammy Watkins' absence, having been suspended the first two games due to a drug-related arrest in May 2012. The series is scheduled to be revived following a three-year hiatus in 2016 at Auburn and 2017 at Clemson.

All-time record vs. current ACC teams[edit]

OpponentWonLostTiedPercentageStreakFirst MeetingLast Meeting
Boston College1392.583Won 419402014
Duke36161.689Won 419342012
Florida State8200.296Lost 319702014
Georgia Tech27512.350Lost 118982014
Louisville1001.000Won 120142014
Miami360.333Lost 119452010
North Carolina36191.652Won 218972014
North Carolina State54271.665Won 318992014
Pittsburgh010.000Lost 119771977
Syracuse210.667Won 219952014
Virginia3881.819Won 319552013
Virginia Tech20121.621Won 319002012
Wake Forest62171.781Won 619332014

Bowl games[edit]

SeasonCoachBowlGame DateW/LOpponentPFPA
1939Jess NeelyCottonJanuary 1, 1940WBoston College63
1948Frank HowardGatorJanuary 1, 1949WMissouri2423
1950Frank HowardOrangeJanuary 1, 1951WMiami1514
1951Frank HowardGatorJanuary 1, 1952LMiami014
1956Frank HowardOrangeJanuary 1, 1957LColorado2127
1958Frank HowardSugarJanuary 1, 1959LLSU07
1959Frank HowardBluebonnetDecember 19, 1959WTCU237
1977Charley PellGatorDecember 30, 1977LPittsburgh334
1978Danny FordGatorDecember 29, 1978WOhio State1715
1979Danny FordPeachDecember 31, 1979LBaylor1824
1981Danny FordOrangeJanuary 1, 1982WNebraska2215
1985Danny FordIndependenceDecember 21, 1985LMinnesota1320
1986Danny FordGatorDecember 27, 1986WStanford2721
1987Danny FordFlorida CitrusJanuary 1, 1988WPenn State3510
1988Danny FordFlorida CitrusJanuary 2, 1989WOklahoma136
1989Danny FordGatorDecember 30, 1989WWest Virginia277
1990Ken HatfieldHall of FameJanuary 1, 1991WIllinois300
1991Ken HatfieldFlorida CitrusJanuary 1, 1992LCalifornia1337
1993Tommy WestPeachDecember 31, 1993WKentucky1413
1995Tommy WestGatorJanuary 1, 1996LSyracuse041
1996Tommy WestPeachDecember 28, 1996LLSU710
1997Tommy WestPeachJanuary 2, 1998LAuburn1721
1999Tommy BowdenPeachDecember 30, 1999LMississippi State717
2000Tommy BowdenGatorJanuary 1, 2001LVirginia Tech2041
2001Tommy BowdenHumanitarian BowlDecember 31, 2001WLouisiana Tech4924
2002Tommy BowdenTangerineDecember 23, 2002LTexas Tech1555
2003Tommy BowdenPeachJanuary 2, 2004WTennessee2714
2005Tommy BowdenChamps SportsDecember 27, 2005WColorado1910
2006Tommy BowdenMusic CityDecember 29, 2006LKentucky2028
2007Tommy BowdenChick-fil-ADecember 31, 2007LAuburn2023
2008Dabo SwinneyGatorJanuary 1, 2009LNebraska2126
2009Dabo SwinneyMusic CityDecember 27, 2009WKentucky2113
2010Dabo SwinneyMeineke Car CareDecember 31, 2010LSouth Florida2631
2011Dabo SwinneyOrangeJanuary 4, 2012LWest Virginia3370
2012Dabo SwinneyChick-fil-ADecember 31, 2012WLSU2524
2013Dabo SwinneyOrangeJanuary 3, 2014WOhio State4035
2014Dabo SwinneyRussell AthleticDecember 29, 2014WOklahoma406
Total37 Bowl Games19-18728786

National championship[edit]

Clemson finished their undefeated 1981 season with a 22-15 victory over the #4 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1982 Orange Bowl, and were named the national champions.[39]

1981Danny FordAP, UPI/Coaches' Poll12-0Orange BowlNebraska2215
National championships:1

† Other consensus selectors included Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, FACT, FB News, Football Research, FW, Helms, Litkenhous, Matthews, National Championship Foundation, NFF, NY Times, Poling, Sagarin, and Sporting News[40]

Undefeated seasons[edit]

Since its beginnings in 1896, Clemson has completed five undefeated seasons.[41] This includes three perfect seasons in which the Tigers were undefeated and untied:

Conference championships[edit]

Clemson won the Southern Inercollegiate Athletic Association in 1900 and 1902 along with the Southern Conference title in 1940 and 1948.[42] Their 14 ACC titles (13 outright, 1 tied) is tied with Florida State for the all-time ACC football record.

YearCoachConferenceOverall RecordConference Record
1900John HeismanSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association6–04–0
1902John HeismanSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association6–16–0
1940Frank HowardSouthern Conference6–2–14–0
1948Frank HowardSouthern Conference11–05–0
1956Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference7–2–24–0–1
1958Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference8–35–1
1959Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference9–26–1
1965Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference5–55–2
1966Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference6–46–1
1967Frank HowardAtlantic Coast Conference6–46–0
1978Charley PellAtlantic Coast Conference11–16–0
1981Danny FordAtlantic Coast Conference12–06–0
1982Danny FordAtlantic Coast Conference9–1–16–0
1986Danny FordAtlantic Coast Conference8–2–25–1–1
1987Danny FordAtlantic Coast Conference10–26–1
1988Danny FordAtlantic Coast Conference10–26–1
1991Ken HatfieldAtlantic Coast Conference9–2–16–0–1
2011Dabo SwinneyAtlantic Coast Conference10–46–2
Conference Titles: 18

Note: Bold years indicate outright conference titles

† In 1965, South Carolina violated participation rules relating to two ineligibile players and was required to forfeit wins against North Carolina State and Clemson.[43] North Carolina State and Clemson were then declared co-champions.[44]

Conference affiliations

Divisional championships[edit]

In 2005, the Atlantic Coast Conference divided into two divisions of six teams each and began holding an ACC Championship Game at the conclusion of the regular football season to determine the ACC Football Champions. Clemson won its first outright ACC Atlantic Division championship in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2012, Clemson tied for share of the Atlantic Division Championship and was named co-champion of the division.

YearCoachDivision ChampionshipGame ResultOpponentPFPA
2009Dabo SwinneyAtlanticLGeorgia Tech3439
2011Dabo SwinneyAtlanticWVirginia Tech3810
2012Dabo SwinneyAtlantic‡

† On 7/18/2011, Georgia Tech was required to vacate their victory due to NCAA violations and the game is considered by the NCAA and ACC to have no winner.[45]

‡ Clemson finished 7-1 in the ACC and was named Co-champion of the Atlantic Division per ACC rules. Florida State played in the ACC Championship by owning the tie-breaker advantage.

National polls[edit]

Clemson has ended their football season ranked 27 times in either the AP or Coaches Poll.[46] Clemson currently has four consecutive 10 win seasons for the second time in school history. It is the 4th longest active streak behind Alabama(7), Oregon(7) and NIU(5). FSU and Ohio State are tied for 5th place with 3 each. <>

YearRecordAP Poll†Coaches‡Harris

AP Poll began selecting the nation's Top 20 teams in 1939. Only the Top 10 teams were recognized from 1962-1967. The AP Poll expanded back to the Top 20 teams in 1968. In 1989, it began recognizing the Top 25 teams.

UPI/Coaches Poll began selecting its Top 20 teams on a weekly basis in 1950 before expanding to the nations's Top 25 teams in 1990.

Individual award winners[edit]

College Football Hall of Fame inductees[edit]

In 1951, the College Football Hall of Fame opened in South Bend, Indiana. Clemson has had 3 players and 3 former coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame.[47]

NameYears at ClemsonPositionYear Inducted
Jeff Davis1978–1981Linebacker2007
John Heisman1900–1903Head Coach1954
Frank Howard1940–1969Head Coach1989
Terry Kinard1978–1982Safety2001
Banks McFadden1937–1939Halfback1959
Jess Neely1931–1939Head Coach1971

Retired Numbers[edit]

NumberNameYears at ClemsonPositionYear Retired
4Steve Fuller +1975–1978Quarterback1979
66Banks McFadden1937–1939Halfback1987
28CJ Spiller2006–2009Running Back2010

+ Steve Fuller's number 4 was retired in 1979. However, it was brought out of retirement in 2014 to be worn by Clemson's 5 star quarterback recruit, Deshaun Watson.

National award winners[edit]

National coaching awards[edit]

Consensus All-Americans[edit]

Clemson players have been honored 23 times as consensus All-Americans.[48]

Consensus All-Americans
1974Harry Olszewski51G
1979Bennie Cunningham85TE
1981Jim Stuckey83DL
1981Jeff Davis45LB
1981-1982Terry Kinard43DB
1983William Perry66DL
1986Terrence Flagler33RB
1987David Treadwell18PK
1988Donnell Woolford20DB
1990Stacy Long67OL
1991Jeb Flesch59OL
1991Levon Kirkland44CB
1993Stacy Seegars79OL
1997Anthony Simmons41LB
2000Keith Adams43LB
2005Tye Hill8DB
2006Gaines Adams93DL
2009C. J. Spiller28KR/AP
2010Da'Quan Bowers93DL
2011Dwayne Allen83TE
2013Vic Beasley3DL
2014Vic Beasley3DL

Atlantic Coast Conference awards[edit]

Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary football team[edit]

On July 23, 2002 in celebration of the Atlantic Coast Conference's 50th Anniversary, a 120-member blue ribbon committee selected the Top 50 football players in ACC history. Clemson led all conference schools with the most players selected to the Golden Anniversary team.[49] Each of Clemson's honorees were All-Americans and former NFL players. The nine selectees from Clemson were:

Current NFL players[edit]

Future non-conference opponents[50][edit]

vs Notre Dameat Auburnvs Kent Stateat Texas A&Mvs Texas A&Mat Notre Damevs Wyomingat Notre Damevs Notre Dame
vs Woffordvs Troyvs Auburnvs Furmanvs Wofford
vs Appalachian Statevs South Carolina Statevs The Citadel
at South Carolinavs South Carolinaat South Carolina


Clemson Tigers Football from [6] team recruitment rankings:

YearNational RankCommits


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  10. ^ NCAA Public Infraction Report
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  12. ^ For Release After 11 p.m. (EST)
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  15. ^ Associated Press (1990-06-01). "Clemson on Probation". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
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  19. ^ "HISTORY OF BOWDEN BOWL". MSN TV. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  20. ^ Mark Schlabach, Bowden ousted at Clemson; coach 'deserved' to be fired, QB says,, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
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  23. ^ Dabo Swinney#cite note-19
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  25. ^
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  28. ^ a b c Howard, Frank, with Bradley, Bob, and Parker, Virgil, "Howard", Howard, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1990, ISBN 0-934904-22-7, page 132.
  29. ^ a b Bradley, Bob, "Death Valley Days", Longstreet Press, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 1991, Library of Congress card number 91-061931, ISBN 1-56352-006-0, page 17.
  30. ^ Clemson Athletic Department, "2001 Clemson Football", Keys Printing, Greenville, South Carolina, 2001, no ISBN , page 340.
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  36. ^ "Clemson Wins The South’s Best Tailgate". October 15, 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  37. ^ South Carolina vs Clemson, 1869-2012
  38. ^ South Carolina vs Clemson
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  40. ^ "Past Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I FBS) National Champions". NCAA. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  41. ^ "Clemson Yearly Totals". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Clemson Composite Championship Listing". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  43. ^ "ACC Champions" (PDF). 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Media Guide (PDF) (Atlantic Coast Conference): Page 93. 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-05 
  44. ^ Alex Riley (October 11, 2009). "USC football's lost title team of 1965". The State. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  45. ^ (July 18, 2011). "NCAA places Georgia Tech on probation". Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  46. ^ "Clemson in the Polls". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]