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Clemson’s on win streaks vs. almost every champ of the last 20 years

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No national champion from 1998 onward would go on to have a winning record against Clemson.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson Celebration Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

College football is cyclical in some ways, with the same teams staying on top for long stretches, so I’m sure this kind of thing has happened several times in its history.

But this still goes to show Clemson has been building something excellent for almost a decade now. It’s sometimes easy to forget how many good teams the Tigers have beaten during their transformation from promising program to consistent winner to consistent champ. This team is a whole lot more than just the lil underdog that beats Bama.

First, let’s run through the last decade of national championship programs.

Sure, much of this list boils down to “Clemson blew out Nick Saban’s Alabama,” but since Clemson was the first team to ever do that, that’s fine!

  • 2018: Clemson is Clemson.
  • 2017: Alabama lost to Clemson by 32 total points the year before and after this.
  • 2016: Clemson is Clemson.
  • 2015: Alabama’s perfect record in official title games would soon be ruined by Clemson (twice).
  • 2014: Ohio State lost to Clemson by 36 total points shortly before and shortly after this. I don’t want 44-16 to make us forget about 31-0.
  • 2013: Florida State is 1-4 against Clemson since, losing by as many as 49.
  • 2012: Alabama would soon lose two title games against Clemson by a total of 32 points, icymi.
  • 2011: Alabama would soon lose two title games against Clemson by a total of 32 points, icymi.
  • 2010: Auburn is 0-4 against Clemson since.
  • 2009: Alabama would soon lose two title games against Clemson by a total of 32 points, icymi. This was Saban’s first title at Bama, after which he’d go 2-2 against Clemson. (His Bama also beat Clemson in 2008, but that doesn’t fit our scope here.)

At that point, we find Clemson needs to schedule a few upcoming games, in order to complete the millennium.

However, no champ has bragging rights over the Tigers until you exit the BCS era:

  • 2008: Florida and Clemson haven’t played since.
  • 2007: LSU is 0-1 against Clemson since.
  • 2006: Florida and Clemson haven’t played since.
  • 2005: Texas and Clemson have never played.
  • 2004: Well, Clemson owns the other USC, but these two haven’t played since.
  • 2003: LSU is 0-1 against Clemson since.
  • 2002: Ohio State is 0-2 against Clemson since.
  • 2001: Miami is 2-4 against Clemson since, including a recent 93-3 margin in our present timeline.
  • 2000: Oklahoma is 0-2 against Clemson since.
  • 1999: This is a fun one, because Florida State was still amid one of the sport’s greatest dynasties ever, but is 9-10 against Clemson since this season anyway.
  • 1998: Tennessee is 0-1 against Clemson since, and that wasn’t even Dabo Swinney’s team yet. We’ll cut it at 21 years.

1997 was our last true split title. Nebraska is 1-0 against Clemson since, and Michigan has never played the Tigers, so let’s stop there.

Clemson also often plays Notre Dame and has recently beaten the Irish even worse than it beat Saban’s Alabama (if you can imagine a beating worse than that), but we don’t have time to dig back far enough into history to find national titles won by Notre Dame. Frankly, going that deep into the ancient vaults sounds spooky. Pressing publish.