Note: The following appears in the South Carolina gameday football program
This is the fifth consecutive year I have written about a record-setting senior class in the last gameday program of the season. The 2014 seniors finished with a 42-11 record, followed by the 2015 group with a 46-8 mark, followed by the 2016 seniors with a 49-7 ledger, followed by last year’s senior class, a group that became the first in the ACC to total 50 wins (50-7).
The 2018 group has already eclipsed that Clemson and league record with 51 wins against just four losses. It has been a remarkable run, as the 51 wins are already in the top four in FBS history.
Alabama and Clemson have dominated college football during the last four years, and the two teams could meet in the postseason for a fourth straight year. Heading into today’s rivalry games, Alabama’s seniors have a 52-3 record, and this Clemson class is 51-4. The all-time FBS record is 53 wins by the 2017 Alabama seniors, so both Alabama’s and Clemson’s current senior classes could break that record this year.
In addition to the total wins record for a Tiger senior class, this group has set records in many other areas. With the 35-6 victory over Duke last weekend, the seniors finished with a 30-2 ACC regular-season record, the most regular-season league wins in ACC history.
Those 30 regular-season wins do not include ACC Championship Games. This senior group already has three ACC Championship Game victories in the bank, and they could add a fourth next weekend when it faces Pittsburgh. If Clemson wins that game, this senior class would be the first in league history to win four straight outright ACC titles. Florida State had a streak of nine straight ACC championships or co-championships, but the Seminoles never won four in a row outright.
When it comes to wins at Memorial Stadium, this class has a 26-1 record entering today’s home finale. The only loss was by one point to Pittsburgh in 2016, when the Panthers kicked a field goal with six seconds left in the game. A victory today can tie the school record for home wins, as last year’s senior class had a 27-1 record at home.
When it comes to playing away from home, this group is second to none with a 25-3 record. That includes a record 8-0 mark away from home in 2016 and a 5-0 mark this year. No Clemson team has been as dominant in ACC road games as the 2018 squad. Clemson was 4-0 on the road in ACC play this year, and the four wins were by 157 combined points, an ACC record for victory margin in league road games.
While this 2018 team is known for its victory margin, the senior class has a 13-3 record in games decided by seven points or less. That includes a 7-1 record in 2016, the most wins by seven points or less in a season in school history, and a 2-0 mark in 2018.
When it comes to national rankings, this senior class is also second to none. Being ranked in the top 25 in every poll has become a foregone conclusion. The Tigers have also been ranked in the top 12 of every poll for four years, a first for a Clemson senior class. That includes an active streak of 56 straight polls in the top 10, tied for the longest streak in the nation with Alabama. Georgia is third with an active streak of 25. Clemson has been ranked in the top five by AP for 19 straight polls, also the Tigers’ longest streak.
The streak that might bring Clemson more notoriety than any other is the streak of 22 consecutive College Football Playoff listings in the top four. Clemson’s appearance in the top four on Tuesday broke the streak of 21 straight by Alabama.
There is one more accomplishment this senior class wants to achieve…to post a 4-0 record against rival South Carolina. If it does, it would give Clemson five consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 1940.