By Tim Bourret || Clemson Athletic Communications
I am sure the release about the Clemson vs. Auburn two-game series in 2016 and 2017 was met with great joy among Clemson fans. It’s another example of Clemson’s scheduling philosophy to play a strong all-around schedule.
With this announcement, Clemson will have played two SEC opponents (or Notre Dame and an SEC opponent) every year between 2010-17. And in 2009 (Dabo Swinney’s first year), the Tigers played a top-10 TCU program in addition to an SEC team.
“If we are going to compete for the College Football Playoff, playing a challenging schedule is a must and our formula is to play two high profile non-conference games each year,” Swinney told me.
Coach continued: “We have had some great games with Auburn over the last 10 years, including the recent three-game series when all the games were thrillers that had an impacton the national college football scene. It’s a great series for our fans because these are two programs with great traditions and passionate fan bases. I look forward to competing against Auburn in the coming years.”
There is a long history between the two programs that dates to the early years of Clemson football:
The two schools have met four times since 2007 with each winning twice. And, all the games have been thrillers. Auburn won in overtime in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl. When the Auburn Tigers won the 2010 National Championship, the only team to take them to overtime was Clemson, a game Auburn won 27-24 at Auburn.
Clemson has won the last two games. In 2011, Clemson’s 38-24 victory was a landmark victory because it ended Auburn’s 17-game winning streak. Clemson made up a 14-point deficit in a coming out party for Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. The Tigers won the opener for the 2012 season in the Georgia Dome 26-19, a victory that jumpstarted Clemson to its first 11-win season since 1981.
It is a shame the two schools did not play in 2013 as both had dynamic offenses behind coaching comrades Chad Morris and Gus Malzahn, who have both taken the same path as long time high school coaches to national prominence in the college game.
The players will be different, but one thing that won’t change is the competitive fire of both teams and both fan bases. It will be what college football is all about.
January 18, 2019