CLEMSON, S.C. — The Clemson Tigers will enter the 2020 football season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 poll, which was released on Monday. It marks Clemson’s second straight season opening atop the poll and represents Clemson’s second No. 1 selection among major polls this preseason, matching its No. 1 ranking in the 2020 preseason Coaches Poll.
Clemson becomes the sixth program since the inception of the preseason poll in 1950 ever to open consecutive preseason polls at No. 1, joining Alabama (2016-18), USC (2004-05), Oklahoma (1985-87, 1974-75, 1956-57), Ohio State (1969-70) and Notre Dame (1953-54). Clemson’s 1,520 points and 38 first-place votes this year topped each category, as all teams — including ones who will not play this fall — were eligible for votes.
Prior to Clemson’s No. 1 ranking last preseason, the program’s previous preseason high had been second, the preseason rank held by both the 2016 and 2018 squads that would each go on to earn the national championship. By virtue of a second straight preseason No. 1 ranking, Clemson’s preseason perch this year marks the seventh Top 5 preseason ranking in the AP Poll in school history, including 1984 (No. 4), 1988 (4), 2016 (2), 2017 (5), 2018 (2) and 2019 (1).
Clemson has now been ranked in the AP Top 25 in the preseason in nine consecutive years, the longest such stretch in school history. The Tigers garnered a Top 25 preseason ranking from the AP in eight consecutive years under three different head coaches across the 1987-94 seasons.
Prior to last year, Clemson had met or exceeded its preseason ranking in the final AP poll in each of its previous eight seasons. Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s eight-year streak from 2011-18 was the longest by a coach in college football history. Swinney now joins Nick Saban (12) as the only coach in AP Poll history (since 1936) to lead a team to at least one No. 1 ranking in six consecutive years, and Clemson joins Alabama (12 from 2008-19) and Miami (seven from 1986-92) as the only programs to appear at No. 1 in at least six consecutive years.
Clemson is slated to open the season at Wake Forest on Sept. 12 prior to returning to Death Valley for its home opener against The Citadel on Sept. 19. Clemson’s 2020 schedule can be found here.