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Sep 07, 2019

Dabo vs. Jimbo

By: Tim Bourret

Note: The following appears in the Texas A&M gameday football program.

Two of the most successful coaches in the nation compete in Memorial Stadium this afternoon when Clemson and Texas A&M match up. While it is the first time since 2005 that Texas A&M has visited Death Valley and just the second meeting between the two schools in the last 14 seasons, the head coaches are very familiar with each other.

Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher was the Florida State head coach from 2010-17, and he was an assistant coach with the Seminoles for the three seasons prior to that. With Florida State and Clemson in the same ACC division, the two schools met every year. Thus, this is the 10th consecutive year Fisher and Dabo Swinney are meeting on the gridiron as head coaches, and the 13th year in a row they are on opposite sidelines, as Swinney came to Clemson as an assistant coach in 2003.

Facts about the personal series between the two give testimony to the expertise of both coaches:

  • Between 2010-17, the winner of the Clemson vs. Florida State game won the ACC Atlantic Division title every year. The same can be said for the ACC championship from 2011-17.
  • Swinney is second in the nation among winningest active coaches on a percentage basis (79.6), and Fisher is fourth (77.5).
  • Only five active coaches out of the 130 at the FBS level have a national championship on their resumé. Fisher and Swinney are two of the five. In fact, they have combined for three of the last six national titles, and one or the other has been in the College Football Playoff every year of its existence.
  • Both Fisher and Swinney have won a national championship in dominant fashion. Over the last 19 seasons, they own the top-two season scoring margins in the country. When Fisher’s 2013 Florida State team posted a 14-0 record, it outscored the opposition by 553 points, the highest scoring margin in the nation since 2000. Last year, the Tigers outscored the opposition by 467 points, the second-largest scoring margin during that period, on the way to the first 15-0 season since 1897.

The two coaches have a few other things in common. Both are from the state of Alabama and played college football in that state. Fisher played for Terry Bowden at Samford in Homewood, Ala., where he was the Division III national player-of-the-year. Swinney played at Alabama, where he was a walk-on, but he was a key member of the Crimson Tide’s 1992 national championship squad.

Swinney’s first position coach in college was Tommy Bowden, Terry’s brother and Swinney’s predecessor as head coach at Clemson. Bringing the relationship full circle, Terry Bowden is on Swinney’s staff at Clemson this year as a graduate intern.

Swinney owns a 5-4 lead in the head-to-head coaching matchup. Today marks the ninth time in a row Swinney has had a top-25 team entering the game, including a top-four team for the fifth year in a row. This is the seventh time Fisher has had a top-20 team entering the game.

We assure you, both coaches will have their respective teams ready.