3 Things You Need to Know about Clemson
The 2015 college football season ended with Alabama and Clemson competing in one of the most memorable national championship games in college football history.
The 2016 season will conclude with Alabama and Clemson once again facing off to see who will be crowned the national champions of college football.
Alabama leads the all-time series 13-3 and has not fallen to Clemson since 1905.
Before Monday’s big game, find out three things you need to know about the Clemson Tigers.
Deep Alabama Connections
Most fans of college football are well aware of Dabo Swinney’s ties as a former Alabama wide receiver. However, a number of former Clemson football coaches had some association with the Crimson Tide.
Since 1940, five former Alabama football players and former wide receivers coach Tommy Bowden went on to lead the Clemson football program.
Beginning in 1940, former Crimson Tide offensive lineman Frank Howard took over as Clemson’s head coach and experienced immediate success. The Tigers finished 6-2-1, won the Southern Conference title and defeated Boston College in the Cotton Bowl. Howard remains as the school’s all-time winningest coach with 165 wins.
Former Alabama athletic director Hootie Ingram followed Howard for three seasons and in that time introduced the “tiger paw” logo that is still in use today. Charley Pell coached Clemson for two seasons before heading to Florida. Danny Ford took over for Pell during the 1978 Gator Bowl. Three years later, Ford led the program to their first national champion with a win over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl.
Former Alabama wide receivers coach Tommy Bowden took the reins at Clemson winning 72 games before Dabo Swinney succeeded Bowden half way through the 2008 season.
Consistency under Dabo Swinney
While Clemson has established a respectable football tradition under various coaches with Alabama ties, Dabo Swinney has established himself as one of the best coaches in college football. Swinney has a record of 88-28 since assuming the role as the head coach of the Tigers in 2008.
Since 2011, Clemson trails only Alabama with 69 wins over the last six seasons and is the only program besides Alabama to have six straight 10-win seasons.
In addition to the 69 wins, Dabo Swinney is the first Clemson coach to win three ACC titles since Danny Ford.
Big but Young Offensive Line
Coming into the game, one of the hot topics of conversation has involved Clemson signal caller Deshaun Watson’s performance against Alabama last season in Glendale, Arizona, and his performance over the course of this season.
However, a key in almost every football game is which teams wins the battle along the line of scrimmage. The offensive line and their ability to protect Watson will be a key relative to Clemson’s chances of toppling Alabama.
In their win over Ohio State, Clemson started a freshman and two sophomores along the offensive line with true freshman Sean Pollard playing at right tackle.
Concerning the profile of the offensive line, four of the five offensive lineman for the Tigers weigh at least 310 pounds with junior right guard Tyrone Crowder checking in at 340 pounds.