This Five-Peat is REALLY special
|Monday, November 16, 2015 7:01 AM- -|
SYRACUSE, NY – The success of a college football program is measured in wins and losses, and by any measure Clemson has had an unprecedented run of success over the last five seasons.
The Tigers picked up their 10th win of the season Saturday afternoon, knocking off scrappy Syracuse 37-27 in the Carrier Dome to remain undefeated and squarely in the hunt for a berth in the second College Football Playoff.
The win clinched a fifth straight season with at least 10 wins for the Tigers. Clemson is the 15th program in the history of FBS football to have a streak of at least five years with at least 10 wins. Clemson was 10-4 in 2011, 11-2 in 2012 and 2013, 10-3 in 2014 and now 10-0 this year.
It’s the kind of Five-Peat a program can be proud of – it represents more than just one game in a season and instead shows the excellence and overall health of the program.
Following the 2010 season –when Clemson finished 6-7 – it would have been hard to envision this run of success. There were games during the season when Swinney – still new to the job – looked like he didn’t have the answers. It started with a 21-16 loss at North Carolina, and the media met with Swinney in a tent outside of the locker room, and Swinney was almost in tears as he talked about the offense and how it could be fixed. He promised the media – and the fans – that day that he would fix what was wrong with the program.
What followed were losses at Boston College (16-10) and at Florida St. (16-13) and the loss to South Florida in the bowl game in front of a small crowd at Bank of America Stadium. Swinney once again faced the media and vowed to make changes, but it was quarterback Tajh Boyd who I remember most. Boyd stood in the hallway outside the locker room after the loss to the Bulls with tears in his eyes. It wasn’t his game to lose –Kyle Parker started but left with an injury. Boyd came in and gave the Tigers a spark, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulls held on for the win.
Boyd vowed that he would be a major part of the Clemson rebuild. He vowed no more bowl games in front of empty seats, and he vowed that he would be the first player to buy into Swinney’s culture and that there would be a culture change.
Swinney fired the first salvo and hired Chad Morris, and the culture began to change.
It started in 2011, and there was an ACC Championship win over Virginia Tech and a berth in the Orange Bowl. Then came the debacle in the Orange Bowl, and once again Swinney faced the reporters and once again said he would do whatever it took to take this program to another level.
Swinney brought in Brent Venables and started putting the pieces in place, but the stage was set as the Tigers won 11 games in both 2012 and 2013 and ten last season. If the Tigers are going to get where they want to be this season, wins 11 and 12 and maybe more will follow.
For now, however, this is a five-peat. And this five-peat is really special. Bring on six.