The seeds for Clemson’s current run of gridiron excellence were sown back in 2009, Dabo Swinney’s first full season as head coach.

The Tigers won the ACC’s Atlantic Division to earn a trip to the conference championship game, where they fell in a 39-34 thriller to Georgia Tech. Clemson bounced back with a victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl to finish 9-5. Running back C.J. Spiller earned ACC Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.

Clemson did drop to 6-7 in Swinney’s second season but since 2011 the Tigers have posted a record of 56-12.