clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Under The Radar, Clemson Is Succeeding

A lot of teams get more attention than Clemson, but the Tigers are doing surprisingly well.

Clemson's defense has presented some real obstacles for ACC rivals.
Clemson's defense has presented some real obstacles for ACC rivals.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a stat that will surprise readers, or most of them.

Tick off in your mind the ACC programs that had the best league records over the past four seasons. Two teams are obvious - Duke, which last had so much as a breakeven league record in 2007 (8-8), and North Carolina, which has done well since flaming out at 5-11 in 2010.

Then comes Virginia, which went 7-9 in 2011 under Tony Bennett but has since posted three straight winning marks, finished first in 2014, and is virtually assured of a fourth winning record this season. As are Duke and UNC.


Four programs posted a pair of winning ACC records since '11: 2012 league champion Florida State, 2013 league champion Miami, three-time NCAA participant N.C. State, and Clemson. FSU hasn't suffered a losing conference record since 2008, placing it behind only Duke in that respect.

But look into the future, and extrapolate this year's finishes based on current records - an admittedly iffy, but interesting exercise -- and the unsung member of the preceding foursome will stand alone as fourth-best in conference success over the past half-decade. That would be Clemson.

Who knew?

Virtually off the radar of media and public, not to mention the NCAA tournament selection committee, Clemson posted winning ACC seasons in 2011, Brad Brownell's first year on the job, and in 2014, when it was 10-8. The Tigers were 8-8 in 2012. They went to the NCAAs in 2011, and that's it.

Through 10 league contests this season, Clemson is 6-4. Half of its remaining eight games are at home - against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and N.C. State. The road games are at Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke and Notre Dame. Only Duke and Notre Dame are positioned higher in the ACC standings.

"We’ve done better than most people realize in terms of league play," says Brownell, who deserves consideration for 2015 ACC coach of the year. "We’ve hung in there pretty good."

School Overall Winning Breakeven 2015
Duke 4-0 4-2011,12,13,14 0 6-3
North Carolina 4-0 4-2011,12,13,14 0 7-3
Virginia 3-1 3-2012,13,14 0 8-1
Florida State 2-0-2 2-2011,12 2-2013,14 4-6
Clemson 2-1-1 2-2011,14 1-2012,13 6-4
NC State* 2-1-1 2-2012,13 1-2014 5-6
Miami* 2-2 2-2013,14 0 4-5
Boston College* 1-3 1-2011 0 1-8
Virginia Tech* 1-3 1-2011 0 1-8
Georgia Tech* 0-4 0 0 1-9
Wake Forest 0-4 0 0 3-7
* Made at least one coaching change since 2011.