Over the past few seasons, this Clemson football program has kicked in the glass ceiling of the college football world, breaking one record after another in the process. Their 38-3 win over South Carolina put the Tigers in the record books a couple of more times.
Today’s win was the programs sixth straight over in-state rival UofSC, a streak not seen by either team in the modern era. Only once has one team reeled off six straight wins against the other, and that was Clemson’s seven game winning streak from 1934-40. The win was also the Tigers seventh straight win by 30 or more points, something only accomplished two other times in the AP Poll era, which began in 1936.
When Clemson heads to Charlotte next weekend to take on Virginia in the ACC Championship Game, the Tigers will be looking to set another record. With a win over the Cavaliers, Clemson would have won 5 straight ACC Titles outright, something that has never been done in the history of the league. With a win, the Tigers will also make a fifth straight trip to the CFP, which would tie a record for most appearances by one team.
At 9-3 overall, and 6-2 in the ACC, Virginia will be the fifth different opponent the Tigers have faced in the ACCCG over the last 5 seasons. They are the seventh different team to win the Coastal over the past 7 seasons, proof of how up and and down the division has been over the years.
The Cavaliers are just 2-3 away from Scott Stadium this season. They dropped a late September game to Notre Dame 35-20 in South Bend, which isn’t a terrible loss by any stretch. However, the next two were bad losses however you try and slice it. They inexplicably lost 17-9 on the road to Miami back on October 11. That game was played on a Friday night though, and we are all to familiar with losing to a bad team on the road on a Friday night. Two weeks later they went to Louisville and lost 28-21. Since that last loss they have won 4 straight, including a 39-30 win over Virginia Tech on Friday. That snapped a 15 game losing streak to the Hokies, and gave them the division crown in the process.
The Cavs are ranked 78th in total offense, averaging 390.3 yards per game, and 5.68 yards per play. They rank 31st in total defense, allowing 336.5 yards per game, and 5.27 yards per play. They rank 43rd in scoring defense, giving up 23.5 points per game.
Virginia goes as QB Bryce Perkins goes though. He has hit on 64% of his passes and thrown for 2949 yards, with 16 TDs and 9 INTs. No, those aren’t eye popping numbers but when you add what he has done on the ground, they start looking more impressive. He has rushed for 933 yards on the season and averages close to 60 rushing yards per game. He also has 11 TDs on the ground. He has 93 more rushing attempts than their top running back.
Early lines have the Tigers favored by about 4 TDs, and seeing as the Cavaliers are a one man show on offense, it isn’t hard to see why. They do play solid, sound defense though. However, it doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of talent that it takes to shut this Clemson offense down. Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall is one of the more respected coaches in the country, and it will be interesting to see what kind of plan he brings with him to Charlotte.