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Clemson’s Championship Form

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Playing the best has brought out the best in the Tigers, a truly rare notion.

The most remarkable aspect of Clemson's current run for the record books is how well the Tigers have performed on the big stage. Clemson, fresh of a 38-3 throttling of Miami in the ACC Championship Game, has now played six nationally-ranked foes this fall and has won those contests by an average of 19 points. Dating back to 2015, the Tigers have now defeated 15-of-16 ranked opponents, losing only to Alabama in the national championship game by five points. In the last three years, alone, Clemson has beaten 12 top 16 teams.

From high-profile regular season clashes to conference title bouts to the College Football Playoff, playing the best has brought out the best in the Tigers, a truly rare notion.  

This Clemson team has competed with the confidence and conviction of the defending national champions. Even in replacing program legend Deshaun Watson, and six of the top 150 selections in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tigers have stepped into tough situations with swagger. In addition to boasting a win over potential playoff participant Auburn, Clemson has topped ranked Louisville, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and South Carolina, all on the road, and the previously one-loss Hurricanes in Charlotte. The Tigers' resume, think white flint, is solid as a rock.

Playing with the unrelenting pressure and expectations that come with contention, Clemson has won 43 of its last 46 games, the three losses in that span coming by a combined total of just nine points.

Up next for the top-ranked Tigers is yet another playoff pairing with Alabama, a third-straight year where Clemson will collide with the Crimson Tide on college football's big stage. This clash of the titans will have more than just a spot in the final on the line; with a victory, the Tigers would stand as the top program in the game. These are the types of challenges that Clemson has treated more like showcases than showdowns in recent years.   

In an era of volatility, Dabo Swinney's Tigers can lay claim to a third-straight conference title, a third-straight playoff appearance and are in the running for back-to-back national championships. Clemson has clearly been ready for such moments. Furthermore, the Tigers have earned both their rings and their reputation under these bright lights.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports