Although the Clemson Tigers’ rise to the elite of college football has created somewhat of a rivalry with the Alabama Crimson Tide, there’s still work to be done. With the two teams meeting in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship, it means they’ve now squared off in three of the last four title games.
Even going beyond that, the Clemson vs. Alabama matchup has occurred in each of the four recent College Football Playoffs. While the teams met in the championship in back-to-back years, they played in the semifinal in 2018 as well.
We’re going to take a look at the history between these two teams and also break down the budding rivalry, which currently features a huge advantage for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama vs. Clemson History & Matchups
The two college football programs have met a total of 18 times prior to the 2019 National Championship Game. Of those matchups, Alabama has been dominant, winning 14 of them and looking especially unbeatable following the very early first stretch.
While Clemson actually won the first three matchups in this series, with the first game played on November 29, 1900, things have turned since that point. After the Tigers shutout Alabama in three matchups from 1900 to 1905, outscoring their opponent 78-0, the Crimson Tide have lost just one game since, as NCAA.com revealed.
Alabama reeled off a stretch of 13-straight victories, a run which included a seven-game stretch in which they allowed just seven points. That came from the 1909 season through 1966 and Clemson was outscored 228-7. Fortunately, the Tigers broke that winless streak in the 2017 National Championship with 35-31 win.
Best Games in Alabama-Clemson History
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone interested in arguing that any of the first 10 games of the series, almost all shutouts, rank among the best matchups. Realistically, the budding rivalry between the Crimson Tide and Tigers began to ramp up in a big way just recently, with the 2016 title game marking a solid starting point.
The two teams did have back-to-back close games in the 1967 and 1968 seasons in which Alabama won by three and seven points, respectively. But two national championship meetings which were decided by a total of nine points will take the cake.
With Alabama continuing their dominant run against Clemson in 2016 with a 45-40 win, the Tigers got their revenge the next season with the aforementioned 35-31 victory. Dabo Swinney’s team was bounced by Nick Saban’s squad in the semifinal in 2018 by the score of 24-6, but Clemson gets a chance for revenge once again in 2019.
Based on the upward trajectory of these two college football programs, there’s a real reason to believe we could see them meet in postseason play often moving forward. Earning a spot in the College Football Playoff is a tough task, but both teams have shown the ability to overcome odds and find their way into the top four.