It marked the fourth straight top-25 finish and third straight top-15 finish for Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s program in both polls.
Clemson joined Alabama, Florida State and Oregon as the only schools to finish in the top 25 for the fourth straight year. The Tigers are also joined by Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon as the only schools with a top-15 finish each of the last three seasons.
Ohio State, ranked No. 5 in the nation in the final regular-season AP poll, jumped to No. 1 in the final poll by virtue of its postseason wins over Alabama and Oregon. The Ducks finished No. 2, followed by TCU and Alabama. Florida State and Michigan State tied for No. 5, while Baylor was No. 7. Georgia Tech, Georgia and UCLA rounded out the AP top 10.
The Tigers jumped three spots from the final regular-season polls, moving ahead of Mississippi, Kansas State and Arizona, who had been ranked No. 9, No. 11 and No. 12, respectively, in the final regular-season ranking.
Clemson’s No. 15 final ranking was its highest of the season. It marked the first time since 2003 and just the eighth time in school history that its final ranking was its best for the course of the season. The Tigers were ranked No. 16 in the AP preseason poll.
The 2014 season marked the fourth straight year and fifth time in the six full seasons Swinney has been Clemson’s head coach that the Tigers had a higher final AP ranking than their preseason ranking.
The Tigers concluded the season with three consecutive victories for the first time since 2005, including triumphs over state-rival South Carolina and Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl to finish with a 10-3 record. It was Clemson’s fourth straight 10-win season, something only Alabama, Northern Illinois and Oregon have also accomplished. The program’s 42 wins over the last four years are a school record for a four-year period as well.
Clemson’s only losses in 2014 were to teams that finished in the final top 10 of the AP and USA Today polls (Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech). It marked the third straight year Clemson’s only losses were to teams that finished in the final top 10 of both polls.
Swinney is just the second Clemson coach to lead the program to four straight top-25 seasons. Danny Ford also had four straight top-25 finishes from 1986-89.
Clemson is also the only school in the country with a higher final top-25 USA Today ranking than its preseason ranking each of the last four years.