Clemson football: Most dominant defense in college football

Clemson football
Clemson football /

Clemson football has gone to an entirely different level since the arrival of defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Pro Football Focus published a tweet this week that showed just how dominant the Clemson defense has been since the 2017 college football season.

In the past two college football seasons, Clemson football has played a total of 30 games, the maximum that could have been played. In those 30 games, the Clemson defense has given up just 396 points.

396. That point total is the lowest in the country among major college football. Washington, Alabama, and Georgia rounded out the Top 4. Of course, the SEC fans were quick to launch their “Clemson doesn’t play anyone” narrative in order to dismiss just how good the Tigers have been over the last two seasons.

However, this is one they should have sat out.

Looking back over the last three years, Clemson has played more Top 25 offenses than anyone else in the Top 4. Taking this one step further, let’s take a look at how dominant Clemson’s defense has been since the start of the 2017 college football season, in which they have played 44 games.

Through the last three years, Clemson football has faced nine Top 25 offenses during that 44 game stretch. Alabama has played two fewer games over the last three seasons and has played seven total Top 25 offenses and finally, Georgia has played 43 games since 2017 and faced eight Top 25 offenses.

Another area that makes what Clemson football has done in the process is how they have been able to rebuild on the defensive side of the ball each year. Between those three years, the Tigers lost 10 players to the NFL draft.

Alabama is clearly the king of rebuilding as they lost 19 players to the NFL draft during this time frame while UGA seemingly had it easier as they lost just four defensive players to the NFL during this time.

Yes, losing seniors is tough too, but that is part of the plan. You never know when a player is going to end their eligibility and leave a year or two early so having to adjust for those on the fly makes staying elite even harder. Maybe that is why UGA has only made one appearance in the College Football Playoffs.

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Nonetheless, don’t expect Clemson to go anywhere anytime soon. As head coach Dabo Swinney has said for a decade, the best is yet to come.